Brother Bear (2003, Commentary) – 9/10 review

Rick Moranis: Rutt
Dave Thomas: Tuke

Brother Bear (2003)

DVD: Rutt and Tuke provide commentary for the Brother Bear movie discussing their roles and techniques and giving insight into the production.

9/10

Besting the movie (6/10) by some considerable distance, this is one of the best home video commentaries available. It’s also highly unusual as it’s performed in character by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas as the comic relief moose Rutt and Tuke. It’s always fun, surprisingly educational regarding filmmaking technique and highlights the key story beats and the nature of their presentation. A bit of a treat.

This movie contains violence, unpleasant scenes and the bears aren’t wearing any clothes.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Fable II (2008, Game, 360) – 9/10 review despite bugs

Creative Director: Peter Molyneux
Executive Producer: Louise Copley
Ron Glass: Garth
Julia Sawalha: Hammer
Oliver Cotton: Lucien
Stephen Fry: Reaver
Gemma Boyle: Rose
Zoë Wanamaker: Theresa
Nolan North: Male Hero
Salli Safiotti: Female Hero
Manager Senior Team: Dene Carter
Manager Senior Team: Simon Carter
Manager Senior Team: Richard Ham
Manager Senior Team: Simon Jacques
Manager Senior Team: Ian Lovett
Manager Senior Team: John McCormack
Manager Senior Team: J.C. Taylor

Fable II (2008)

Albion is once more under the thumb of tyrannical overlords but you’ve got previous with this one: Lord Lucien shot your sister and chucked you out of a rather high window. Your survival can only lead to one thing but how you get there is up to you.

9/10

The most significant thing about Fable II is that it is so buggy (most of them game-killing, kinda miserable for such a long game) that it comes as a shock that it wasn’t released by Atari. Though graphically unimpressive with clunky animation in attractive environments rendered blurrily (a bit like Halo 3) and treacly (a poor frame-rate is inadequately masked with motion blur), sonically unimpressive with annoying action music (because it’s only about ten seconds long) and unnaturally-slow dialogue (typical of video games, oddly, though Julia Sawalha and Stephen Fry are outstanding) and having a fairly awkward feeling opening, Fable II soon settles down into a remarkably involving role-playing adventure which will happily hoover up hours and hours of your time. Critically, you’ll be happy to let it and it features some enchantingly special moments. For me, they included looking after my family (I married a girl named Lisa and had a son, Bruce), gullibly retrieving goods for T.O.B.Y., rescuing Charlie, accidentally getting my wife killed (I took her with me on what I thought would be a safe mission; reload!) and losing weight I had put on. Oh, and, er, drinking a sex change potion to see what animation would play which I then couldn’t undo because the game auto-saved. Aargh! But brilliant. Which sums up the game.

This game contains mild swear words, bad language, adult dialogue, sexual references including immorality and homosexuality and offensive gestures and projectile, fantasy, blade and melee violence, some unexpectedly strong violence and inferred sex scenes.

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

Laura Z. Hobson’s Gentleman’s Agreement (1947, Movie) – 9/10 review

Producer: Darryl F. Zanuck
Gregory Peck: Phil Schuyler Green
Dorothy McGuire: Kathy Lucy
John Garfield: Dave Goldman
Writer (Original Novel): Laura Z. Hobson
Writer (Screenplay): Moss Hart
Director: Elia Kazan

Gentleman’s Agreement, Laura Z. Hobson’s (1947)

Schuyler Green is commissioned to write a series on anti-Semitism but is struggling to find an angle. He hits upon the idea of presenting himself as Jewish and seeing what happens.

9/10

Startlingly interesting and depressingly relevant movie about prejudice that doesn’t allow the audience (represented on-screen by Dorothy McGuire) to get away with unspoken or unmotivating disdain for whatever prejudice they witness. The film presents just about every view you could hope to air on the subject from ignore-it-and-hope-it-goes-away through to punch-’em-on-the-nose. The movie is consistently thought-provoking and is presented well by the cast. Though the Peck / McGuire romance can be criticised as Hollywood fairy-tale stuff, it is precisely this aspect that frames the tensions and viewpoints and makes them even more recognisable in ourselves. That it ends SPOILER as all Hollywood romances should means that the film is still allowed to be entertaining while still effectively delivering it’s food for thought; something filmmakers seem to have forgotten in the 21st-century’s lust for making their movies ‘darker.’

This movie contains anti-Semitic dialogue and mild melee violence and sensuality.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

24 7.15 Day 7: 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM (2009, TV) – 9/10 review

Kiefer Sutherland: Jack Bauer
Cherry Jones: President Allison Taylor
Annie Wersching: FBI Agent Renee Walker
Colm Feore: Henry Taylor
Bob Gunton: Ethan Kanin
Jeffrey Nordling: FBI Special Agent in Charge Larry Moss
Carlos Bernard: Tony Almeida
Jon Voight: Jonas Hodges
Co-Executive Producer: Alex Gansa
Executive Producer: David Fury
Executive Producer: Jon Cassar
Writer (Series’ Creator): Joel Surnow
Writer (Series’ Creator): Robert Cochran
Writer (Screenplay): Alex Gansa
Writer (Story): David Fury
Director: Jon Cassar

24 7.15 Day 7: 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM (2009)

A stunned Kanin learns that Senator Mayer has been shot and killed, presumably by the hand of Jack Bauer. Larry Moss is quickly told by the forensic people that there were three people at Mayer’s house giving him a glimmer of hope that Bauer isn’t a psychopathic murderlising nightmare but he still has to put out a top-priority alert for Bauer’s arrest. Bauer has hooked up with Tony and is making his way to the port where the bio-WMD is suspected to be.

9/10

Taking it’s time over SPOILER Ethan Kanin’s resignation allows for it to have greater emotional impact. You really feel a sense of the ending of an era for both him and the President; a necessary but unwanted sacrifice. It dovetails brilliantly into the sacrifices that Jack is continually making. He also put the country ahead of his own personal reputation. For Kanin, the maximum loss possible is his career. For Bauer, the maximum loss possible is his life. For both, the potential sacrifice is unquestionably and willingly given for their country. Additionally, this episode of 24 contains some of its most spectacular action yet involving ship containers before leaving us with an impressively, unsettlingly quiet segue into next week. Bauer simply sits down by the side of the road allowing the thought to catch up with him that today may be his last day. And that doesn’t include an excellent natural shift in character for Bauer (he promises a security guard he’ll look after him and means it), wonderful malevolence from a putting-some-effort-in Jon Voight (as Jonas Hodges) and sneaky political underhandness from Olivia Taylor. Phew! Great episode in what has been an unexpectedly great series. And, again, applaudably, it’s not even terribly violent.

This 24 episode contains mild swear words and gun violence.

Links

Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988, TV) – 9/10 review

Rowan Atkinson: Blackadders
Tony Robinson: Baldricks
Writer: Richard Curtis
Writer: Ben Elton
Director: Richard Boden
Producer: John Lloyd

Blackadder special.1 Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988)

England’s most generous person, Ebenezer Blackadder is visited by the Spirit of Christmas and gets an insight into how his scheming, selfish ancestors lived.

9/10

Wonderfully inventive and extremely funny version of the Dicken’s classic A Christmas Carol which takes the timeless story and turns it on its head. This is probably the finest Christmas television special of any drama or comedy ever not just because it’s clever and funny but also because it feels appropriate for the season. The wordsmithery is delightful once more and Atkinson as the various Blackadders is sublime. His delivery as each is perfect and they all feel like completely distinct characters.

This Blackadder episode contains bad language, mild swear words and comic violence and baldrick in a jockstrap.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune now 9/10

Just played through Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune again, now with Trophy support, and decided to bump it up from the original 8/10 rating to 9/10.

Though I had wanted to play through the game again on Hard difficulty, I probably would have never got around to it. So, I was playing again thanks to Trophies.

Running through the game on Hard forces one to pay attention to how things work and so I found the game easier than I did on Normal. (The difficulty trophies stack so finishing Hard awarded Normal and Easy complete trophies as well.) It was especially helpful to remember that hero Nathan Drake can run-and-gun by pressing R1. This really helped with the monsters-in-the-dark levels as did remembering that after you’ve turned the power on in the submarine dock you just need to head out of the door otherwise the monsters endlessly spawn.

I also really appreciated the lightness of touch and consistently fun dialogue and tone (there are no F-words in Uncharted, I’m glad to say) and it is consistently a pleasure to be in hero Nathan Drake’s company. The voice performances are all terrific, the music is outstanding, the graphics and production design are gorgeous and the game plays and controls, for the most part, brilliantly.

The niggle about the baddies being somewhat bullet resistant still applies but it should be noted that they always react to bullets, even when you only get close, and that they do have to reload their weapons just like you do.

While Call of Duty 4 was the best PlayStation 3 game of the 2007 holiday season, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is the best exclusive title of that period and a second Uncharted adventure is something to look forward to.

Liar Liar (1997, Movie)

Producer: Brian Grazer
Director: Tom Shadyac
Jim Carrey: Fletcher Reede
Maura Tierney: Audrey Reede
Jennifer Tilly: Smanatha Cole
Swoosie Kurtz: Dana Appleton
Amanda Donohoe: Miranda
Jason Bernard: Judge Marshall Stevens
Mitchell Ryan: Mr. Allan
Anne Haney: Greta
Justin Cooper: Max Reede
Cary Elwes: Jerry
Writer: Paul Guay
Writer: Stephen Mazur
In Memory Of: Jason Bernard

Liar Liar (1997)

Smooth talking Fletcher Reede is a liar, oops, a lawyer who finally goes one step too far when he misses his son’s birthday in order to engage in some sexual career motivation. Max, his son, blowing out the candles on his birthday cake wishes that his dad would tell the truth for just one day…

9/10

Hilarious high-concept comedy (lawyer cannot tell a lie for 24 hours) that features a virtuoso performance from cinema’s current King Clown, Jim Carrey.

This movie contains mild swear words, strong adult dialogue and references and self-inflicted violence and inferred sex scene.

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

Continue reading “Liar Liar (1997, Movie)”

Gran Turismo 4 (2005, PS2, PS3) – 9/10

Gran Turismo 4 (2005)

Drive about 700 cars (from AC Cars, Acura, Alfa Romeo, Alpine, Amuse Power House, ASL, Aston Martin, Audi, Autobianchi, Bentley, Blitz, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Callaway, Caterham, Chaparral Chevrolet, Chrysler, Citroën, Cizeta Automobili, Daihatsu, DMC Dodge, Dome, Eagle, Fiat, Ford, Ford Australia, FPV, Gillet Automobiles, Ginetta, HKS, Holden, Hommell, Honda, HPA Motorsports, Hyundai, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jaguar, Jay Leno, Jensen Healey suisse, Lancia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lister, Lotus, Marcos, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mercury, MG Mine’s, Mini, Mitsubishi Motors, Mugen Nike, Nismo, Nissan, Opel, Opera Performance, Pagani Automobili Modena, Panoz, Pescarolo Sport, Peugeot, Plymouth, Polyphony Digital, Pontiac, Proto Motors, RE Amemiya, Renault, RUF, Saleen, Seat, Shelby, Spoon Sports, Spyker, Subaru, Suzuki, Tommy kaira, Tom’s, Toyota, TRD Racing Development, Trial Tuning Spirit, Triumph, TVR, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Volvo) personally or manage a B-spec driver across over 40 tracks (Circuit de la Sarthe I, Fuji Speedway, Infineon Raceway, Laguna Seca Raceway, Nurburgring Nordschleife, Suzuka Circuit, Twin Ring Motegi, Tsukuba Circuit, Cathedral Rocks Trail, Chamonix, Grand Canyon, Ice Arena, Swiss Alps, Tahiti Maze, Apricot Hill Raceway, Autumn Ring, Deep Forest Raceway, El Capitan, Grand Valley East Section, Grand Valley Speedway, High-speed Ring, Midfield Raceway, Trial Mountain Circuit, Citta di Aria, Clubman Stage Route 5, Costa di Amalfi, Côte d’Azur, George V Paris, Hong Kong, New York, Opera Paris, Seattle Circuit, Seoul Central, Tokyo Route 246, Special Stage Route 5, Test Course, Las Vegas Drag Strip, Driving Park, Test Course, Gymkhana, Motorland, Beginner Course; many with multiple configurations and reverse direction), earning money for race wins to spend on new cars and upgrades.

9/10

Graphically astonishing ultimate driving simulator. Sadly, the computer AI continues to be breathtakingly awful making this a long way short of the ultimate racing simulator. The cars looks entirely wonderful and the tracks look just as good with the new El Capitan and Citta di Aria circuit particularly breathtaking. The superbly communicative presentation of each car’s handling is, amazingly, notably better than on Gran Turismo 3 and the boys at Polyphony Digital also offer us two major new features in the shape of Photo Mode (which became an almost standard mode on, oddly, Xbox 360 driving games) and B-spec where you issue orders to an AI driver. So, despite deficient opponent AI, let me reiterate, simply driving in this game is better than racing in most other games. Yes, “the drive of your life” if not the race.

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

Metal Gear Solid 2®: Sons of Liberty™ (2001, PS2, PS3) – 9/10

Metal Gear Solid 2®: Sons of Liberty™ (2001)

Solid Snake, on a UN anti-Metal Gear mission, infiltrates a tanker suspected to carrying a new Metal Gear developed by the Marines, an amphibious Metal Gear codenamed Ray. While Snake is just there to photograph it for publication on the internet, a heavily-armed troop of Russian soldiers storm the tanker and Snake finds himself up to his ears in sneaking, action and Metal Gear once more.

9/10

Even with all the, shall we say, difficult-to-master controls and worst-moment-possible camera changes, this is still, undoubtedly, a very great game. A marvellously convoluted plot is delivered via maniacal monologues and effortlessly cool cut-scenes with a cast of characters you, critically, invest in immediately. Lots of insane details (for example, your own name on the dog tags in the end cut-scene) and interesting and challenging battles that you master bit by bit, Metal Gear Solid 2 is frustrating like no other game but also delivers story, presentation and gaming rewards like no other.

This videogame contains mild swear words and extremely gory violence, gory and unpleasant scenes.

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

Continue reading “Metal Gear Solid 2®: Sons of Liberty™ (2001, PS2, PS3) – 9/10”

Metropolis Street Racer (2000, Dreamcast) – 9/10

Metropolis Street Racer (2000)

1 / 2 player offline. 8 player offline multiplayer.

“It’s not about how fast you drive, it’s about how you drive fast.”

Earn kudos by driving skilfully and unlock dozens of cars to race on over 250 circuits created from the actual streets of London, Tokyo and San Francisco.

9/10

As ambitious a video game project as ever undertaken, the fact that this game works as a game and not just as a technical accomplishment is remarkable. This is one of the Dreamcast’s most impressive titles with convincing pinpoint handling, astonishing sound, astounding graphics, jaw-dropping breadth and incredible longevity. The absence of a replay function, racing gaming’s worst ever rear view camera and the legendary super-rock hardness of it all do count against Metropolis Street Racer but only slightly.

Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator 3: A-spec (2001, PS2)

Gran Turismo 3 Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator 3: A-spec (2001)

1 or 2 players offline.

Starting with a small number of credits, purchase cars and upgrades till you’ve won every race and championship available.

9/10

While Gran Turismo 2: A-Spec may have been a more accurate, if mean, title, this game offers reference-quality graphics (not matched by any other PlayStation 2 game for about five years), an astonishing number of challenges and mildly improved (though still dull) A.I. but it takes significantly longer to get its addictive hooks into you. For me, the main reason for this is that there is no longer a racing modification available for ordinary cars and so you have little motivation to keep upgrading your car because it will just look the same even if it goes like stink.

Classified OK 3+ by ELSPA. Content OK 3+.

Death Note (2006, Anime) – 9/10

Writer (Original Comic Book): Ohba Tsugumi
Writer (Original Illustrator): Obata Takeshi
Director: Araki Tetsurou

Death Note (2006)

Death Note: How to Use It.

1. The human whose name is written in this note, shall die.

2. This note will not take effect unless the writer has the person’s face in their mind when writing his/her name. Therefore, people sharing the same name will not be affected.

3. If the cause of death is written within 40 seconds of writing the person’s name, it will happen. If the cause of death is not specified, the person will simply die of a heart attack.

4. After writing the cause of death, details of the death should be written in the next 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

9/10

An outstanding, thought-provoking, very thrilling, and relentlessly intelligent series, Death Note is an instant classic anime (based on a manga by Tsugumi Oba and Takeshi Obata). While the show was never as effective after episode twenty-five as it had been (it no longer generates the gripping edge-of-the-seat tension from the battle of wits), it remained interesting, entertaining and well-produced until the end. In any case, the central question regarding clearing out the murderers and criminals from the world is an intriguing one. The show does take a definite side on this issue and explains why in the final episode but compelling arguments could be made for both sides. This is a remarkably impressive and entertaining way to tickle the mind.

This series contains sexual swear words in opening song from episode 20 onwards, sexual swear words and a graphic and very gory scene of violence, an unpleasant and very gory scene, violence, unpleasant scenes and mild nudity.

Air Force One (1997, Movie, DVD, Blu-ray) – 9/10

Harrison Ford: President James Marshall
Gary Oldman: Ivan Korshunov
Wendy Crewson: Grace Marshall
Paul Guilfoyle: Chief of Staff Lloyd Shepherd
William H. Macy: Major Caldwell
Liesel Matthews: Alice Marshall
Dean Stockwell: Defense Secretary Walter Dean
Xander Berkeley: Agent Gibbs
Glenn Close: Vice President Kathryn Bennett
Writer: Andrew W. Marlowe
Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Air Force One (1997)

When the US President’s airplane, Air Force One, is taken over by Russian freedom fighters and his wife and daughter taken hostage, President James Marshall is forced to make some tough decisions regarding America’s “no negotiation with terrorists” stance.

9/10

Outrageously exciting if mercilessly jingoistic airborne thriller which features Harrison Ford in the role everyone wants him to play, the President of the United States of America. Despite a crushingly disappointing visual effect in the movie’s climax, this is an entirely satisfying action classic from which you emerge with every action itch scratched: explosions, self-sacrifice, heroism, destruction, spectacle, excitement and, perhaps best of all, an unexpectedly wonderful one-liner hurled at Gary Oldman by Harrison Ford.

This movie contains sexual swear words and graphic violence.

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

Available on DVD. Available on Blu-ray.

Continue reading “Air Force One (1997, Movie, DVD, Blu-ray) – 9/10”

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (2007, Game, PS3) – 9/10

Co-Producer: Evan Wells
Co-Producer: Christophe Balestra
Director: Amy Hennig
Composer: Greg Edmonson
Nolan North: Nathan Drake
Emily Rose: Elena Fisher
Richard McGonagle: Victor Sullivan
Simon Templeman: Gabriel Roman

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (2007)

Nathan Drake is on the trail of ancient gold thanks to a ring he has inherited from Sir Francis Drake. As he follows the trail, gun-toting pirates are only the start of the foes that do not want him to reach the treasure first… or at all.

9/10

A lot of contemporary reviews would have you believe that Uncharted is currently the PlayStation 3’s best game. It’s not (Call of Duty 4 is), but this is a high quality action adventure with breathtaking presentation and superb control. However, this is a case of too many slightly-bullet-proof pirates slightly spoiling the broth, or, more specifically, the flow of the game’s action segments. That said, the difficulty is perfectly judged, the game is good throughout, is garnished with several wonderful little touches (watch Nathan’s sweater crease as he walks) and, at times, it does achieve greatness.

This game contains mild swear words, adult dialogue and extended extreme and graphic violence, unpleasant scenes, scary scenes.

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

Links

Ace Combat: Distant Thunder aka Shattered Skies (2001, PS2, PS3) – 9/10

Ace Combat: Distant Thunder (2001)

Er, 2005: the ISAF are war with the Erusians but the Erusians have a massively overpowered anti-asteroid gun called Stonehenge which they are using to shoot down enemy aircraft and maintain arial superiority. With the odds stacked against them, the ISAF need to regroup and take domination of the skies. The ISAF need a hero. Using every aircraft and weapon at your disposal, you take on the challenge. Your callsign: Moebius One.

9/10

Accessible and truly thrilling aerial combat game with lovely graphics (especially on PS3), atmospheric sound, superlative music and stylish presentation. The wonderful action is punctuated with melancholy thoughts from a young boy with the Resistance who lives in the town around the opposing forces airbase. As a bonus, the final mission, with it’s Star Wars battle trench overtones, is utterly brilliant and, like the whole game, makes you feel like an absolute mega-hero.

This videogame contains mild swear words and aerial combat violence.

Classified OK 11+ by ELSPA. Content OK 11+.

Available on PS2 (PS3 compatible, no problems).

Devil May Cry (2001, PS2) – 9/10

Devil May Cry (2001)

Devil Hunter Dante, half-human half-demon son of the legendary Sparda who rebelled against his underworld brethren to prevent them from taking over the earth, is called into action when underworld emporer Mundus decides to have another crack at human domination.

9/10

Classic, cool, fun (on Easy Auto mode at least) and important action videogame that became the template of subsequent third-person hack ‘n’ slash. What’s surprising is that, aside from the combat, Devil May Cry never quite makes the most of it’s innovations and design and it would take God of War and God of War II (which are carbon copies of this) to really show what should have been consistently accomplished here. Despite really spectacular graphics, sound, production design and combat Devil May Cry nearly lets greatness slip through it’s fingers but an absolutely storming climax (that spans the last four missions) dragged the rating from seven all the way up to nine.

This videogame contains extended extreme fantasy violence, gory and unpleasant scenes, extremely unpleasant scenes.

Available on PS2 (PS3 compatible).

Cloverfield (2008, Movie) – 9/10 review

Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Drew Goddard
Producer: J.J. Abrams
Producer: Bryan Burk
Lizzy Caplan: Marlena
Jessica Lucas: Lily
T.J. Miller: Hud
Michael Stahl-David: Rob Hawkins
Mike Vogel: Jason Hawkins
Odette Yustman: Beth McIntyre

Cloverfield (2008)

With Rob leaving America for Japan and a Vice-President-ship, his brother and friends throw him a leaving party. During the party some kind of massive seismic shock sees the revellers go up to the roof for a better view but a gigantic explosion soon turns their curiosity and excitement into unabridged terror and a race for their lives.

9/10

Difficult-to-rate monster movie that is a tour-de-force on a number of levels including editing, sound, photography and direction and, while the acting and writing is also of a good standard, there is a niggling dissatisfaction with the sheer emptiness of the story. Director Matt Reeves paces and marshals things beautifully and delivers a highly entertaining and, at the moment, unique big special effects monster movie. Special mention for Michael Giaachino’s end credits overture which is the best piece of big-screen music he has done to date. While Cloverfield was definitely one to catch at the cinema, a little surprisingly, this was just as good second time around at home and cements it’s place as the best monster movie since Jurassic Park fourteen years ago.

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

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

Doctor Slimm pimps his ride in Xbox 360’s Forza Motorsport 2

Doctor Slimm attempts to diagnose small tweaks that would have improved the playing experience, sometimes imperceptibly. They are presented in no particular order. This is not a wish list for a sequel or a bug list but tweaks to what is already there.

Forza Motorsport 2 (2007)

Race online (requires Xbox Live Gold) or offline in any of over 300 cars on over 45 track variations in 12 locations. Customise your car with parts and paint jobs and race them and / or sell them in the Auction House (requires Xbox Live Gold).

9/10

With a driving experience that is, astonishingly, leagues ahead of the first Forza Motorsport (thanks to silky smooth graphics though they still haven’t delivered traction control, anti-lock brakes or, occasionally, low-speed rear-wheel drive that works) coupled with a huge amount of cars, superb online features and, Forza’s ace-in-the-hole, all-round car customisation mean that Forza Motorsport 2 really has set a decent target for Gran Turismo 5 next year. However, despite the wonderful tinkering, RPG and customisation aspects, the sum of its parts is somehow less than before with the team’s nagging lack of game ambition (car content is not gameplay) and the lack of actual racing (thanks to now-pansy and ill-disguised still-cheating AI) proving to be potentially significant weaknesses. Deduct a point if and for when you race with ABS, TCS, STM and Easy or Medium AI. Really. Deduct another point if you never paint your car or use the Auction House.

Available on Xbox 360. Available on Limited Edition Xbox 360.

A bonnet view that shows you the bonnet. Forza has the standard selection of driving views: near behind, far behind, bumper and bonnet. Except that with most of the cars in the game (a wonderful three-hundred or so), you cannot see the bonnet on the bonnet view.

Better spread of AI. Forza’s spread of seven AI opponents is not quite right. Presuming that you are in a fast enough car to win, there will, generally, only ever be one opponent in your race. By making at least the top two AI the same level and in equivalent cars, they can maintain some semblance of a race with each other. Grouping the AI into at least groups of two will see more lively looking racing. Seeing the AI ducking and diving contributes greatly to the thrilling feel of a racing game.

Stop AI following each other so closely without doing anything. If a real race driver was just a couple of feet behind the driver in front, he would consistently try overtaking everywhere he could. In Forza, the AI generally just follow each other without bunching up at corners and spreading out on straights. This is helps makes the race look so fake on replays. The cars are too close without moving about swapping lines and seriously attempting to overtake.

Be able to auction your current car. Forza has implemented a more expansive set of options when selecting one of your cars such as being able to get in it, sell it, view it’s history, and many more. With the wonderful Auction House (the only new feature in Forza 2 but a good ‘un), you can raise money by buying yourself a new car (cheap, one of the ones with 50% off), painting it and putting it to auction. The procedure goes thus:

  1. From the top Career menu go to Buy Cars and buy a car. Forza churns away for a while and returns you to the top Career menu.
  2. Paint the car. When finished you return to the top Career menu.
  3. Go to My Cars and select any other car. Forza churns away for a while and returns you to the top Career menu.
  4. Go to My Cars and find and select your newly acquired and painted car. Select Auction Car from the menu.

It would be handy if we could skip step 3 and directly auction the current car. Forza could automatically select another car. Either the first car on the list or the car with the nearest Performance Index or, probably the most favoured option, the last car you raced in.

At least one chap in your pit box. Forza has animated 3D people all over the place. Adding just one chap holding a lollipop in your pit box seems like a small thing to expect. On some tracks (Sunset Peninsula Speedway and Nurburgring, for example), there are mechanics in the pit lane but they just stand there checking their watch (!) and none of them are in your pit box or react to your presence.

Increase damage to AI. Not visual damage, actual damage. It takes almost nothing to damage your car. Sometimes, just the slightest knock will make something turn yellow on the damage indicator with a resulting loss of speed and, frequently, control. This generally requires a restart of the race. However, the same cannot be said of the AI. On the New York Circuit Reverse, the AI have terrible trouble with the last double right-hander and frequently drive into the inside wall. After eight laps of several AI doing this on several of the laps, I noted that only one of the AI had smoke coming out of his car and was travelling slower than normal. I did it once, by mistake, and my engine turned red and I crawled back to the pit lane at 50 mph. If you smash into the rear of a rear-engine AI car, your car becomes an almost instant write-off. The AI will usually continue as if nothing had happened. If an AI smashes into the rear of your rear-engine car, your car becomes an almost instant write-off. The AI will usually continue as if nothing happened. Nine times out of ten it will feel as if the AI car has not been damaged on a par with yours.

Don’t make the attract video graphics much much better than the game. This just makes the game graphics seem disappointing. Forza has a few attract videos. In all of them, the graphics used for the cars, the environment and the game presentation are far better than seen in the game. When we do get to the game, we should be enjoying the crisp, accurate and smooth HD graphics. Instead, there is an indefinable sense of flatness. This sense is subconsciously contributed to by the higher quality of the attract videos. As an aside, the videos also showcase slipstreaming which is, probably realistically, so subtle as to be non-existent in gameplay.

A couple of more interesting Achievements. The Achievements are currently well-balanced but it’s always nice to have a quirky one or two. A couple of suggestions:

  1. Not knocking off the cone on the inside of Turn 3 at Road Atlanta for 10 races.
  2. Knocking over every cone on every or each specific track while still winning the race.
  3. Win 20 career races with the same car.
  4. Win 5 races by crossing the finishing line backwards.
  5. Set successive fastest laps for every lap of a race.
  6. Win one race on every track variation without accruing any penalties. For further spice you could also set this to be done against a minimum of Easy, Medium and Hard AI.

Caching some button presses while navigating up and down menus. You have to wait for the new menu graphics to have loaded and faded in completely before a button press is recognised. This means you have to wait a short moment after the menu appears before you can start navigation. Sometimes, you just want to come all the way back out and return to the race you were just at or go to paint your car and apply a previous design. We are very good at remembering how many button presses it takes to get there but we have to wait for the menus. As an example of what I’m wittering on about see the menus on Colin McRae: Dirt where you can whiz through the menus and options before the menu animation completes.

Exhaust noise in bumper and bonnet views. A lot of the character of an engine’s singing voice is produced by the exhaust. In Forza, they supply the noise from your point of view. Which is fine. In the bumper and bonnet views, you can only really hear the engine. This tends to make most of the cars sound rather similar whereas the AI cars around you all have distinct and wonderful exhaust notes added to their repertoire. It would be a nice option to hear the full engine and exhaust sound in the onboard views. Even nicer would be the addition of the reflected noise that you get faked in the replays. Now, after I wrote this, I played a championship with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR which does have audible exhaust sound coming out of the right rear surround. So it is in the game but you can’t hear it almost all the time.

Don’t change buttons for the replay. In common with a lot of racing games, Forza has a completely different set of hard-coded buttons active during replays. For instance, d-pad-up brings up telemetry during gameplay but X brings it up during replay. One control remains unchanged and that is the right-stick look around which still works when on a driving view (as opposed to the default replay view).

Replay cameras. Forza’s replays appear unchanged from the first game and, as such, focus on getting the best picture out of a standard definition display. This usually means extreme close-ups and onboard cameras. On HD displays the lack of visual information given to the viewer renders the replays virtually worthless as you usually can’t tell where on the racetrack you are and cannot feel the shape or story of the race. Some tweaks that would help this would be:

  1. Remove all onboard camera angles used by the pre-defined cameras replay. The user can select an onboard camera angle using the Y button if they want to see one.
  2. Pull most cameras zoom out a bit so you can clearly see more than one car at a time and a bit of track. The occasional car close-up is nice and shows off your paint job but too much of that loses the viewers ability to mentally grasp the geometry of the race.
  3. If the track is a real world location, always use the same camera positions as used by the real world television presentation. This was something employed to wonderful effect in ‘Sir’ Geoff Crammond’s masterly Grand Prix (aka World Circuit) series.

Re-use sky-boxes. Forza only seems to use one sky-box and lighting scheme per track variation. For example, Silverstone International always has sun shining through moody clouds. Even though Forza has no weather effects at all, it would add to the environmental variety a little if each track could use any of the sky-boxes and lighting schemes produced.

Semi-auto gears. Allow us to override the current gear in automatic mode. I have no idea why more racing games don’t allow you to do this. In Forza this means that most of the high performance and all of the race cars don’t have a gear change system that echoes reality and you cannot employ the basic driving mechanic of short-shifting.

More camera control when you hire a driver. Forza Motorsport 2 has a neat feature where you can hire an AI driver to compete in a race using your car. You then watch the race from predefined cameras that are the same as the default replay view. It would have been a nice option to be able to change the view and, like the replay, cycle through the driving views available.

Remove redundant messages. Occasionally Forza will show you an unnecessary message that requires you to press A to continue. An example would be the message that comes up after you’ve applied a design from the design catalogue in the Career / Paint Car menu. We know the design has been applied because we can see our car. No need to tell us as well. There’s one in the Auction House as well, if my notes are correct.

Look at results after selecting Continue after a race has finished. When the race is finished the results and fastest laps are displayed. You press Continue to keep the result and get your winnings. On more than one occasion I’ve not done too well in a race and I need to check my fastest lap to see whether I have the speed to win or need to purchase upgrades or adjust tactics or whatever. I have selected Continue almost automatically before checking my lap time. I would like to be able to press B to go back to the race results screen on these occasions.

Fiddle with the HDR sliders. High Dynamic Range lighting is supposed to mimic the expanding and retracting of the human iris when seeing brightness changes (for example, when you drive into a tunnel from daylight). In Forza, this means that white cars, indeed any colour car, can appear almost black from certain angles. This is wrong. When was the last time you stepped outdoors and thought “That’s a nice black car… Oh, it’s white”?

Allow you to press B when viewing event opponents or restrictions or A when changing race options. A is forward, continue, accept, select. B is back, cancel, don’t select. Forza sometimes forces you to use one where it isn’t entirely expected. When viewing opponents or restrictions for an event, you must press A to get rid of the pop-up message. B is the more natural button while either A or B could be accepted. When you change in-race options such as the HUD or pre-race options such as the difficulty you must press B to continue and accept your changes when A is the more natural button. Again, either A or B could be accepted.

Massively reduce the painting display when positioning layers. When you position a layer, the menu stays the same size even though it is only displaying, at most, two numbers. This is especially troublesome when painting the front or rear of the car and makes painting the rear wing near impossible. I suggest that the positioning menu could be the width of the largest option available through the left and right triggers (that’ll be Transparency) and placed on the left or right of the screen. There should still be enough room to show the current positioning page, indicate that more are available using the triggers and display the numbers required.

Don’t make AI skill level affect car performance. If you have a AI skill level 10 driver in the same car as a lesser skill level AI, the lower skilled AI will, noticeably, accelerate slower and have a lower top speed. This highlights Forza 2‘s AI code which already feels more sterile, rigid and less aware than Forza 1. AI skill level should not affect car performance and should be seen to improve car control and overtaking opportunism.

JPEG 90. I know it would take up a lot more space on forzamotorsport.net but the current quality of the photos that you upload is poor. Especially with the amount of effort that goes in to a lot of the paint jobs, it would be a nice touch to be able to show off your work in pin-sharp detail.

Forza Motorsport 2 (2007, Racing Game, 360) – 9/10 review

Senior Manager: Alan Hartman
Project Lead: Garrett Young
Lead Designer: Dan Greenawalt

Forza Motorsport 2 (2007)

Race online (requires Xbox Live Gold) or offline in any of over 300 cars on over 45 track variations in 12 locations. Customise your car with parts and paint jobs and race them and / or sell them in the Auction House (requires Xbox Live Gold).

9/10

With a driving experience that is, astonishingly, leagues ahead of the first Forza Motorsport (thanks to silky smooth graphics though they still haven’t delivered traction control, anti-lock brakes or, occasionally, low-speed rear-wheel drive that works) coupled with a huge amount of cars, superb online features and, Forza’s ace-in-the-hole, all-round car customisation mean that Forza Motorsport 2 really has set a decent target for Gran Turismo 5 next year. However, despite the wonderful tinkering, RPG and customisation aspects, the sum of its parts is somehow less than before with the team’s nagging lack of game ambition (car content is not gameplay) and the lack of actual racing (thanks to now-pansy and ill-disguised still-cheating AI) proving to be potentially significant weaknesses. Deduct a point if and for when you race with ABS, TCS, STM and Easy or Medium AI. Really. Deduct another point if you never paint your car or use the Auction House.

Available on Xbox 360. Available on Limited Edition Xbox 360.

Links

Spartacus (1960) – 9/10

Spartacus

The story of Roman slave and trainee gladiator fodder Spartacus who decides to make a break for freedom when a blossoming relationship is cruelly torn apart by his masters.

9/10

Kirk Douglas and Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus is undimmed by age in both it’s entertainment value and spectacle. It’s surprising to note that there is only one battle sequence but Kubrick’s matchless sense of pace, committed and fun performances and a good script mean that the film’s gargantuan length flies by. An all-time classic.

This movie contains graphic violence and sensuality.
Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Available on DVD, HD DVD and Criterion Collection Region 1 DVD.

The Elephant Man movie review – 9/10

★★★★★ ★★★★

True story of John Merrick, a poor man struck with an horrifically disfiguring disease, told with sure skill in glorious black and white by David Lynch. Lynch is well known for his more arty and, frankly, weird over-the-top films but is here generally restrained and much the better for it.

Plot

Based upon a true story.
1884: Dr. Frederick Treves rescues John Merrick, the ‘Elephant Man’, from the unscrupulous Bytes who displays him as a freak at a travelling fair. He finds that, behind the disfigured exterior, is an intelligent and gentle person whose rehabilitation he undertakes.

Credits

◦ Anthony Hopkins: Frederick Treves
◦ John Hurt: John Merrick
◦ Anne Bancroft: Mrs Kendal

• Writer (Screenplay): Christopher de Vore
• Writer (Screenplay): Eric Bergren
• Writer (Screenplay): David Lynch
• Writer (Original Work) The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences: Frederick Treves
• Writer (Original Work) The Elephant Man: A Study in Human Dignity: Ashley Montagu

• Director: David Lynch

Further comment

What really helps the film succeed is the breathtaking performance of John Hurt in the title role of Merrick himself. This performance is so delicate and subtle that every time he is on screen he elicits sympathy from the audience even without speaking. The make-up endured by Hurt is also fantastic and looks completely authentic. Support is fine from a recognizable British cast but pales when compared to Hurt’s masterful performance.

That said, Anthony Hopkins does get one of cinema’s great close-ups when he first sees Merrick. The camera slowly tracks toward him finishing as a close-up of his face. As the camera move ceases, a tear escapes from Hopkin’s left eye. A single camera move, a perfect movie moment.

Music is used very well and is restrained throughout. The pace of the film is just about right and delivers a number of thought provoking messages. These are portrayed subtly at first and then more blatantly later on. Despite this slight insult to the audience’s intelligence, the film loses none of its impact and, by the penultimate scene, you are genuinely happy for John Merrick. While the film hardly has a happy ending, it does fit the film perfectly and makes a touching climax to a superb movie.

A touching masterpiece played to perfection by John Hurt and made all the more moving by the fact that this is based on the true story of John Merrick. Once you have seen this film I guarantee that you will never forget John Merrick.

Hard Frost mini book review – 9/10

folder Buy from Amazon.co.uk

★★★★★ ★★★★

Highly entertaining with a memorably cunning misdirection in the main child kidnapping case but the other cases swirling around are also infused with imagination and character. Jack Frost’s mind operates only on crime and his groin but his crudeness is skilfully balanced with his persistence and humanity.

This book formed the basis for Season 5 Episode 1 of the ITV David Jason series “A Touch of Frost.”

People credits

• Copyright Holder: R.D. Wingfield
• Writer: R.D. Wingfield

Forza Motorsport Xbox detailed video game review – 9/10

★★★★★ ★★★★

This is the first racing game to match, and frequently surpass, Polyphony Digital’s astonishing “Gran Turismo” series. A single sentence comparison to “Gran Turismo 4” reveals that the feeling of driving is almost as good, the track design and artistry are less and “Forza” is just not as classy nor has it as many vehicles and tracks but the visual customisation, sense of car ownership, performance upgrades and artificial intelligence are on an entirely higher level. So while “Gran Turismo 4” probably remains the ‘ultimate driving simulator’ and it takes much longer to tire of it, “Forza Motorsport” is, in my opinion, the ultimate driving and racing simulator. An outstanding achievement.

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Battle Doll Angelic Layer anime review – 9/10

Cast / crew
Writer (Original Story): Clamp
Series Concept: Ichiro Okouchi
Director: Hiroshi Nishikori
Animation Director: Takahiro Komori
Writer (Screenplay): Ichiro Okouchi
Producer: Shinsaku Hatta
Producer: Taihei Yamanishi
Producer: Masahiko Minami
Copyright Holder: Clamp

Battle Doll Angelic Layer (2001)

Twelve-year-old Misaki Suzuhara arrives in Tokyo and watches in amazement as a televised fight between two women is won by the significantly smaller of the two. She is thrilled when she learns that the battles are between Angelic Layer dolls and that she can buy one of her very own from a store. Miha, er, no, Icchan, a strange young man in a white coat, agrees, for some unknown reason, to take her under his wing and teach her how to train and nurture her own battle doll.

9/10

Any way you slice it, this has been a wonderful show. It is positive and good-natured. It contains worthwhile sentiments for children and adults alike and can be recommended to anyone. While Japanese animation may be better known for Final Fantasy and violent futuristic entertainment, frequently featuring giant robots hitting each other and girls wearing short skirts falling over, it is this type of show that the industry can be most proud of. No-one else makes or seems to be able to make anything like it that feels so innocent and honest and without any hint of jaded irony.

This series contains battle doll violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

This blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.

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A Shot in the Dark movie review – 9/10

A Shot in the Dark DVD capture gallery

★★★★★ ★★★★☆
One of the funniest films ever made.

Description
Investigating the apparently straightforward murder of a chauffeur, hapless Detective Inspector Jacques Clouseau believes the beautiful maid, Maria, to be innocent even though she was found in a locked room with the victim and murder weapon (a gun) still smoking in her hand. Through dogged persistance, hilarious disguises, another 13 murders and 6 attempts on his own life, Clouseau sets out to prove his case.

People credits
◦ Peter Sellers: Inspector Jacques Clouseau
◦ Elke Sommer: Maria Gambrelli
• Writer (Screenplay): Blake Edwards
• Writer (Screenplay): William Peter Blatty
• Writer (Original Stage Play): Harry Kurnitz
• Writer (Original Play): Marcel Achard
• Director: Blake Edwards

Content
Adult dialogue. Slightly gory and unpleasant scenes. Mild but extensive nudity, mild sensuality
Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Continue reading “A Shot in the Dark movie review – 9/10”

Batman Begins mini movie review – 9/10

Batman Begins logo

★★★★★ ★★★★☆

Quality return to form for the winged super-hero franchise. It hits highs (two of Batman’s lines: “It’s not what I am underneath, it’s what I do that defines me” and “And you’ll never have to” both made even cooler by Batman leaping off a building as a punctuation mark) nearly as high as Tim Burton’s “Batman” but it doesn’t have a Kim Basinger subplot that doesn’t work and remains terrific throughout. Now there are four classic superhero movies: “Superman (1978)” remains the benchmark but this fits right in with “Batman (1989)” and “X2 (2003)”.

Description
Billionaire Bruce Wayne, traumatized by the murder of his parents when he was a child, drops everything in the face of a humiliating realization about his lack of understanding of the ‘real world’. He disappears, presumed dead by everyone in Gotham, and is taken under the wing of Ra’s Al Ghul who heads up the League of Shadows, an underground organization devoted to ridding the world of injustice. Finding kinship and understanding, Wayne welcomes the training and both look forward to cleansing Gotham of evil.

People credits
• Director: Christopher Nolan
• Writer (Screenplay): Christopher Nolan
• Writer (Screenplay): David S. Goyer
• Writer (Story): David S. Goyer
• Writer (Characters’ Creator) Batman: Bob Kane
◦ Christian Bale: Bruce Wayne / Batman
◦ Michael Caine: Alfred
◦ Liam Neeson: Ducard
◦ Morgan Freeman: Lucius Fox

Content
. Extreme violence, scary scenes.
Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult..

Alias Season One television review – 9/10

Alias logo

★★★★★ ★★★★☆

This is a classic season of television entertainment that wows with enthusiastic performances bringing an ambitious and frequently imaginative story to the screen.

The highlight of every episode is Kevin Weisman as Marshall.

There now follows star ratings, plot, cast and mini review for all episodes of this season. Due to the nature of the show, this information will unavoidably contain SIGNIFICANT SPOILERS.

1.01 Truth Be Told ★★★★★ ★★☆☆☆

The cast and story are good but series creator J.J. Abrams’ direction is uncharismatic. However, this is much better watching it after seeing the series through.

DESCRIPTION
On the surface Sydney Bristow is a bright, athletic and vivacious grad student. Secretly… she works for SD-6, a top-secret division of the CIA. After agreeing to marry boyfriend Danny, she is sent on assignment but it is the start of a few days that will turn her life upside-down.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Edward Atterton: Danny Hecht
◦ Jay Gerber: Professor Mizzy
◦ Angus Scrimm: Agent McCullough
◦ William Wellman, Jr.: Priest
◦ Ric Young: Taiwanese Torturer
• Writer: J.J. Abrams
• Director: J.J. Abrams

CONTENT
. Violence, gory and unpleasant scenes. Inferred nudity, sensual scenes
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

1.02 So it Begins ★★★★★ ★★☆☆☆

First time around, this is stronger than the pilot but, again, key story-telling elements are fluffed and the audience is left working out what was supposed to have happened.

DESCRIPTION
Sydney starts life as a double-agent but soon finds herself at the wrong end of a nuclear weapon and Sloane has a surprise up his sleeve.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Evan Dexter Parke: Charlie
◦ Aharon Ipale: Aninni Hassan
◦ Alex Kuz: Shcherbakov
◦ Ravil Isyanov: Karpachev
◦ Sarah Shahi: Jenny
• Writer: J.J. Abrams
• Director: Ken Olin

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

1.03 Parity ★★★★★ ★★★☆☆

Much, much better. This episode delivers on the promise of the series concept and lead actress. You’ll also be hooked and will be needing to free up an hour a week for the next five months.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Evan Dexter Parke: Charlie
◦ Gina Torres: Anna
◦ Aharon Ipale: Hassan
◦ Keone Young: Professor Choy
◦ Elaine Kagan:
◦ Mark Rolston: Lambert
• Writer: Alex Kurtzman
• Writer: Roberto Orci
• Director: Mikael Salomon

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

1.04 Broken Heart, A ★★★★★ ★★☆☆☆

Another good episode though the supposedly criminal SD-6 organization seem to be doing good. Jennifer Garner is getting better as she goes on.

DESCRIPTION
Sydney is still struggling to get closer to her father. Meanwhile, her role as double agent for SD-6 and the CIA is continuing to be challenging and not a little confusing. After getting the 500-year-old code in cooperation with enemy agent Anna from K-Directorate, further globe-trotting reveals the existence of a terrorist plot to plant a bomb inside the person of an above-reproach humanitarian representative.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Miguel Sandoval:
◦ Gina Torres: Anna
◦ Evan Dexter Parke: Charlie
◦ Faran Tahir:
◦ Maurice Chasse:
◦ Bernard White:
◦ Angus Scrimm: Agent McCullough
◦ Sarah Shahi: Jenny
• Writer: Vanessa Taylor
• Director: Harry Winer

CONTENT
Mild swear words. Extreme violence, medical scenes.
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

1.05 Doppelganger ★★★★★ ★★★☆☆

With at least three double agents swanning about and a whole stack of story strands, this is a thrilling, packed episode with an explosive climax.

DESCRIPTION
After discovering the presence of a bomb inside respected humanitarian Patel, Sydney and Dixon kidnap him and prepare to extract the device while being pursued by the trigger man. When Sydney returns to America, she is given the CIA file on her father. SD6’s next assignment involves helping high-ranking German bio-weapons expert Jeroen Schiller with safe passage to America. The CIA twist is that they will extract Schiller first, then get Sydney to escort an FBI agent posing as Schiller to America. Meanwhile, Will has discovered that Danny was booked on a plane to Singapore with a woman named Kate Jones.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Tom Everett: C.I.A. Agent Paul Kelvin
◦ Norbert Weisser: Iuron Schiller
◦ Lori Heuring: Kate Jones
◦ Maurice Chasse:
• Writer: Daniel Arkin
• Director: Ken Olin

CONTENT
Mild swear words. Extreme violence, medical scenes, extremely unpleasant scene.
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

1.06 Reckoning, The ★★★★★ ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION
Sydney is still shell-shocked after the death of four CIA agents on her last mission for SD-6, deaths she was supposed to prevent but was powerless to do so. When she gets back to America to learns that an agent responsible for investigating possible Russian double-agents was involved in the car accident that killed her mother. SD-6’s next operation sees Sydney and Bristow attempting to recover an encoding device used by a rival organization.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ John Hannah: Shepard
◦ Nancy Dussault:
◦ Evan Dexter Parke: Charlie
◦ Lori Heuring: Kate Jones / Eloise Kurtz
◦ Eugene Lazarev: Dr. Kreshnik
◦ Sarah Shahi: Jenny
◦ Maurice Godin: SD-6 Agent Fisher / “Dr. Fontanetta”
• Writer: Jesse Alexander
• Director: Daniel Attias

CONTENT
. Extreme violence, gory and unpleasant scene.
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

1.07 Color-Blind ★★★★★ ★☆☆☆☆

A lack of plot means that this episode is not up to the thrilling level of the previous few but sometimes a breather is just what you need.

DESCRIPTION
Sydney is trapped in the psychiatric hospital at the mercy of her K-Directorate captors. She still needs to extract the information in Shepard’s head but he won’t trust her until he can work out where he’s seen her before. Meanwhile, back in America, Jack is upset that his FBI file had been pulled by Vaughn and shown to Sydney while Sloane is regaining control of SD-6’s unauthorised computer leaks.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ John Hannah: Shepard
◦ Evan Dexter Parke: Charlie
◦ Elaine Kagan: L.A. Register Editor June Litvack
◦ Eugene Lazarev: Dr. Kreshnik
◦ Sarah Shahi: Jenny
• Writer: Roberto Orci
• Writer: Alex Kurtzman
• Director: Jack Bender

CONTENT
. Extreme violence, unpleasant torture scenes.
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

1.08 Time Will Tell ★★★★★ ★★☆☆☆

Frequently thrilling.

DESCRIPTION
Sloane instigates procedures to root out the mole he suspects has infiltrated SD-6, ie., Sydney. Meanwhile, Sydney is sent on a mission to recover another Rambaldi invention, this time a clock which, when retrieved, seems to have a large number of superfluous parts. K-Directorate always seem to be one step behind but that won’t last forever. At home, every time Will’s conscience distances him from investigating further into the mysterious Kate Jones and her relevance to the death of Sydney’s fiancée, some further tit-bit of information drags him back in. Little does he know that if he does find anything concrete, it will cost him his life.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Tobin Bell: Mr. Dryer
◦ Gina Torres: Anna Espinosa
◦ Robert Clendenin: Kostia Bergman
◦ Peter Dennis:
◦ Keone Young: Professor Choy
◦ Elaine Kagan:
◦ Jack Axelrod:
• Writer: Jeff Pinkner
• Director: Perry Lang

CONTENT
Mild swear words. Extreme violence.
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

1.09 Mea Culpa ★★★★★ ★★★☆☆

Very strong episode with the audience kept on their toes as the try to predict, mostly unsuccessfully, the fate of our favourite female spy, Sydney Bristow.

DESCRIPTION
Sydney survives her brush with K-Directorate’s Anna but loses the Rambaldi book. Dixon is not so lucky, he is shot and seriously wounded. The only way to save his life is for Sydney to use her emergency CIA satellite phone to get him air-lifted to safety. Dixon was drifting in and out of consciousness but did he hear her? Meanwhile, back in the SD-6 office, Sloane is arguing with security interrogator Mr. Dryer over Sydney’s perfect test results: Dryer’s intuition says she is a double-agent, Sloane says she cannot be. Her next mission involves making sure that SD-6 manage to get hold of some US Government seized funds which have been stolen back by their original owner. The CIA want Sydney to comply but to retrieve the account numbers so that the money can be traced across the planet.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Miguel Sandoval: Anthony Russek
◦ Tobin Bell: Mr. Dryer
◦ Timothy Landfield:
◦ Christopher Thornton:
• Writer: Debra J. Fisher
• Writer: Erica Messer
• Director: Ken Olin

CONTENT
. Extreme violence, gory and unpleasant scenes.
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Spirit ★★★★★ ★★★☆☆

A good episode with a conclusion that makes the next episode absolutely unmissable. This also features my favourite two outfits of the series (the ones she wears at the hotel) and, yes, numps is a real word and it does mean “dolt; blockhead.”

DESCRIPTION
Her double-agent status confirmed, SD-6’s security sector set about interrogating Sydney. Meanwhile, Will has procured a tape from a contact on the other end of “Kate Jones”‘ bug and has managed to isolate a clear assassination – three gun shots – and the codename SD-6.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Miguel Sandoval: Anthony Russek
◦ Scott Paulin:
◦ Aharon Ipale: Aninni Hassan
◦ Christopher Thornton:
◦ Scotch Ellis Loring:
◦ Sarah Shahi: Jenny
◦ James Warwick:
• Writer: J.J. Abrams
• Writer: Vanessa Taylor
• Director: Jack Bender

CONTENT
. Extremely unpleasant scenes (torture), strong violence.
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

1.11 Confession, The ★★★★★ ★☆☆☆☆

A routine episode of this series with a climax that the audience saw coming a couple of months ago. Still, great fun.

DESCRIPTION
Sydney has gone in to rescue her father but ends up a prisoner. Jack is told to kill Sydney or be killed himself. Meanwhile, back at home Michael Vaughn is digging further into Jack Bristow’s history and finds out that the books Jack had bought twenty-five years ago contained a list of CIA agents to be murdered…

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Aharon Ipale: Aninni Hassan
◦ James Handy: Devlin
◦ Francesco Quinn: Minos Sakkoula
• Writer: J.J. Abrams
• Writer: Daniel Arkin
• Director: Harry Winer

CONTENT
Mild swear words. Extreme violence.
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

1.12,13 Box, The ★★★★★ ★★★☆☆

Exciting double episode where special guest star Quentin Tarantino provides good value for money. While his acting is typically bad in the first part, he is suitably loopy, much better in part two and even kicks Sydney’s lovely butt. Sloane even says “Thank you” to Marshall (who replies with a great one-liner).

DESCRIPTION
With Sydney and Vaughn still reeling somewhat from the truth surrounding the death of his father, Sydney wants out. Failing to change her mind, Vaughn then runs into trouble in the office as the on-hand psychiatrist wants to chat with him. Sydney returns to work to inform Sloane that she is leaving but before she arrives, a team of mercenaries led by a seriously disgruntled ex-SD-6 operative named McKenas Cole breaks into SD-6 with the intention of stealing something from the SD-6 vault. Trapped in an elevator only Sydney and her father are undetected by the crooks.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Quentin Tarantino: McKenas Cole
◦ Joey Slotnick: CIA Officer Haladki
◦ Agnes Bruckner: Kelly
◦ Sarah Shahi: Jenny
◦ Patricia Wettig: Dr. Judy Barnett
◦ James Handy: CIA Director Devlin
• Writer: Jesse Alexander
• Writer: John Eisendrath
• Director: Jack Bender

CONTENT
. Extremely unpleasant scenes (torture and finger-amputation), extreme violece.
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

1.14 Coup, The ★★★★★ ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION
While Sydney is now clearer about her professional duties with regard to being a double-agent at SD-6, she is still extremely unsettled about learning that her mother was not an English professor and was, in fact, a KGB agent responsible for assassinating CIA operatives including Vaughn’s dad. The result of this is that she decides to ditch the academic side of her life but asking her Dad for his opinion will require some patience. Meanwhile SD-6 is shocked to learn that the FDL is publicly disbanded by a renegade operation under the guidance of someone known only as “The Man”. SD-6 is shocked that The Man could mount an attack on both themselves and their Russian counterparts and Sloane wants to know more about this mysterious new entrant into the game.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Evan Dexter Parke: Charlie Bernard
◦ David Anders: Mr. Sark
◦ Allison Dean:
◦ Keone Young: Professor Choy
• Writer: Alex Kurtzman
• Writer: Roberto Orci
• Director: Thomas J. Wright

CONTENT
. Extreme and graphic violence.
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

1.15 Page 47 ★★★★★ ★★☆☆☆

Paced unevenly but a lot happens in this episode including the end of Will Tipping’s SD-6 investigation, the lovely Sydney Bristow in a tiny crop top and even tinier hot pants (gasp!) and the mysterious, eponymous Page 47 of the Rambaldi manuscript.

DESCRIPTION
Still surprised by the assassination of the head of K-Directorate by The Man’s Mr Sark, Sloane orders that the Rambaldi manuscript at the heart of the tussle be intercepted before it is handed over to The Man. Meanwhile, Will is getting names and information that will lead him to SD-6 if he is not stopped. Jack Bristow doesn’t favor Sloane’s termination order and so tries to scare Will off but he arranges another meeting with his primary source anyway.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Sarah Shahi: Jenny
◦ Amy Irving: Emily Sloane

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

1.16 Prophecy, The ★★★★★ ★☆☆☆☆

It’s nice to see Roger Moore turn up and put one over Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin) but very little actually happens in this episode.

DESCRIPTION
Sydney is shocked to discover her face on a 500-year-old Rambaldi document but the security forces are holding the translation of the contents back but are simply refering to it as “The Prophecy.” To determine whether she is the one specified in The Prophecy, detailed physical tests need to be undertaken but Sydney is deeply unhappy about the lack of information being given to her.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Roger Moore:
◦ Lindsay Crouse:
◦ James Handy:
◦ Derrick O’Connor: Alexander Casanov
◦ Joey Slotnick:
◦ Castulo Guerra:
◦ Wolf Muser:
◦ Amy Irving:
• Writer: John Eisendrath
• Director: Davis Guggenheim

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

1.17 Q & A ★★★★★ ★☆☆☆☆

This is catch-up time with the entire story laid out interspersed with brief highlights from the previous 16 episodes. That means that not too much happens but the story starts rolling again near the end and director Ken Olin does pretty well with the rest of it.

DESCRIPTION
Sydney is questioned by the FBI and relates the account of how she came to be in her present circumstance but the authorities’ unshakeable belief in the Rambaldi prophecies will lead Sydney to an inescapable but astonishing conclusion.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Terry O’Quinn: FBI Special Officer Kendall
◦ Joey Slotnick: CIA Agent Steven Haladki
• Writer: J.J. Abrams
• Director: Ken Olin

CONTENT
Mild swear words. Strong violence, unpleasant scenes.
Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

1.18 Masquerade ★★★★★ ★☆☆☆☆

The plotting is really clunky in this episode but it is still good entertainment.

DESCRIPTION
After proving conclusively that it is not she who is referenced by Rambaldi’s prophecy by scaling Mt. Subasio in Italy – something the woman in the prophecy will not have done – she is returned to her normal double-duties at the CIA and SD-6. However, Sydney’s underwater escape has revealed how her mother survived her supposedly fatal car crash and everyone comes to the realisation that the prophecy must refer to her. Sydney becomes preoccupied by the hunt for her mother but her father and handler do not want to or cannot help, so she reluctantly turns to Sloane for assistance.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Peter Berg: Noah Hicks
◦ Angus Scrimm: Agent McCullough
◦ Patricia Wettig: Dr. Judy Barnett
• Writer: Roberto Orci
• Writer: Alex Kurtzman
• Director: Craig Zisk

CONTENT
. Strong violence. Sexual scene
Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

1.19 Snowman ★★★★★ ★★☆☆☆

A decent enough episode but the conclusion is somewhat obvious and one hopes an explanation, or excuse, will be provided next week.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ Peter Berg: Noah Hicks
◦ Natasha Pavlovich: Young Laura Bristow / Irina Derevko
◦ Stephen Spinella: Kishell
◦ Boris Krutonog: Young Alexander Khasinau
◦ Angus Scrimm: Agent McCullough
◦ Paul Lieber: Yonug Bentley Calder
◦ Patricia Wettig: Dr. Judy Barnett
• Writer: Jesse Alexander
• Writer: Jeff Pinkner
• Director: Barnet Kellman

CONTENT
. Graphic violence, unpleasant scene. Mild nudity
Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

1.20 Solution, The ★★★★★ ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION
After killing The Snowman – lover Noah Hicks – Sydney is despondent and questioning the worthwhileness of her activities as a double-agent. The other people in her life are having serious problems as well. Sloane’s wife is now stuck in hospital after reacting badly to chemotherapy and is about to reveal something that will bring her life to an even sooner termination. Tippin is contacted by his mysterious source again and informed that his kidnapper was none other than Sydney’s dad, Jack, and forces him to reopen his investigation. This tips Jack off that there is a serious breach of security at a high-up level.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ James Handy: CIA Director Devlin
◦ David Anders: Mr. Sark
◦ Tony Amendola: Barcelo
◦ Kirk B.R. Woller: Exterminator
◦ Amy Irving: Emily Sloane
• Writer: John Eisendrath
• Director: Daniel Attias

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

1.21 Rendezvous ★★★★★ ★★★★☆

Oooh!

DESCRIPTION
Unsure whether Dixon has recognized her, Sydney manages to escape the situation with Vaughn’s help but sustains an arm injury that Dixon soon spots back at SD-6. Sloane pleas for Emily’s life with the Alliance, reasoning that she only has a week to live due to her cancer anyway. Tippin and Jack try to set up a meeting with Tipping’s mysterious contact in order to discover the source of the security leak. Tippin is ordered to Paris for the meet at the same time that Sydney and Dixon are sent to Paris to run a mission involving Casanov.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ David Anders: Mr. Sark
◦ Derrick O’Connor: Alexander Casanov
◦ Joseph Ruskin:
◦ Wolf Muser:
◦ Kamala Dawson:
◦ Amy Irving:
• Writer: Erica Messer
• Writer: Debra J. Fisher
• Director: Ken Olin

CONTENT
Mild swear words. Violence.
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

1.22 Almost 30 Years ★★★★★ ★★☆☆☆

And so the first series of Alias comes to an end… but the story doesn’t. This has been a classic television series and will deservedly propel star Jennifer Garner straight into a shot at cinema stardom (her subsequent big screen outings would be Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can” and superhero flick “Daredevil” but her career would stall with the release of the offensively awful “Elektra”).

DESCRIPTION
Circumstances conspire to put Jack and Sydney further in danger than ever before and their activities are behind the backs of both the CIA and SD-6, including Sydney’s now-suspicious partner, Dixon. Meanwhile, Sloane has to come to terms with the fact that cancer is not going to kill his wife, Emily, and that he will have to.

PEOPLE CREDITS
◦ Jennifer Garner: Sydney Bristow
◦ Ron Rifkin: Arvin Sloane
◦ Michael Vartan: Michael Vaughn
◦ Bradley Cooper: Will Tippin
◦ Merrin Dungey: Francie Calfo
◦ Carl Lumbly: Marcus Dixon
◦ Kevin Weisman: Marshall Flinkman
◦ Victor Garber: Jack Bristow
• Writer (Series’ Creator): J.J. Abrams
◦ David Anders: Mr. Sark
◦ Derrick O’Connor: Alexander Casanov
◦ James Handy:
◦ Joey Slotnick:
◦ Elaine Kagan:
◦ Wolf Muser:
◦ Ric Young: Taiwanese Torturer
◦ Amy Irving:
• Writer: J.J. Abrams

CONTENT
Mild swear words. Gory scenes, several extremely unpleasant scenes.
Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.