Minority Report

Not what I was expecting! The hype I’d seen suggested this was an action movie on a par with Matrix. It’s not, it’s a good sci-fi movie, but it’s not a sci-fi action movie.

There’s action in it of course, but it’s not the focus. I guess I should have known, it being a Philip K. Dick story.

Tom plays a cop in a ‘pre-crime’ unit, using pre-cognitive people who see the future, the cops are able to stop murders before they happen. Things take a turn when Tom’s character is seen commiting a murder in the future. If Tom avoids his apparent fate then how can anyone trust the visions the pre-cogs have of the future? If not, then our hero is in trouble …

There is intrigue, some action, some nice funny moments, some tense moments and a couple of jumping out of your chair moments. Two bits made me feel queasy.

I really needed the loo for the last 20 minutes, which detracted a little, and once I’d worked out ‘who did it’ it was a little hard to stay involved, but it was a good film non-the-less. Tom was excellent, supporting cast was nice, and the overall look was very good.

I felt that as with other short stories by Philip that have been made into full length films, there’s a few things that are just glossed over (they really expect us to believe that 3 pre-cogs and about 20 policemen can prevent all murders in a city this size?), some bits of the story felt as though they’d been shoe-horned in, and I was left feeling that not all of it held together.

Having said that, it’s well worth going and seeing it. It keeps you guessing, keeps you interested, and keeps you entertained. The pace is good.

It’s probably just as good on the small screen, it’s not another Matrix, it is a good come-back for Tom after his recent movies.

Star Wars Episode Two : Attack of the Clones

So, Attack of the Clones. One line summary, “Better than the first one, still holding out in the hope that the third one is excellent”.

Very entertaining movie, if I’m honest, and I do hesitate to say this, more entertaining than Lord of the Rings (not necessarily a better movie, but more entertaining). It had pace, drama, humour and all the elements we expect from a Star Wars movie. Some nice foreshadowing, some nice gentle pokes at the previous movies, light plot, light acting and some excellent action scenes.

If you doubt the impact of computer graphics in movie making, go and see this movie. A good cinema going experience. I will be buying the DVD, and with more enthusiasm than the Phantom Menace.

Blade 2

Aaaargh. Here’s a quick recipe.

How to Ruin A Sequel

  • Take one excellent movie
  • Take one charasmatic actor
  • Overcomplicate the plot
  • Remove chances for Actor to ooze charisma
  • Add pointless elements and silly dialog
  • Pretend the first movie never happened
  • Place in the oven and bake for three years

They did it to Mission Impossible, they did it to Batman, and now they’ve gone and done it to Blade. The first movie was simple and focussed on action and charisma. The sequel is overcomplex (although not that complex), badly edited (I hope, otherwise the script sucked), and lacked all the charisma and chutzpa that made the first Blade rock.

We are to believe that Blade teams up with some vampires, to kill some even nastier vampires. The nastier vampires have nice special effects, gory that is, which we are treated to over and over and over again. Hey, I got it the first time guys. Blade and his Vampire Buddies hunt down and kill the other Vampires. And there’s a twist. No, really, there is. Honestly. Because hunting vampires isn’t enough (even though it was the first time around).

Very dissapointing. They should have just had the Blood Gang (the vampires that Blade teams up with) hunting him down, and him killing them off one or two at a time for 110 minutes, and it would have been far better.

The action scenes are ok, and some of the fights are nice, but they are too few to make this a good action movie. There is an element of horror, but not enough to make this a horror movie. So, it lies in the no-mans-land between horror and action, alone, ignored, and unloved.

A terrible way to honour the original movie.

The Last Boy Scout

Bruce rocks 🙂 Ok, so this movie is violent, and has lots of bad language, but it’s sassy, funny, thrilling, amusing, entertaining, and fun!

Typical early 90’s action movie, with the good guys dealing out as many wise-cracks as they do gunshots, and the bad guys getting wasted often and in increasingly messy ways. The good guys spend more time getting beat-up than they do investigating, and a kid is taken hostage 😉

Bruce is excellent, this is the role he plays best, and while it’s not demanding, his attitude is just excellent to watch. Damon Wayans as the side-kick is cool and entertaining, and ensures he never steals the screen while Bruce is on it.

The DVD cut is fine, although it felt as though there were one or two moments with lip-synching issues. Quality is ok, no added extras, but hell, who needs them when you’ve got Bruce kicking arse!

Dungeons and Dragons (DVD)

Ok, so I thought it was terrible in the cinema. But it’s a genre movie, so I bought the DVD. You know, because. In the past, movies that I didn’t appreciate in the cinema turned out better than I expected on DVD, perhaps the second viewing helped, or the small screen worked better, or because I could do other things and keep myself busy during any slow parts. Anyway, did it make a difference with this movie?


It just sucks. It is pants. The story is terrible, the script is shocking, the acting is worse than terrible. The direction is bad beyond belief. Oh dear it’s just all bad – it makes my eyes hurt. It could have been so good. Do not buy this product – you will regret it.

The Age of Misrule Series (Mark Chadbourn)

Having just finished the third book in this series I felt I should write up a review. At the time of writing, I’ve been struggling with reading. The Harry Potter books may have kickstarted my reading habbit, but before I started those, I’d read the first two in Mark’s Age of Misrule series. Picking up the third one was easy, and it felt good to be back in the world, with Church, Ruth, Laura, Veitch and Sharvi, the five main characters in this modern-world-turned-mythic adventure.

The writing is clean, crisp and easy to read, although Mark has a tendancy to enjoy the word frisson, and he ensures you get to enjoy it too. The characters are believable, and easy to empathise with. The story is well paced, interesting, deep, puzzling in places, and funny in others. I was kept guessing as the final outcome all the way through, and enjoyed it all the more as a result. I certainly felt a frisson each time Church declared ‘he felt there was some deeper meaning, but it was just beyond his grasp’, because I felt the same way during much of the book, that if I just thought hard enough I’d work out where it was going, but I was never able to, and as I said, enjoyed it all the more.

Our protagonists are forced together to help out in a world gone mad, thanks to the ‘return’ of all those things we thought were myth and legend. The Brothers and Sisters of Dragons (the five mentioned above), must fight for a cause, although it’s not clear which one or why, early on, and help the world survive the change that is underway.

Interesting, entertaining, thoughtful, emotional, and well paced. I recommend it, especially if you like your British Mythology.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J. K. Rowling)

After the second Harry Potter book, I wasn’t holding out much hope for the third one. I mean, authors usually just get worse, I’ve never seen one have a dip and then recover.

Until now.

[Was that too melodramatic? Sue me 😉 ]

J. K. Rowling pulls herself together and delivers a riveting read, with many of the weaknesses from the second book stamped out. Gone is the totally obvious formula, gone are the long periods of boredom. We have a gripping story about Harry and his friends, and another bunch of new and weird adults. We have touching moments and thrilling scenes. More background history is revealed, and Harry gets to learn more about his past.

Well worth reading, as good as the first one, and ever-so-slightly more mature. Roll on book four.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J. K. Rowling)

J. K. Rowling is either amazingly lucky, or a brilliant genius (or, stating the obvious, some combination of the two). The fourth in the Harry Potter line of books is, without doubt, her best yet. Darker and more emotional than the previous three, The Goblet of Fire focusses on the conflict between Harry and you-know-who.

Three magical schools come together to compete in a triwizard tournament, and Harry finds himself involved, whether he likes it or not. The plot is intriguing and engrossing, the young characters are as good as ever and growing older by the book and the older characters reveal a little more each time we meet them.

We have humour and moments of real emotion, interspersed with tension and moments of real concern. It’s still a book that kids can read and enjoy, and that has implications about it’s depth and complexity. But if there’s one thing it has in buckets, it’s writing which encourages empathy with the main players.

I’ve read all four Harry Potter books on the trot. For the first time in ages, I’ve read a book which isn’t by David Gemmell as my main recreational activity, rather than as a tiring out manoeuvre before going to bed. It might actually help me to get back into reading more often. Praise indeed.

And, the best praise of all, I’m looking forward to, I’m eager for, I’m anticipating, the fifth in the series. Eat that Jordan.

Tomb Raider (DVD)

If you’ve read my cinema review of this movie, you already know how I felt about it. So I won’t repeat that here.

So, how does the DVD compare? Very well actually. The transfer is good, and the special features (mostly background info on the movie, and special effects, etc.) are interesting, absorbing and long.

The film itself is, of course, the same, but at home, you can chat to your wife during the bits which bug you, and talk about the bits you enjoyed, which is why it scores five more on DVD than it did for the cinema release!

It’s good, clean-ish, entertaining, fun. Edge of your seat action. Rent it first, if you like it, buy it.