My Video Collection
After cataloguing my music collection I thought it was about time I did my films as well. I have controversially listed all sequels alongside their original counterpart so that series can be viewed as one. Many thanks to Amazon for the plagiarised review data & artwork, where available this has saved me an enormous amount of time.
Please select a letter to browse by title:
Inspired by Chris Marker's acclaimed short film La Jetée, 12 Monkeys combines intricate, intelligent storytelling with the uniquely imaginative vision of director Terry Gilliam. The story opens in the wintry wasteland of the year 2035, where a virulent plague has forced humans to live in a squalid, oppressively regimented underground. Bruce Willis plays a societal outcast who is given the opportunity to erase his criminal record by "volunteering" to time-travel into the past to obtain a pure sample of the deadly virus that will help future scientists to develop a cure. But in bouncing from 1918 to the early and mid-1990s, he undergoes an ordeal that forces him to question his own perceptions of reality. Caught between the dangers of the past and the devastation of the future, he encounters a psychiatrist (Madeleine Stowe) who is initially convinced he's insane, and a wacky mental patient (Brad Pitt in a twitchy Oscar-nominated role) with links to a radical group that may have unleashed the deadly virus. Equal parts mystery, tragedy, psychological thriller, and apocalyptic drama, 12 Monkeys ranks as one of the best science fiction films of the 1990s, boosted by Gilliam's visual ingenuity and one of the finest performances of Willis's career. - Jeff Shannon
Anti-vivisection activists make a very bad judgment call and release an experimental monkey infected with "rage". 28 Days Later..., as the title has it, bicycle messenger Cillian Murphy wakes up from a post-traffic accident coma in a deserted London hospital, ventures out to find the city depopulated and the few remaining normal people doing everything to avoid the jittery, savage, zombie-like "infecteds" who attack on sight. Our bewildered hero has to adjust to the loss of his family and the entire world, but hooks up with several others--including a tough black woman (Naomie Harris) and a likable London cabbie (Brendan Gleeson)--on a perilous trip northwards, to seek refuge at army officer Christopher Eccleston's fortified retreat. However, even if they survive the plague, the future of humanity is still in doubt. Directed by Danny Boyle and scripted by novelist Alex Garland, this is a terrific SF/horror hybrid, evoking American and Italian zombie movies but also the very British end-of-the-world tradition of John Wyndham (Day of the Triffids) and Survivors. Shot on digital video, which gives the devastated cityscapes a closed-circuit-camera realism, this grips from the first, with its understandably extreme performances, its terrifyingly swift monster attacks and its underlying melancholy. Deliberately crude, 28 Days Later is also sometimes exceptionally subtle. - Kim Newman
Put that cynical look away, because the critics were right. 28 Weeks Later really is a sequel that delivers, that expands on the original, and in many ways even surpasses it. Faithful in many ways to the enjoyable, if derivative, 28 Days Later, this sequel sees original director Danny Boyle (who went off to make Sunshine instead) replaced by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo behind the camera(director of the excellent Spanish film Intacto). And Fresnadillo is an inspired choice, putting together a film that's not bereft of flaws of its own, but one that proves to be an ambitious and surprisingly thought-provoking follow-up. Many of the building blocks are the same. Primarily set over six months after the Rage virus engulfed Britain, turning many of its inhabitants into deadly zombie-esque creatures in the process, the film this time though sees the American military arrive to help sort things out. Only things quickly go wrong, allowing Fresnadillo to mould a pacey, exciting and desperately enjoyable action carnival, that's got a little more under the surface. Grounded by Robert Carlyle as one of the survivors of the virus, replete with his kids in tow, 28 Weeks Later skilfully navigates the labyrinth of sequel hell and really, really delivers. What's more, it opens up the enticing possibility of a further sequel, and on the evidence of this film, that's a very welcome thought. 28 Weeks Later, like its predecessor, isn't a film for the faint-hearted, and wholesome family entertainment it absolutely isn't. But it's a very good, energetic horror movie, and far, far better than you might've originally given it credit for. - Jon Foster
Days Of Night
The problem with vampires is that, usually, they can't go out in daylight. That means that, however menacing they might be after sunset, when morning rolls around again, the heroes can just dig 'em up and stick a stake in them. 30 Days of Night sidesteps the whole daylight problem by setting its story in Barrow, Alaska, a town which is so far north that during the winter, the sun doesn't rise for a month at a stretch. It's such a perfect setting for vampires that it's almost shocking no-one's thought of it before now. 30 Days of Night has another trick up its sleeve, too. Its vampires aren't gothic hedonists who enjoy their claret out of jewelled goblets. Nope, these are vicious, nasty, brutal creatures who'd snap your neck as soon as look at you. They look terrifying, all misshapen foreheads and far too many teeth, and the creepy shrieking noise they make only makes it worse; they seem entirely inhuman. Barrow's isolated, blizzard-stricken location makes for a literally chilling atmosphere even before the monsters show up. The plot loses its way towards the end, and the inevitable triumph of the heroes stretches logic to its limits, but the setting is original enough to make up for that. 30 Days of Night isn't a film you'll forget in a hurry. - Catherine Haskins
Days Of Night: Blood Trails
This disc is simply a collection of trailers made to promote the original film & is competeley unwatchable in it's published form. It simply isn't possible to enjoy the content when it is interrupted by lenghthy opening & ending credits every couple of minutes & it is verging on offensive that we are made to pay for this pleasure. Surely this content should have been an extra on the original disc & if we are expected to pay for it, the least they could do would be to remove the credits & edit the trailers down into a watchable if short film. NB
Space Odyssey - Restored &
2001 is a legendary film
for its directorial & cinematic beauty. When you consider
this film was made in the late '60s, the special effects are incredible
& the miniature work is far more believable than any of the current
days CGI efforts. The only unfortunate factor is that due to the
sparse dialogue the film will leave you thoroughly confused.
Unless you pick up the original book or at least watch the 2010 sequel
you will have little hope of figuring out what it was all about.
Despite this 2001 remains one of the best films of all time. NB
2010: The Year We Made Contact
Unlike 2001, 2010 is directed from a much more conventional angle & as such will solve much of the confusion that 2001 generates. Because of this it isn't quite as legendry a film but it is still hugely enjoyable, much more accessible & truly opens your mind to the theories put forward by Arthur C Clark in the written series. If you like 2001 then you should own a copy of 2010 if only to explain what the first film was all about. Lets hope that at some point in the future someone decides to undertake filming of the remainder of the series. NB