In Bruges

Brendan GleesonA pair of hitmen, Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell) have been sent to Bruges by their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes). We learn that they are waiting for instructions following their last job which involved Ray shooting a priest, and accidentally killing a boy who is standing behind the priest when the last shots are fired. Wracked with guilt, Ray can’t live with what he has done. Bruges does little to distract him, until he meets Jimmy (Jordan Prentice) and Chloe (Clémence Poésy), the girl he hopes to woo.

It’s all funny and enjoyable. I suppose it’s realistic that a professional hitman would be quite good in a fight – Ray hits a Canadian and his wife in a restaurant when they complain about Chloe blowing cigarette smoke in their faces.

The plot is suitably interesting – nothing too epic, but enough to engage you. For me the most painful moment in terms of storytelling is when Ray manages to not be ripped off by Chloe’s boyfriend who wields a gun containing blanks. Ray then finds the real bullets for the gun and takes it away with him – we later learn because he intends to shoot himself because of the guilt he feels from killing the boy. The thing is, it’s such an artificial moment in the plot that it’s hard to ignore, and I found myself temporarily unable to suspend disbelief.

In terms of acting I think Brendan Gleeson is the most believable character. He seems the most real – when he says things you’re not focusing on the actor – the character he is playing is really there. Maybe it’s something to do with the eyes – great film actors have a world of depth behind their eyes, they can say so much with great economy.

Of course Ralph Fiennes is fantastic, but I really feel he’s an actor waiting for his next epic role – someone who could so easily pick up an Oscar at some stage, but alas not for this film. I think it’s just a matter of time.

I was left with a mixture of emotions after watching this film. I rented it, but it’s a film I would be happy to own on DVD – I would watch it again, but probably not too frequently (by contrast, I can watch Ronin and Layer Cake every three to six months no problem). It’s a good example of the idea that you can generally make a film from a short story – you don’t usually need a complex novel as your starting point because there’s not enough time to convey all the twists and turns. I felt that it was generally quite real and believable – such as when Ray has to accept the reason he manages to pick up Chloe is not that he’s a great lover, but that she plans to rip him off.

Full cast list: Susan Ateh, Olivier Bonjour, Ann Elsley, Sachi Kimura, Ran Yaniv, Michael Bennett, Robbie Kay, Bonnie Witney, Theo Stevenson, Jean-Marc Favorin, Clemence Poesy, Ciaran Hinds, Emily Thorling, Thekla Reuten, Jérémie Renier, Angel Witney, Anna Madeley, Stephanie Carey, Zeljko Ivanek, Jordan Prentice, Ralph Fiennes, Eric Godon, Rudy Blomme, Louis Nummy, Elizabeth Berrington, Mark Donovan, Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Jamie Edgell and Inez Stinton.

Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights

It would be difficult to review this programme while maintaining a family-friendly review website.

It is laugh out loud all the way from start to finish, aside that is, from numerous times when you are asking “did he really just say/do that?”

I was watching the second episode while playing Flight Control on my iPhone. Well, at least, that’s what I thought I would be doing, but unfortunately the game involves maintaining your concentration for several minutes, landing aircraft and helicopters, and just a minute in to my first game, I looked up and saw the Time Travelling Professor’s time machine that is powered by… you’ll have to see it yourself to see what the time machine was powered by, but rest assured, the sight was entirely sufficient to distract me and cause all my aircraft to fall out of the sky.

I don’t know how much George Michael, Susan Boyle, Michael Barrymore, the Pope, and the church in general mind Frankie Boyle’s merciless comedic attacks on them. It is hard to imagine any regular church-goes seeing the scene with the crucifixion and not be at least mildly disquieted.

Strictly Come Dancing 2010

Ann WiddecombeI’ve always been a fan of these kind of programmes. Strictly, X Factor, Dancing on Ice etc, but this year something strange has happened and I seem to be finding them all dull and boring. Is it just me, or are these shows getting worse?

Ann Widdecombe Photo courtesy of BBC

This year on Strictly Come Dancing 2010 we have the usual line up of sport stars, actors, actresses, musicians (and a magician) including:

  • Jimi Mistry
  • Kara Tointon
  • Scott Maslen
  • Patsy Kensit
  • Ann Widdecombe
  • Felicity Kendal
  • Gavin Henson
  • Paul Daniels
  • Pamela Stephenson
  • Peter Shilton
  • Tina O’Brian
  • Goldie
  • Michelle Williams
  • Matt Baker

Whilst this is actually a surprisingly ‘OK’ line-up for Strictly it doesn’t really deliver when you watch the show. The judges comments have become predictable, and quite what Alisha Dixon is even doing on the show I’m just not sure! Bring back Arlene I say, at least she gave constructive advice and knew what she was talking about!

The whole show seems to be made worse by the fact that instead of playing the original track when the couple is dancing, we have a badly voiced band shouting their way through the songs. I find myself spending more time listening to how out of tune they are than I do watching the dancing that is actually taking place on screen. Maybe it’s just me being picky but I do wish that the producers would just shell out a few extra bucks and pay up for the use of the original music.

There have been the usual rumoured relationships going on between contestants and the professional dancers; no I’m not talking about Anne Widdecombe and her partner, I’m of course referring to Kara Tointon (she used to play Dawn in Eastenders) and her blatant attraction to her dance partner. Is it real, or all for the cameras and viewers votes? I’m not sure!

With the final approaching, it really is anyone’s guess as to who will win this year and I certainly can’t call it. Can you?

Gossip Girl on ITV 2

Gossip Girl is the new American TV show for teenagers to hit the UK. It is currently being shown on ITV 2 and revolves around the lives of a group of friends living and attending school in New York’s prestigious Upper East Side.

When Serena Van Der Woodsen returns on the scene once again in New York after disappearing in a rush, the gossip mongers are foaming at the bit to find out all the juicy gossip on why she left and what she plans to do now she’s back! The resident gossip columnist known only as Gossip Girl (Voiced by Kirsten Bell) is always one step ahead of the latest information and regularly posts snippets of information on her online blog.

Dan Humphrey (Played by Penn Badgley) has been admiring Serena from afar and can’t believe his luck when he finally manages to get her attention, could this be the start of a new romance on the Upper East Side? Gossip Girl certainly thinks so!

However, certain people aren’t so pleased to see Serena back in town; this includes her one time best friend Blair Waldorf, the Queen Bee of the school whose super rich parents make sure she is always the height of fashion and centre of attention. Enraged to learn about her boyfriend Nate Archibald’s involvement with Serena can these two ever make things right between them again?

This show is one of the hottest things on TV right now, the characters themselves are all gorgeous, the fashion and technology are constantly changing and surprising us with new clothes, accessories and gadgets and the mix of humour, fun and drama really seems to have worked its charm.

My favourite characters have to be Serena who is played brilliantly by the beautiful Blake Lively, and although it’s hard to believe her age in this (She’s clearly older than the character she’s portraying) she has a certain something about her that makes her instantly likeable as a lead character. I also find Chuck Bass (Played by Ed Westwick) growing on me with every episode, he’s the resident ‘bad boy’ and your classic spoiled rich kid, but could he be changing his ways? We’ll have to wait and see.

If you enjoy teen drama’s or soaps then Gossip Girl will definitely appeal to you. You can catch it on ITV 2 and where US gossip blogger Perez Hilton has bagged himself his own column talking about the show.

Definitely one to keep your eye on, it’s going to be huge!

Complete cast list for Gossip Girl: Anne Torsiglieri, Ed Westwick, William Abadie, Joanna Garcia, Lydia Jordan, Dreama Walker, Steve Antonucci, Sarah Marable, Cathy Trien, Caitlin Colford, John Roney, Milton A. Marsh III, Chace Crawford, Steven Weisz, Leighton Meester, Michelle Trachtenberg, Margaret Colin, Stevie Ray Dallimore, Erich Bergen, Alana Cadiz, Chris Riggi, Alexandra Carl, Bill Walters, Mary DeBellis, Aaron Schwartz, Kevin Stapleton, Nicole Salisbury, Kate Gorney, Chuck Cooper, Adriene Couvillion, Ashley Klein, Simon Miller, Clémence Poésy, Michaela Annette, Megan Guinan, Whitney Vance, Jessalyn Wanlim, Hugo Becker, Marmee Cosico, Rachel Oyama, Yin Chang, Stephen Kyle, Aaron Tveit, Danicah Waldo, Blake Lively, Carrie Yaeger, Aija Terauda, David Call, Taylor Momsen, Joelle ten Damme, Bree Williamson, Stella Maeve, Laura Breckenridge, John Bolton, John Shea, Benita Robledo, Amanda Setton, Jessica Verdi, Jeremy Frutkin, Laura Harring, John Mitchell, Jesse Swenson, Robert Stoeckle, Hilary Duff, Purva Bedi, Eric Engleman, Darly Wanatick, Sarah Steele, Desmond Harrington, Johnny Webster, Matthew Settle, Matt Doyle, Alice Callahan, Michelle Hurd, Gonzalo Escudero, Kathryn Jinx, Juan Pablo Veizaga, Kate French, Chanel Farrell, Natalie Gal, Andrew Stewart-Jones, Ellie Pettit, Samantha Maldonado, Jan Maxwell, Anna Kuchma, Heather Silvio, Emma Demar, George Aloi, Giselle Bowyer, Shaun Earl, Lindsey Evans, Joe Hickey, James Naughton, Wallace Shawn, Dan Marshall, Jill Flint, Finise Avery, Nan Zhang, Sebastian Stan, Jessica Andres, Francie Swift, William Baldwin, Connor Paolo, Kristen Bell, John Patrick Amedori, James Schram, Tamara Feldman, Ben Yannette, Liza Binkley, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Schall, Valentina de Angelis, Jessica Szohr, Sonya Harum, Linda Emond, Ben Rauch, Kelly Rutherford, Melissa Rocco, Reed Birney, Scott Friend, Caroline Lagerfelt, Zuzanna Szadkowski, Chase Coleman, Robert John Burke, Dennis Larkin, Armie Hammer, David Patrick Kelly, Estelle Bajou, Willa Holland, Andrew M. Rose, Susan Misner, Penn Badgley, Luke Kleintank, Alyson Rogers, Sherri Saum, Evans Forlidas, Tinsley Mortimer, Meg McCrossen, Kevin Zegers, Robert Sella, Sara DeRosa, Mädchen Amick, Taylor Gildersleeve, Melissa Fumero, Ron Maestri, Libby Bradley, Sam Robards, Nicole Fiscella, Brittany Angley, Gina Torres, Jeremy Chu, Holley Fain, Deanna Russo, Patrick Heusinger, Bess Rous, Tasha Courtney.

Matrix Reloaded DVD review

Randall Duk Kim and Carrie-Anne MossThis undeniably is an almost impossible follow-up to the pure brilliance of The Matrix and its running along the corridor scene, and while I was waiting to see it for the first time I nervously waited to see if Reloaded met the heady heights of the original. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s as good as The Matrix.

What it does have is so many great moments that it match any film ever for coolness! We have in the cast Keanu reeves as Neo, Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, Carrie Anne-Moss as Trinity, Gloria Foster as the Oracle and the brilliant Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith – still I think the best actor in the film.

It starts with a meeting in the Matrix where a group of captains with their crew are discussing a huge threat of 250,000 sentinels that will reach Zion in 72 hours. Shortly afterwards Neo meets Agent Smith with two other agents that he promptly beats up, and Smith says some strange things about Neo setting him free.

Afterwards Morpheus’ group return to Zion where that afternoon there is a huge dance with brief scenes of semi-nudity and great music. The next morning Neo is invited to see the Oracle and gets some much needed answers, but with the traditional dollop of confusion thrown in. Afterwards Neo gets in a huge fight with Agent Smith who has copied himself a couple of hundred times.

The film is less talkie more killie than the last, involving a much needed car chase for about twenty minutes. The CGI is great but they just don’t attain their previous standards when they filmed Neo beating up the army of Smiths, however in every scene when they don’t have a CGI Neo it is as good as you might hope. The sets in my opinion were far better funded then those in the original Matrix film, with no more of the cardboard and polystyrene set nonsense (at least, that’s what it often looked like to me).

They have some brilliant punch lines in Matrix Reloaded, like “we are getting aggravated” and “Yes we are”. It was just funny for no proper reason at all. This all adds up to an absolutely brilliant film that just outperforms the first Matrix film in many ways

The general storyline is that the prophecy should be fulfilled soon, so the twenty five thousand sentinels should never make it to Zion, but Neo hasn’t got a single idea what he needs to do to stop them. Also he is having a recurring dream about Trinity, jumping out of a building firing two mini Uzis at an agent chasing her with a Desert Eagle pistol. In the dream she is then shot in the heart and she hits a car below. Is this really going to happen, and if so can Neo save her?

Full cast list for the Matrix reloaded: Adrian Rayment, Alima Ashton-Sheibu, Andrew Valli, Andy Arness, Anthony Wong, Anthony Zerbe, Attila Davidhazy, Austin Galuppo, Bernard White, Carrie-Anne Moss, Chris Mitchell, Christine Anu, Christopher Kirby, Clayton Watson, Collin Chou, Cornel West, Daniel Bernhardt, Daryl Heath, David Franklin, David Kilde, David No, David Roberts, Don Battee, Essie Davis, Frankie Stevens, Genevieve O’Reilly, Gina Torres, Gloria Foster, Harold Perrineau, Harry Lennix, Helmut Bakaitis, Hugo Weaving, Ian Bliss, Jada Pinkett Smith, John Walton, Josephine Byrnes, Joshua Mbakwe, Keanu Reeves, Kelly Butler, Kevin Scott, Lambert Wilson, Laurence Fishburne, Leigh Whannell, Liliana Bogatko, Malcolm Kennard, Marlene Cummins, Matt McColm, Michael Budd, Monica Bellucci, Montaño Rain, Nash Edgerton, Nathaniel Lees, Neil Rayment, Nicandro Thomas, Nick Scoggin, Nona Gaye, Noris Campos, Paul Cotter, Peter Lamb, Randall Duk Kim, Ray Anthony, Rene Naufahu, Robert Mammone, Robyn Nevin, Roy Jones Jr., Rupert Reid, Scott McLean, Shane C. Rodrigo, Socratis Otto, Steve Bastoni, Steve Morris, Steve Vella, Stoney Burke, Tahei Simpson, Terrell Dixon, Tony Lynch, Tory Mussett, Valerie Berry.

Resident Evil DVD rental

Resident Evil is my first Zombie/Horror/Action movie I’ve seen so I wasn’t sure what to expect. A secret underground base, a team of black-clad commandos, a smoking hot lady and a homicidal AI – it sounds like a recipe of success.

It starts off like a clone of a film about memory loss with a girl waking up naked in the shower and exploring what appears to be her house. However, this is soon shattered as a team of commandos dressed head to toe in black wearing gas masks and a ton of guns. They accept the girl as one of their own and take a unknown man prisoner.

It soon transpires the girl is part of a security team guarding a secret laboratory. However we soon find out that it seems to be deserted thanks to a homicidal AI name Red Queen, who proceeds to cut down a good portion of the commandos who are investigating the apparently empty laboratory complex in a very grisly trap.

But just as the commandos complete their mission it turns out that the now terminated homicidal AI was the lesser of two evils, as the dead laboratory employees have a virus that was released into the facility. The virus brings the dead back and gives them a hungry appetite.

From then it turns into a gun blazing fight for survival and search for the truth.

To be honest the story is predictable in certain areas, but once all the predictable plot turns are over it becomes very original with zombies bursting out of every hole in the facility and with barely enough bullets to commit suicide it becomes brutal martial arts-style fighting

The action sequences are very intense with matrix style moves and plenty of explosions and gunfire. The suspense though is what makes it brilliant since you know the hero lady is going to survive but nobody else is safe, and with lots of ventilation shafts and dark corridors, people can’t expect to survive for long. Although it is rated 15 some of the implied violence and sudden shocks are terrifying so I would not recommend this to the easily scared or squeamish.

To be honest the acting doesn’t really mater to me since most of the cast die before you get to know them and the rest don’t need to show much emotion, but in the rare moments when emotions matter it is believable.

On the whole I would give it an 8 out of 10 for DVD rental and a 7 out of 10 if you are thinking about buying it since it is amazing the first time but it would have less of an impact the next few times.

Full cast list for Resident Evil: Anna Bolt, Barry Best, Colin Salmon, Eric Mabius, Fiona Glascott, Heike Makatsch, Indra Ové, James Purefoy, Jamie Harding, Jason Isaacs, Jaymes Butler, Jeremy Bolt, Joseph May, Liz May Brice, Marc Logan-Black, Martin Crewes, Michaela Dicker, Michelle Rodriguez, Milla Jovovich, Oscar Pearce, Pasquale Aleardi, Robert Tannion, Ryan McCluskey, Stephen Billington, Torsten Jerabek.

Hellboy II on DVD

Selma Blair as Liz ShermanTo be honest after seeing Hellboy I wasn’t so sure about seeing number 2 and it seemed my fears were well founded in the first five minutes when the background story is given in a shadow puppet style. However after the titles I was soon corrected, with a great piece of timing comedy that you will not see coming.

After that the story boils down to three different story lines – bad person wants power and needs completed artefact (and tries to complete it while good guys try to stop him), love-story lines, and a “dealing with the brand new boss” story line.

To be honest after seeing Hellboy I wasn’t so sure about seeing number 2 and it seemed my fears were well founded in the first five minutes when the background story is given in a shadow puppet style. However after the titles I was soon corrected, with a great piece of timing comedy that you will not see coming.

After that the story boils down to three different story lines – bad person wants power and needs completed artefact (and tries to complete it while good guys try to stop him), love-story lines, and a “dealing with the brand new boss” story line.

To be honest after seeing Hellboy I wasn’t so sure about seeing number 2 and it seemed my fears were well founded in the first five minutes when the background story is given in a shadow puppet style. However after the titles I was soon corrected, with a great piece of timing comedy that you will not see coming.

After that the story boils down to three different story lines – bad person wants power and needs completed artefact (and tries to complete it while good guys try to stop him), love-story lines, and a “dealing with the brand new boss” story line.

The Matrix – on DVD!

I’ve watched the matrix about half a dozen times and every time I thought “Wow that is just the coolest thing ever!” seeing a guy in a black trench coat running along a wall with two Uzis and a woman in a black shirt running along another wall ready to kick a man in the face in slow-mo, and a tone of cool scenes like that.

Carrie Anne MossKeanu reeves as Neo, Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, Joe Pantoliano as Cipher, and my favourite character Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith. It’s the first of the three films and could not have gone better.

It starts with Neo being told by his computer to follow a “white rabbit” which leads him briefly to trinity. The next day he goes to work where he is chased by some agents and he is eventually caught. With the agents he enters a world of horror and his mouth seals itself shut and a small robot climbs into his belly button – he then wakes up back to normal, or so he thinks.

He then is phoned and meets Morpheus’ team under a bridge in a car where they suck the robot out of his bellybutton. Afterwards they drive to a large tattered building where he meets Morpheus who offers to let him know the truth about the matrix and be freed, he then has to face that he has to save the planet from the robot’s rule.

This film is full of action and strange ideas. The CGI was futuristic for its time, the sets I have to say sometimes looked like cardboard and polystyrene but overall they were good, they chose perfect music for the situations including Rage Against The Machine for the credits!

Some of the acting wasn’t the best, like the point when Trinity is kicking ass with a shotgun she seems like it’s too heavy for her to hold. However the quick punch lines like “dodge this” will last forever in media history.

The story itself is based around the Matrix which is a computer simulation made by robots with AI that is our world, they grow humans plugging them into the Matrix and use their bio-electricity to power themselves. This means that the world isn’t real and they can bend the system’s rules such as gravity, Letting them fly, jump further and run on walls!

The full cast is: Keanu reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, Julian Arahanga, Anthony Ray Parker, Marcus Chong, Matt Doran, Gloria Foster, Belinda McClory, Paul Goddard, Robert Taylor.

Upgrade Sky TV

Experience HD with a half price box

You can enjoy an amazingly wide range of HD channels with the HD Mix for only £10 extra a month. Sky currently offers you access to 26 HD channels, with another 2 new HD channels launching in November 2008. To receive the high definition Sky Movies and Sky Sports channels, you will need to add Sky Movies and Sky Sports Mixes to your package. Find out about the amazing deals when you upgrade Sky now!

Sure you can upgrade to Sky+HD but you can also upgrade your current Sky packages:

  • Sky World for a fantastic mix of entertainment
  • Sports Mix for sport fanatics
  • Movies Mix with five new premieres every week
  • Entertainment mixes with a huge range of TV viewing

You can also upgrade to include these specialist TV channels:

  • MUTV for all the coverage of Manchester United you could ever ask for
  • Chelsea TV – my favourite Premier League team
  • Disney Cinematic
  • Music Choice

Sleeping with the Enemy film review

Julia Roberts as Laura BurneyOne of my all time favourite films was recently screened on E4; Sleeping with the Enemy starring Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergen and Kevin Anderson. As a fan of Julia Roberts this one probably one of the first films I saw her in (other than the obvious Pretty Woman) and despite its sometimes flawed plotlines I can’t help but find myself still enjoying it just as much as ever.

The storyline revolves around Julia Roberts character Laura Burney and her abusive husband Martin (Patrick Bergin). Laura struggles to live with the demands of her violent and obsessive husband who to the outside world seems like the perfect catch. Laura finds herself living life in a constant state of fear, and is waiting for the perfect opportunity to escape the evil clutches of her husband.

When she finally gets her chance to break away, she fakes her own death and flees the town going undercover with a new name and soon finds a completely new way of life.

She begins to make friends and becomes close to drama teacher Ben, the complete opposite of her ex husband he’s everything she has ever wanted but when Martin later learns that he wife is not dead he begins to start a search for her that will not end until he finally gets her back home with him where he believes she belongs.

The film has some great “feel good” moments such as the “Brown Eyed Girl” scene which livens things up midway through but also deals with some much darker issues surrounding abusive relationships and domestic violence.

Patrick Bergin plays the menacing Martin very well, actually making you believe at times that he is the monster that his character represents. Julia Roberts also does a fantastic job of playing Laura, who changes from someone too scared to be herself into a confident and happy young woman as the film takes its journey.

If you are a fan of Julia Roberts, chances are that you will probably have already seen this film, but if you haven’t managed to catch it yet it may be a little dated now but is definitely still worth a watch if you have a spare hour or two on your hands!

Full cast list for Sleeping with the Enemy: Bonnie Johnson, Claudette Nevins, Elizabeth Lawrence, Graham Harrington, Harley Venton, John Lindley, John Ward, Julia Roberts, Kevin Anderson, Kyle Secor, Marita Geraghty, Nancy Fish, Patrick Bergin, Patt Noday, Ron Reedy, Sandi Shackelford, Sharon J. Robinson, Tony Abatemarco.