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Member's Reviews

[.REC], a review by Jon

4 out of 5

A young reporter and her cameraman accompany the Spanish fire service to a routine call. Before they know it they are trapped in an apartment block by the authorities who refuse to let them out until an unspecified health scare has been neutralised.

Yet another home movie. What is it with filmmakers today? Are tripods too damn expensive? Released around the same time as Cloverfield and Diary of The Dead, and featuring a well-worn situation, originality was never going to be this movies strong point. But strong points it does have, comparing favourably with the other "authentic" handheld movies this year and The Blair Witch, probably to blame for the idea in the first place. In fact this is possibly the best horror movie released since The Descent.

The story is very basic, with only a handful of characters. The latter at least is unusual for a zombie movie, but in an enclosed space, it's more effective and apart from two, all the infected victims are characters we've been introduced to so it has more punch. The tension is heightened by the shadows of the people outside playing on the windows showing civilisation and safety is in spitting distance.

It's a credit to Rec, Diary and Cloverfield that all of them have been able to use the same basic idea without treading on each others toes and finding some hook: Diary, the least entertaining, had the most ambition with multi-source post-edited material and a bonkers cameraman; Cloverfield stretched the conceit to breaking point but had the nice idea of including bits of the previous recordings form a happier time; but Rec perhaps uses it to best effect, reducing it to a simple P.O.V. from Pablo the cameraman, making for a terrifying tour of a haunted house. It'll be a while before I peak in any lofts! None of them ever used the trick from Planet Terror though, which I loved (damaged film means a good portion of the story is missing).

You might assume that the DTS sound is limited because it's supposed to be an in-camera recording, but it's used very well. As the infected grab at the mike and muffle the sound; or you hear a scream from behind and Pablo spins around to look, the scream runs through your room. Visually there's plenty of jumps and shadows to explore. The light on the camera and night vision are used brilliantly.

The last act reveals some substance, with a play on the regular viral infection now including The Vatican dealing with a case of possession. So plenty of sequel bait! That's unusual for me. Two films in this marathon have left me salivating for a follow-up. At least that's happening here for definite, plus a remake already for those allergic to sub-titles. Do yourself a favour and try this first. At the very least, they aren't going to find a heroine anywhere near as cute as the wonderful Manuela Velasco. The bouncy little pig-tailed minx is far more attractive than Bruce Willis in the dirty vest look! :devil:

There are very few, if any, films that have actually scared me properly, especially in recent years. That's why I say it's the best since The Descent. They still don't have the power to make me sleep with the light on, but still, no films between those two have had me on the edge of my seat, jumping like a loon as much as this!

(From October Marathon: Horror! on October 13th, 2008)

Member's Reviews

20,000 Years in Sing Sing, a review by Antares

20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932) 3/5 - Of the films I've seen starring Spencer Tracy made prior to his Oscar winning role in Captain's Courageous in 1937, he comes across as trying too hard put a specific spin towards the characters he's playing. It comes across, at times, as awkward or amateurish and it is full display in the Michael Curtiz film 20,000 years in Sing Sing. I can't quite put my finger on it, but he doesn't seem believable for a second as the tough hoodlum sent to prison by a back stabbing accomplice. The film itself, is pretty straightforward and doesn't deviate from the prison films of the time. The only saving grace has to be Bette Davis as Tracy's love interest Fay. This was probably her first starring role and she makes the most of it. Nowhere to be seen is the grande dame persona she would emanate in future films and it is refreshing to watch her in her unfettered glory. This is the Bette Davis that I like, not the Margot Channing diva that she would become just a few years later. I also have to give a nod to Arthur Byron as the sympathetic warden. When people write about the films of the golden era, they all tend to mention the main stars. But what makes most of these films golden, is the supporting cast of great character actors. This is something that I feel is sorely missing today from mainstream films. Today, all of the supporting cast are all so plastic, interchangeable Stepford facsimiles. Actors such as Byron, Thomas Mitchell, Donald Meek, Roscoe Karnes and Gene Lockhart gave film making it's rich depth.

(From Antares' Short Summations on October 9th, 2013)

Member's TV Reviews

Grey's Anatomy Marathon, a review by addicted2dvd

Season 4 Disc 1:

1. A Change Is Gonna Come
Meredith and Cristina return from Cristina's honeymoon to find that Burke is long gone. Izzie, Alex, Meredith and Cristina start their first day as residents, each with their own set of interns. Among the interns are George, who is repeating his internship after failing the exam, and Lexie, Meredith's half-sister. Meanwhile, Derek begins to look elsewhere after his relationship with Meredith hits an emotional impasse; Bailey grapples with the fact that her former interns now report to Callie, the new Chief Resident; and Richard returns to his position as Chief of Surgery.

My Thoughts:
It is so good to see new episodes again! and WTF! Is Dr. Burke gone from the show!?!? He was one of my favorite characters! I really like the advancements in the storyline of the doctor's private lives... but the medical cases could have been better.

My Rating:

2. Love/Addiction
The interns and residents treat victims of an apartment complex explosion as Alex looks into the cause of the devastating accident. Mama Burke arrives at Seattle Grace to pick up the rest of Burke's personal things while Cristina trades wedding gifts for surgeries. Meanwhile, Lexie tries to talk to Meredith, who is less than willing to do so; Callie deals with the stress of being Chief Resident; and Bailey tries to figure out what to do with her excess leadership skills.

My Thoughts:
Much like the last episode this one is a good continuation of the doctor's personal lives... but the medical cases leaves some to be desired. I really didn't care much about the people from the apartment explosion.

My Rating:

3. Let The Truth Sting
The new interns are in awe of fellow intern George's skill level, and Lexie tries to keep his "repeater" status secret. Meredith comes to Lexie's aide when Lexie is faced with her first emergency situation. The Chief and Sloan have to use a radical surgery to save a woman's vocal ability. Meanwhile, George debates telling Callie about his affair with Izzie.

My Thoughts:
Another good episode. I liked both main medical cases this time. and I got a kick out of the new intern... an old gray haired man. I could have went without seeing the needle into the eye socket though. The personal lives of the doctors had some decent advancements as well. Just when I thought Alex was starting to mature and I could start liking the character the old Alex came back out. What an ass!

My Rating:

4. The Heart Of The Matter
Izzie reveals her true feelings for George to one of her and George's friends, and the reaction she receives is not what she expected. Meanwhile, Adele Webber rushes her niece to Seattle Grace; Derek gives Cristina pointers on how to be a better teaching resident; and Norman, the world's oldest intern, misdiagnoses Meredith's patient.

My Thoughts:
Another episode I enjoyed.They are still concentrating more on the personal lives of the doctors then on the medical cases. But the medical cases in the episode was good. Especially since we find out more about the chief's niece... and how she wants to handle her cancer.

My Rating:

(From Grey's Anatomy Marathon on February 6th, 2010)