Greenzone (DVD Review)

September 15, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Posted in DVD, DVD Film, Reviews, Suggestions | Leave a comment

One of Bruce Springsteen’s songs a few decades ago was about war, he sung the words ‘War – what is it good for – absolutely nothing’.

Every war movie has their fans and their enemies. I love my war movies and always will, but some people are against any type of war.

Greenzone has a mix of both really.

It is set during the Iraq War and involves the American troops. The movie is based on the book Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rujiv Chandreasekaran.

I enjoyed the movie but all the way through it felt like déjà vu.

After watching all the Bourne series I was interested to see if Matt Damon could pull this movie off.

He plays the part of Chief Warrant Officer Ray Miller who follows orders until those orders really start to become a problem and he goes off on a bit of a bender. His character is a lot like Jason Bourne from the Bourne series of movies, and of course the director is Paul Greengrass who directed the Bourne series.

It is a really good political thriller mixed with war type movie but I felt it didn’t really reach its full potential.

Reviewed by Shona

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500 Days Of Summer DVD

July 2, 2010 at 8:49 am | Posted in DVD, DVD Film, Reviews | Leave a comment

Before I begin, a word of warning:  I always try to watch a variety of movies, and like everyone, I have certain genres I like and others I don’t – comedys and romances rank somewhere near the bottom.

I live in hope that the movie will turn out to be an enjoyable watch, and sometimes I am pleasantly surprised.  Other times, not so much.

So please take this into account – you may love this movie.  I, on the other hand, am incredibly relieved I didn’t pay good money to watch this at the cinema.

The 500 days are not running concurrently – we jump from one day to another with no semblance of order.  Yes, it’s done to show the way relationships can change, but it becomes frustrating very quickly and makes it easy to lose focus.

Zooey Deschanel’s character, Summer, is morose and annoying – almost as annoying as the character her sister Emily plays on ‘Bones’ (Temperance Brennan), but without any of the likeable quirks.

Maybe I’m just a total romantic – I believe in love and she sure doesn’t seem to!  On the plus side, it showed a new and interesting side to Matthew Grey Gubler, who plays Paul (friend of lead character Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.)   I’ve only ever seen him on Criminal Minds, and the two characters are really quite different!

This movie also ruined some perfectly good music – for example ‘She’s Like The Wind’ or ‘Every Rose Has It’s Thorn’ (okay, these 2 songs – which are now stuck firmly in my mind – may not be the best ever, but they were looking a lot better before I saw them being mutilated by bad singing or cheesy scenes.)

And as for the ULTRA-cheesy musical number following their first intimate encounter…  My eyes were wide in disbelief!

Tom falls asleep in a movie theatre at one point during this DVD and really that mirrored how I ended up feeling.

However, I do think that if romantic comedies are your thing you’ll enjoy it!  It just wasn’t my cup of tea!

Check if it’s available at the moment here.

Reviewed by Joy

Movie Review – The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

July 2, 2010 at 8:47 am | Posted in DVD, DVD Film, Reviews | Leave a comment

All I can say is be ready with a very large box of tissues.

The movie is based on a novel written by John Boyne.  Bruno is an 8-year old German boy whose father is an officer in the German Army. He ends up moving from Berlin to a remote area when his father gets a promotion.  His father  is now the kommandant of a Nazi prison camp.

One day Bruno discovers what he thinks is a farm with farmers that wear very funny clothing (striped pyjamas).  He goes to investigate the farm and soon becomes friends with a little boy named Shmuel.

The film pulls at the old heart strings and is well worth watching. It shows the way that the Jews were treated by the Germans. It showed how an 8 year old boy viewed the situation, which was totally different than an adults view. The only thing that I did not like about the film is that all the actors had British or American accents – when they were supposed to be Germans.

During the film you can see the huge differences in lifestyles of both the boys.  The way they live, dress, sleep, and the way that they are treated. I will not tell you anymore – because I don’t want to ruin the movie.

Reviewed by Shona

‘Critics Choice’ – Critically acclaimed DVDs of 2009

August 19, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Posted in DVD, DVD Documentary, DVD Film, DVD Music, Library_News | Leave a comment

The following list of DVDs has been compiled from critics’ reviews in magazines and websites.

Sources used include imdb.com, amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, and the magazines: Empire, Mojo, Uncut, Q, Real Groove, Rip It Up, Rolling Stone

Best DVDs of 2009 (so far):

  • Frost/Nixon
  • Slumdog millionaire
  • Pineapple express
  • Milk
  • The visitor
  • Changeling
  • Wilco: Ashes of American flags
  • Battlestar Galactica: season four, part two
  • Young@heart
  • 24: redemption
  • Watchmen animated: tales of the black freighter
  • Leonard Cohen live in London
  • Bones season 3
  • Jeff Beck: Performing this week live at Ronnie Scott’s
  • Futurama: Into the wild green yonder
  • He’s just not that into you
  • Doctor Who: Planet of the dead
  • Naked weapon
  • Stevie Wonder: Live at last, a wonderful summer’s night
  • Whitechapel
  • Mistresses season 2
  • Go girls
  • Flight of the Conchords season 2

Topp Twins – Untouchable Girls

August 17, 2009 at 9:51 am | Posted in DVD, DVD Documentary, DVD Film, Music, New Zealand, Reviews | Leave a comment

I remember going to my first Topp Twins concert at the James Theatre in Wellington back in 1992. I was reluctantly dragged along by my friends, thinking at the time ‘what the heck do I want to go and see this show for’.  At the end of the show I walked out suffering with a sore face from laughing so much – from then on I was hooked.

The Topp Twins are cultural icons in New Zealand entertainment. For the last few decades they have entertained us with street busking, television shows, books, live shows and now to top it all off – Topp Twins – Untouchable Girls, a fantastic entertainment documentary that will leave you laughing in the aisles. They have bought us real life characters: The Bowling Ladies, Prue and Dilly Ramsbottom, Ken and Ken, and last but not lest Camp Mother and Camp Leader.

The documentary shows 25 years of New Zealand history. It showcases great footage of protest movements (Maori land occupations, homosexual reform bill and the nuclear-free New Zealand campaign), cultural change, and interviews with well known musicians, comedians and even Helen Clark.  It also shows their personal side with home movies and Jools brush with breast cancer.

It has all been put together with great footage of their shows including clips from their television show: Don’t Adjust Your Twinset 1996-2000. It is a real laugh to also look back at the fashions and trends of times gone by.

They have also always been open about their sexuality and this is also bought into their comedy acts and songs. They have shown that these sorts of things don’t matter and that they can still act and entertain the crowds to much applause and laughter.

This movie broke opening day records for a New Zealand movie, and I think it highlights what it feels like to be a true Kiwi.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, just as well as their live shows. I am sure that there are plenty of our library patrons that would also love to watch this fantastic movie of the Topp Twins and New Zealand history.

Reviewed by Shona

DVD Review – Seven Pounds

July 27, 2009 at 9:55 am | Posted in DVD, DVD Film, Reviews | Leave a comment

I love Will Smith movies, as a rule, so I settled down to watch this one with anticipation.  I was initially very disappointed, in fact I thought about turning it off after about the first 15 minutes.  Perseverance, however, does occasionally have its rewards and this was one of those times.

The storyline (without giving anything away) revolves around Will Smith’s character, known as Ben.  We see flashes of his past, but mostly see him in the present as he meets various people who are waiting for, or in the process of receiving organ donations – liver, kidney, bone marrow etc.  He seems to be checking out the lives of these people, finding out if they have good morals etc.  In the process these meetings, he meets Emily.  Unexpectedly to Ben (but not so much to the audience!!) he falls in love with her.   This could, potentially ruin everything for Ben.

The storyline was sometimes a little tedious for my liking.  However I loved the attention to detail, particularly in relation to Ben’s pet – a box jellyfish which plays an important role in drawing the story together.  This may sound like a bit of a contradiction, but sometimes the details are what really makes a film good – even if the storyline itself feels a little bit like it is a short story which has been drawn out to the furthest extent.

Perhaps my liking of Will Smith makes me a little biased, as I thought his acting was once again superb.  In fact, the actors are all very good.  The characters are believable and mostly like-able (except for one particular character who wasn’t intended to be!).

I went from fairly apathetic at the start of the movie to being very, very close to tears at the end.  It is a pretty good movie overall, and well worth a watch – just remember to have a box of tissues handy if you tend to cry at the movies!

Reviewed by Joy

Role Models DVD

July 27, 2009 at 9:54 am | Posted in DVD, DVD Film, Reviews | Leave a comment

I went into this with VERY low expectations.  I really didn’t expect the movie to do much beyond the norm of the comedy genre – constant puns and very little in the way of a decent storyline.  I had in my mind that I was going to be writing a review that told you not to watch it unless in the mood for rubbish.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I genuinely enjoyed this film!  It was still chock-full of cringe worthy comedy – in fact, there were moments I just found myself putting my hands over my ears and closing my eyes to avoid the embarrassment of the characters!  But there actually seemed to be a bit of heart in the story.

Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott star as two friends who find themselves in trouble with the law after Rudd’s character Danny breaks up with his girlfriend.  Given the choice between jail or community service, they chose the latter and end up mentoring troubled kids.  Danny is paired with Augie, a quiet, dorky teenager obsessed with a Dungeons and Dragons/Medieval role playing game.  Scott’s character Wheeler partners Ronnie – the most foul-mouthed, dirty-minded 10 year old you could ever imagine.

There are, of course, several hiccups along the way – culminating in Danny and Wheeler almost being sent to prison after all.  Somehow though, at the end of the day things turn out OK – and in fact there really seems to be a moral to the story.  Do what makes you happy, no matter what others think, do or say.  There are no preachings to this message, it has been delivered in a subtle way.

I really did love this movie.  The acting was great – particularly on the part of the kids.  The comedy was actually funny – not just embarrassing – and flowed well.  I’d recommend this film highly to an adult audience – it has an R16 rating for very good reason.  In fact, I may even buy a copy for myself!

Reviewed by Joy

Slumdog Millionaire

July 27, 2009 at 9:52 am | Posted in DVD Film, Reviews | Leave a comment

I decided to watch this movie for two reasons:

1 – it seems to have had fantastic reviews and media attention

2 – an Indian family from my local church recommended us to watch it.

Danny Boyle is a well know director that has made some big name movies including: Trainspotting, Shallow Grave and A Life Less Ordinary. In his latest effort – SLUMDOG MILLIONARIE he has made another amazing blockbuster film.

The film is loosely adapted from Vikas Swarup’s novel Q&A, and the film is set in modern-day Mumbai.

At the start of the film we are introduced to the main character, a teenage Jamal Malik, a chai-wallah (tea vendor). He was born and raised in the slums of Mumbai and after many battles makes his way onto the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

The film goes into the different stages of his life and the hassles he has during those times. He ends up getting into trouble with the host of the show Kumar who does not believe him when he says that he can answer the questions on the show because they actually pertain to his life experiences. So Kumar sets the local police onto him to torture the truth from him.

I will not tell you anymore because I don’t want to ruin the movie for you. But I will say that the movie is a great movie filled with romance, torture, fantasy and poverty. Make sure you have a large box of tissues beside you to watch this one, because it is a real heart breaker.

Reviewed by Shona

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

March 19, 2009 at 11:09 am | Posted in DVD Film, Library_News, Reviews | 1 Comment

image - Angus, Thongs and Perfect SnoggingThis movie is based on a very popular series of books by Louise Rennison and is like a mix of Bridget Jones’s Diary with a female version of Adrian Mole.

I reluctantly sat down to watch this with my young daughter (thinking here we go again – having to watch another kids movie) but right from the start I was engaged.

From the initial first few minutes we were howling with laughter and it just got better.

The movie is about 14-year old Georgia Nicholson, who is impatient for the world to realise she is still waiting for her life to start.

Her goals in life are much the same as any other 14-year old: to give herself a makeover, bag a cute guy at school and prevent her parents bickering their way to a divorce.

Then there is poor old Angus, a tormented pet cat who keeps being squished into lace bonnets and having spaghetti draped over his face. His antics throughout the movie are hilarious.

This movie gives you a warm feeling to be reminded what romance and love is – both from a younger and older point of view.

Well worth watching for a few good laughs and a bit of romance.

Reviewed by Shona

Jumper (Movie)

September 11, 2008 at 10:45 am | Posted in DVD Film, Reviews | Leave a comment

Jumper is a great movie. Teleporting is awesome and the location shots in the movie were incredible.  It makes you wonder what you would do if you were in their shoes.

And if you think about it most of us would do a number of things these “jumpers” have checked off their list.  Their ability to span the globe with just a thought is fantastic – imagine the savings on airfares.

When the jumpers hook up together the movie really takes a turn for the better.  Samuel Jackson stars as the head of a group called the Paladins – an order of righteous religious zealots bend on destroying the jumpers.

All in all this movie was good – would not say great but good.  Would watch it again just for being able to dream of what you would do if you could do the same.

Shona (Bookmad)

Av Advocate – Central Library

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