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Hunted 02 Melissa George, Adam Rayner, Stephen Dillane, Stephen Campbell Moore, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Morven Christie, Lex Shrapnel, Dhaffer L'Abidine, Dermot Crowley, Indira Varma

Hunted (Season 1): 1 year after a botched murder attempt secret agent Alex Kent must find out who betrayed her, whilst carrying out a new mission for her private contract company. The production values on this are through the roof – it always looks more like a film than TV series (Going for the Luther / HBO vibe). A few characters stand out as good, including the botoxed lead Melissa George, but the rest are all definitely TV standard. The writing’s solid, with the current mission dramatically unfolding, as well as several well-connected revenge storylines weave through the central drama. As the season progresses and the plot thickens the show really grabs you – but – like with almost every modern TV show the greedy prospect of a second season made the writers go for a disappointingly limp finale that fails to conclude the bigger mysteries in the story, and (more annoyingly) raises even more last-minute questions. It’s a sour ending to what’s otherwise a top spy/thriller/espionage thriller show.

Score: 7.5/10

Hunted 02 Melissa George, Adam Rayner, Stephen Dillane, Stephen Campbell Moore, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Morven Christie, Lex Shrapnel, Dhaffer L'Abidine, Dermot Crowley, Indira Varma,

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The Fighter: Hollywood biopic about two half-brother boxers as they each try to make it to the professional level. You can’t mention The Fighter without focusing on the Award-busting cast: Wahlberg’s humble performance is somewhat overlooked with all the ‘big acting’ around him, but he’s at the very top of his game here; Bale and Leo trump the ‘crazy good’ pile with larger than life characters; and if you need a respectable actress that gets down to her knickers there can only be… Amy Adams, duh! It’s technically sweet, the sound is great for a boxing movie and the TV effects on the 1990s fights make it more believable and documentary-esque. What gets you most is the story, and the fact that it’s real; there’s more drama outside the ring and with a cast of explosive, rounded, characters like this my only complaint is that, if anything, there are too many of them – biggest family ever! Because of the territory, there’s definitely an element of running through the sports movie checklist, (“right, that box is ticked, next!”) after every fight, argument or pivotal scene. Although it tugs at the heart-strings with shameless precision through the family story, and despite being over-dramatic at times, The Fighter totally did it for me. Cracking sport’s / boxing film.

Score: 8/10

What’s your favourite seat at the cinema, and why?

Anybody that goes to the cinema regularly will undoubtedly become a creature of habit. Whether it’s getting there just in time to miss the repetitive adverts or film-spoiling trailers, buying / bringing your favourite snack (must be a silent one), hogging your ideal parking place, hitting on unsuspecting student staff, sitting in your favourite block, row; or more specifically – that perfect seat. Even the finest critic in the country has his favourite seat, which reassures me somewhat. Here’s where my one is and why I love it.

Position: smack-bang in the middle of the back row, of the flat front section, and here’s why…

  • The high seat back blocks out most sounds from the tiered section behind, where everyone else is sitting. There’s also an aisle-length gap between you and the nearest person behind. Bliss.
  • There’s never anyone in front of you – unless the screen is unusually busy. This eliminates fidget, hat, afro, giant and mobile phone based distractions in view.
  • The screen looks enormous, like it should! What’s the point in sitting in the back row (unless you’re with a hussy!) where the screen takes up the same percentage in your field of vision as your TV would at home?!?! This is the cinema, it’s supposed to be massive!
  • You’re right next to the chest-thumping bass speakers underneath the screen, and the Dolby/THX sound design is optimized, coming from the front, sides and behind your seat. Meanwhile the hussy in the back row is only getting stereo sound.
  • As all other seats in this block are generally empty, essential toilet breaking is swift and effective, and you avoid the embarrassment of accidental lapdancing.
  • You don’t notice when the anti-piracy staff come in and do their rounds with the night-vision goggles – this always distracts and angers me more than it should – install a camera on the roof!
  • When the film ends, you’re right next to the doors and don’t have to wait for the token slow-mos to begin their epic descent from row J – swiftest exit in the screen.
  • Every wrinkle, hair, eyelash, scar, mole, shadow, surface, texture, button, background, minute detail is there… cinema screen resolution this close is absolutely unbeatable.

The only time this location doesn’t work is for 3D (it’s best to be in the middle of the screen’s height) and the only possible downside with my favourite seat is that people with bad necks or eyes may struggle to last the duration.

Feels like I’ve just given away a trade secret… which leaves me wondering, does anyone else have a preference when it comes to seating in the cinema, or is it just me being a total weirdo?! Feel free to comment, or ping back your own post.

/Paul

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Weather Wars (AKA Storm War): when his R&D funding is cut by the government a mad scientist teaches them a lesson by unleashing biblical weather on D.C. No ifs, buts or maybes, this is 100% a TV movie; it even fades to black every 10-15 minutes. Story wise, the premise is interesting, and there’s some heavy science to explain and back it up too; this is complemented with some Interesting family dynamics. There’s not much going on in the acting department; Stacy Keach goes mad and everyone else is competent at best. The SFX are pretty standard, but there’s not nearly enough weather, warring or destruction for a film called Weather Wars (with a dvd cover depicting flood/fire/lightening mayhem.) The story chugs along mechanically but falls flat with a messy ending that’s impossible to follow. I love a bit of cheesy b-movie, but even by the SyFy channel’s standards this is poor. For die-hard SyFy / TV Movie fans only.

Score: 1.5/10

 

Tree of life:  I’m never normally bothered by how arty or pretentious a film gets – if anything, it usually makes a film at least a little interesting… Despite this my cinema buddy and I endured around 30 minutes in to this before we realised that there was nothing on the screen that could hold down the film and tie together all of the random imagery that we were seeing. Entire segments featuring dinosaurs, stellar galaxies, wildlife, nature, scenery… for what purpose? Could someone please explain this to me? The Tree of Life takes the idea of a ‘narrative’ and clubs it in the face until all that’s left is a few recurring characters at 20 minute intervals. Non-linear storytelling can also be awesome, but if you could find the story in this, you’re a better man than I.

Despite being hooked in by Pitt and Penn, we realised there was around another 1 hour 50 minutes (total runtime of 140 minutes) – this was definitely a case of Tree of Life 1, Paragraph Film Reviews 0.

Alternative plans – 2 bonus hours of Call of Duty: Black ops.