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Tom H’s Film Reviews

867 Films have been rated or reviewed by Tom H.

Devil and Daniel Johnston, TheDevil and Daniel Johnston, The (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Fascinating journey through the rise and fall (and rise?) of one of the most intriguing and original music (and visual) artists since Bob Dylan. A must see for those who enjoy the likes of Searching for Sugarman.
DVD $20 $15
Movie 43Movie 43 (2013)
1 star (Turkey) Despite a few very cheap laughs, a terrible, terrible film. Do believe the critics when they say that this is the most purile film of the decade.
DVD $39.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95 $14.95
Iron Man 3Iron Man 3 (2013)
2 stars (Good Try) The third and least enjoyable of the Iron Man reboot – especially disappointing given Shane Black and Robert Downey\'s track record together.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95, $24.95
Conjuring, TheConjuring, The (2013)
3 stars (Good Enough) Incredibly unnerving, if a little too generic at times. Plenty of psychologically creepy moments, as well as intense jump–scares.
DVD $15, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95
Woman in Black, TheWoman in Black, The (2012)Aro Favourite
2 stars (Good Try) Interesting premise but soon delves into the run of the mill ghost horror plot.
DVD $34.95 $19.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95 $24.95
This is the EndThis is the End (2013)
3 stars (Good Enough) Ridiculously crass, but also somewhat self–aware, This is the End had me in stitches at times, and wondering what they were actually looking to achieve at others.
Man of SteelMan of Steel (2013)
2 stars (Good Try) Disappointing actioner with ridiculous amounts of destruction that ends up feeling more boring than exciting. So much missed potential for a good \'origins\' tale, wasted.
DVD $15 $11.25, $14.95
World War ZWorld War Z (2013)
3 stars (Good Enough) Decent zombie/apocalypse film that will keep you engaged for the entire ride. Don\'t go in Max Brooks though – this is only loosely based on the book.
DVD $15, $34.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95, $44.95
Place Beyond the Pines, ThePlace Beyond the Pines, The (2012)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of my favourite films of 2012, The Place Beyond the Pines is brutally gripping and emotional, with one of the best opening sequences in memory, outstanding performances, and a memorable story.
Miami Vice (TV Series)Miami Vice (TV Series) (1984)
3 stars (Good Enough) A classic 1980s series, but one that has ages more quickly than I\'d expected it to. One for the notalgics.
DVD $30 $22.50, $30 $22.50
Mega Shark vs. Giant OctopusMega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009)
1 star (Turkey) Terrible, very little to be said – even for someone who enjoys a classic B–grade laugh from time to time.
SharknadoSharknado (2013)
2 stars (Good Try) You know exactly what you're getting into with Sharknado: it's dumb, it's lower than B–grade, it's boring at times – but stick around for the closing 30 mins and you'll have a few good laughs.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Great Gatsby, TheGreat Gatsby, The (2013)
4 stars (Very Good) Surprisingly enjoyable – went in expecting the standard Luhrman affair and came out feeling much more than I usually do. Sharp. Punchy. Style over substance, but done well.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Episodes (TV Series)Episodes (TV Series) (2011)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) LeBlanc is excellent as a sleazy but likeable star to the somewhat meta concept of a poor American remake of a hit American TV series. Provides plenty of drama and laughter.
Toy Story 3Toy Story 3 (2010)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Not quite as good as the original, but comes close! A wonderful return to form.
DVD $15 | Blu-Ray $49.95 $24.95, $29.95
Despicable MeDespicable Me (2010)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Fun, kid and adult friendly comedy with excellent animation (as expected) and a good cast, but the minions steal the show.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95, $49.95, $54.95
Les MiserablesLes Miserables (2012)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Hugh and co have done the classic Les Miserables proud – not least of all by delivering emotional performances along with entertaining songs. Jackman is good, but Hathaway is the real surprise here: simply stunning.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95, $54.95
Mad Men - Season 5 (TV Series)Mad Men - Season 5 (TV Series) (2012)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) More excellent mad men– if anything, the series picks up pace and intensity, and becomes more interesting as the 70s draw closer. Must–see television.
DVD $20 $15
Mad Men - Season 4 (TV Series)Mad Men - Season 4 (TV Series) (2010)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) More excellent mad men– if anything, the series picks up pace and intensity, and becomes more interesting as the 70s draw closer. Must–see television.
DVD $20 $15
Mad Men - Season 3 (TV Series)Mad Men - Season 3 (TV Series) (2009)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) More excellent mad men– if anything, the series picks up pace and intensity. Must–see television.
Mad Men - Season 2 (TV Series) Mad Men - Season 2 (TV Series) (2008)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Mad men continues to bring quality TV drama in one of my favourite American periods. It\'s excellent in all aspects.
DVD $20 $15
Homeland - Season 2 (TV Series)Homeland - Season 2 (TV Series) (2012)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of my favourite series in recent memory, Homeland is gripping A–grade TV drama with stunning performances and a solid script. The second season is almost as good as the first.
DVD $30 $22.50, $54.95 | Blu-Ray $59.95
Homeland - Season 1 (TV Series)Homeland - Season 1 (TV Series) (2011)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of my favourite series in recent memory, Homeland is gripping A–grade TV drama with stunning performances and a solid script. The second season is almost as good as the first.
DVD $15 $11.25, $54.95 | Blu-Ray $59.95
A History of ViolenceA History of Violence (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of Cronenberg\'s best (in part due to a sensible plot), and Viggo is spectacular, delivering one of his career bests (alongside eastern promises). Once drawn in you\'ll want to see this one through.
Gone in 60 SecondsGone in 60 Seconds (2000)
3 stars (Good Enough) A fun Bruckheimer flick from his hey day, with plenty of stars, plenty of cars, laughs, and enjoyment. Don\'t hesitate to pick it up if you haven\'t yet seen it.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Fast and Furious 5Fast and Furious 5 (Fast Five) (2011)
3 stars (Good Enough) Definitely an improvement over the past few films, but fast 5 doesn\'t quite capture the racing culture of the first and doesn\'t quite amount to a very good action flick either.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
LockoutLockout (2012)
3 stars (Good Enough) An almost great B grader for those interested in the genre, but strays a little too far into cliché. Guy Pearce is the standout, being both a bad ass and a comedian.
Judge DreddJudge Dredd (1995)
2 stars (Good Try) Disappointing rendition of what could have been a great setup. Skip this and opt for the more recent and far superior Dredd with Karl Urban.
DreddDredd (2012)
4 stars (Very Good) Karl Urban is perfect as Judge Dredd. The film may not be deep, but it\'s incredibly stylish and one of 2012s most enjoyable blockbusters. Well worth watching.
BullyBully (2011)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) The central character is worth following, and there are some tear–jerking moments, but some of the other kids fail to have the same effect. Not as shocking or compelling as the box promises.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95 $19.95
Graduate, TheGraduate, The (1967)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) An all–time classic that seems to have fallen off everyone\'s radar as a shining example of a comedy–drama done right.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Devil Wears Prada, TheDevil Wears Prada, The (2006)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A fun little romp through the fashion world – I have to say that I was expecting this one to be painful but was pleasantly surprised.
DVD $20 $15
BridesmaidsBridesmaids (2011)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) The most enjoyable comedy since the Hangover, this one had me in stitches at parts. Good fun for guys and girls alike.
DVD $34.95
Get Him to the GreekGet Him to the Greek (2010)
3 stars (Good Enough) Funnier than expected spin–off following one of the better characters from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Could have done without P–Diddy (or whatever he calls himself these days), but Jonah and Brand are good.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A good adaptation, and very Le Carre. If you enjoyed the book, you\'re likely to be into this. For me, it was a little plodding at times, even if remaining interesting.
Rum Diary, TheRum Diary, The (2011)
2 stars (Good Try) Another Hunter S Thompson book that hasn\'t been done justice. It\'s a pity since Depp captures Thompson\'s spirit and style, but this take on my favourite Thomson novel simply doesn\'t work.
DVD $15, $29.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Moonrise KingdomMoonrise Kingdom (2012)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of my favourite comedies of 2012, and my favourite of all Wes Anderson films to date. I loved the style of the entire picture, and the performances from various familiar faces in unfamiliar roles kept me grinning throughout.
DVD $30 $25
Life of PiLife of Pi (2012)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A wonderful tale that delivers on all fronts, Life of Pie is equally touching and mesmerizing, a truly imaginative world to be drawn into. Along with Avatar, this is one of the few pictures worth seeing in 3D.
DVD $20 $15, $34.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Hobbit, The - An Unexpected JourneyHobbit, The - An Unexpected Journey (2012)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) A very disappointing rendition of one of my childhood favourite novels. Sorry Peter, but this one missed the mark for me. The lighter tone, the changes to story, the loose editing, the high–framerate, none of it was for the better.
DVD $39.95 $14.95, $34.95 | Blu-Ray $25 $18.75, $54.95
Battle: Los AngelesBattle: Los Angeles (2011)
2 stars (Good Try) Don\'t come for the acting. Don\'t come for the story. If you come at all, come for the visuals, the destruction, the action, and the outstanding sound effects.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
Gangster SquadGangster Squad (2013)
5 stars (Exceptional) A brilliant start to 2013. It\'s not quite Goodfellas, but Gangster Squad packs a punch on every level: visuals, 40s set piece, acting props (Penn and Brolin in particular), action. Highly recommended.
DVD $29.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95 $19.95
Good, the Bad, the Weird, TheGood, the Bad, the Weird, The (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) Better than Miike\'s attempt with Sukiyaki Western Django, Kim shows off his visual style, but fails to mix it with anything of real substance.
Django UnchainedDjango Unchained (2012)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) One of my top 5 films from 2012, Tarantino shows why he is the master of what he does. This is its own genre. It\'s classic and modern. It\'s serious and touching, moving, tongue–in–cheek, hilariously funny, and fantasy all rolled into one outstanding
DVD $29.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Silver Linings PlaybookSilver Linings Playbook (2012)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A good and a touching tale, and well–acted – but not quite brilliant, and not quite deserving of its Oscar nods. Anticipation and hype did not work this one in its favour for me.
DVD $39.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95 $19.95
Cirque Du Soleil - Worlds AwayCirque Du Soleil - Worlds Away (2012)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Good–enough to warrant a first cinema screening – particularly for those who have not had the pleasure of experiencing Cirque De Solei in person.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $54.95
MunichMunich (2005)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A film that could have been brilliant with a closer (and shorter) job in the editing room, Munich packs a real punch but loses itself at several key junctions. Eric Bana is outstanding again.
DVD $15 $11.25
Zero Dark ThirtyZero Dark Thirty (2012)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) An incredibly intense film – not just because it is wonderfully realistic and gritty picture, but because it represents a sharp snapshot of a particular zeitgeist in our recent past. Highly recommended.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Behind the Mask - The Rise of Leslie VernonBehind the Mask - The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
4 stars (Very Good) I thoroughly enjoyed Leslie Vernon as a whole – Englund was excellent, the idea was novel, the deconstruction of the genre was refresing, & overall it works. Individual elements could have been better, but I\'d rather leave my overall impression positi
Cabin in the Woods, TheCabin in the Woods, The (2011)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A novel take on horror – trust Whedon to amp the genre up a notch! Pity about the lackluster ending, but all else considered, a recommended, strangely self–aware, sci–fi horror in the vein of Cube.
DVD $20 $15
TedTed (2012)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not nearly as funny as I hoped from MacFarlane and Wahlberg, but still has its moments. This is one teddy bear you don\'t want your kids to see.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95, $49.95
Magic MikeMagic Mike (2012)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not nearly as controversial as suggested by the media, not nearly as deep in content as suggested by the director, Magic Mike is hard to recommend for most, but it\'s not all that bad either.
DVD $15 $7.50, $39.95 $19.95, $44.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95 $19.95
Nitro Circus: The MovieNitro Circus: The Movie (2012)
3 stars (Good Enough) A fun romp through several dangerous stunts with the Nitro guys and gals. Doesn\'t fare as well in 2D on the home TV screen, but recommended for Nitro and Jackass fans.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
LooperLooper (2012)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of my favourite films of 2012, Looper is exciting and thought provoking – if flawed for time–travel experts, although warranting a second viewing for those who aren\'t too fussy with their time–continuum.
DVD $20 $15
Ruby SparksRuby Sparks (2012)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) An exjoyable film that appealed to me on several levels, but lost its way in the second half (and I won\'t do more than to mention its cliche ending). Quirky and funny, with good performances.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
Game of Thrones - Season 1 (TV Series)Game of Thrones - Season 1 (TV Series) (2011)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) An excellent season, one of the best out there at the moment and hopefully one that will keep coming up with the goods over time. And gratuitous, yes.
DVD $30 $20, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95 $25, $120 $90
Game of Thrones - Season 2 (TV Series)Game of Thrones - Season 2 (TV Series) (2012)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) The first series was excellent, although the second seemed to lose its way a little. Here\'s hoping the third gets us back on track!
DVD $30 $22.50, $59.95 $39.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95 $25
CyrusCyrus (2010)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Other than a disappointing ending, Cyrus is funny and touching in equal measure. There may be few laugh–out–loud moments, but Cyrus is an indie comedy that is well worth renting.
DVD $29.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
HannaHanna (2011)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Hanna is Run Lola Run with more violence, more compelling characters, and yet a less lovable end result. Excellent soundtrack and breathless pace.
DVD $15 $11.25
Men in Black 3Men in Black 3 (2012)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) MIB3 is very entertaining, and surprisingly more intelligent than I had expected. An excellent follow–up to the original MIB (let\'s just forget that the second was ever made shall we). Look out for Jermaine\'s surprise performance!
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95, $54.95
Five-Year Engagement, TheFive-Year Engagement, The (2012)
3 stars (Good Enough) A funny, albeit ultimately predictable, rom–com with the classic Apatow humour. Not as good as Bridesmaids, but a good title that will entertain a fairly wide audience – girls and guys included.
Dark ShadowsDark Shadows (2012)
1 star (Turkey) Dark Shadows gets my raspberry award for 2012, being the worst film on all levels that I have seen for a long time. I could not recommend this to anyone.
DVD $10 $5, $39.95 $19.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95 $19.95
Shihad: Beautiful MachineShihad: Beautiful Machine (2012)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A great doco that runs a little too long and comes across as a little too sympathetic to lead–man Toogood, but otherwise provides plenty of reasons to watch. Recommended for fans and newcomers alike.
DVD $24.95 $14.95
PrometheusPrometheus (2012)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) Prometheus never seems to know what it wants to be. At times, space adventure story, at times sci–fi horror, the film starts out well (very well in fact), but takes a tumble part–way and never recovers. A poor addition to the Alien series.
DVD $15 $11.25, $15 $11.25, $39.95
Attack the BlockAttack the Block (2011)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) The first 5 mins is decidedly poor. But I beg you to give Attack the Block a chance past the opening credits! This is an excellent sci–fi comedy that is sure to generate cult status in the coming years.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Arrested Development (TV Series)Arrested Development (TV Series) (2003-2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A great TV series that will hit a certain kind of funny bone in most people. The cast is pitch perfect, and the humour, while often silly, mostly strays from being too over–the–top.
DVD $15 $11.25, $49.95, $49.95, $49.95
Underbelly - Season 6 (TV Mini-series)Underbelly - Season 6 (TV Mini-series) (Badness) (2012)
3 stars (Good Enough) \"Badness\" is a step up from Mr Asia, but still fails to reach the heights of the initial entry in the series. The characters are intriguing but there simply isn\'t enough going on at any given time.
Innkeepers, TheInnkeepers, The (2011)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of the scariest films in a long time, although it\'s hard to explain why. In many ways, this is an old–school horror, with elements of Hitchcock and Kubrick, and a level of suspense otherwise absent in modern horror films.
DVD $34.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Batman: The Dark Knight RisesBatman: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) THE blockbuster to watch of 2012, TDKR is powerful and gripping throughout, and a worthy completion to Nolans\' trilogy, despite a few glaring glaws, and despite being my least favourite of all three.
DVD $14.95
Remember the TitansRemember the Titans (2000)
4 stars (Very Good) Excellent story, even if cliched in parts with questionable performances, but still a highly enjoyable and warming tale.
DVD $25
Blind Side, TheBlind Side, The (2009)
4 stars (Very Good) A heartfelt story carried almost entirely by the leads, including Sandra Bullock, that builds nicely and coaxes a few tears despite ultimately being predictable. Very enjoyable.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Help, TheHelp, The (2011)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A nice tale for all the family, not a patch on the novel, but heartfelt and well–intentioned nonetheless.
DVD $14.95
Avengers, TheAvengers, The (Marvel's Avengers) (2012)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of this year\'s massive blockbusters doesn\'t disappoint in terms of CGI and spectacle, but with so many Marvel characters drawn together at once I have to say that I still find each of the origin stories more compelling.
DVD $15 $7.50, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95
Hunger Games, TheHunger Games, The (2012)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) A decent, albeit fairly shallow, tale that could have been so much more but for its teenage target audience. More mature audiences may prefer to look to Battle Royale.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95 $15
Community (TV Series)Community (TV Series) (2009)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) The freshest, funniest TV series of recent years, this is essential viewing for fans of almost anything. Abed is the key, but each member of the unlikely study group contributes in their own way.
DVD $25 $18.75, $25 $18.75, $25 $18.75
21 Jump Street21 Jump Street (2012)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the funniest films of the past half decade, 21 Jump Street is a hilarious combination of an unlikely buddy–cop combo and self–aware buddy–cop cliche. I dare you not to laugh at the \'drug taking\' scene.
DVD $10 $5, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
Raid, TheRaid, The (The Raid: Redemption) (2011)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A hard–hitting, gritty, at times stomach–churning actioner that is among the best of the last decade. A must–see for action and kung fu fans!
DVD $29.95
Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the UnicornAdventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (2011)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) An avid fan of the books, I found this one little disappointing. The opening scene is fantastic, setting the bar extremely high, but the plot and dialogue are too literal, and by the end I was no longer enthralled.
DVD $20 $15, $34.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
Billy Connolly's Route 66Billy Connolly's Route 66 (2011)
4 stars (Very Good) Billy has matured with age, and the doco/series is all the better for it. He\'s not crass or rude; he\'s just downright funny. Great ride across the country – wish he had made even more stops along the way!
DVD $29.95
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, TheGirl with the Dragon Tattoo, The (2011)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Fincher is excellent with dark material, and the story is well told, well acted, and very gripping throughout. A little longer than necessary, but still highly recommended.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Descendants, TheDescendants, The (2011)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A good character–driven piece with Clooney showing his range. Not the kind of story that takes us very far, but it's certainly emotional, funny and well–acted.
DVD $15 $11.25
An Idiot Abroad (TV Series)An Idiot Abroad (TV Series) (2010)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) I find it hard to believe that Karl Pilkington is real, that he's not pulling a Sacha Baron Cohen on us. But the fact that he keeps it up, and truly doesn't seem to be enjoying what he's put through, mostly kept me laughing.
DVD $15 $7.50, $39.95 $14.95, $29.95 $14.95, $29.95 $14.95
Eddie Izzard - GloriousEddie Izzard - Glorious (1997)
5 stars (Exceptional) Probably the best Izzard you can find – and in saying that, the best live stand up show you can find.
DVD $34.95
Eddie Izzard - Dress to KillEddie Izzard - Dress to Kill (1998)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Hilarious, one of a kind comedian Izzard. One of my favourite stand–up DVDs and a must–see for those who like his quirky, wildly imaginative performances.
DVD $10 $5, $34.95
Walking Dead, The (TV Series)Walking Dead, The (TV Series) (2010)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) One of my favourite series in a long time, this is as gritty and realistic as zombie films get (the production values of this series are on par with a feature film). Pity season 2 hasn\'t kept up the high standards of the first.
DVD $29.95, $40 $30, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95 $20
DriveDrive (2011)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) An excellent example of \"style over substance\" done right. The characters, the suspense, the intense moments of action, the music – it\'s all spot on.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $25 $18.75
Source CodeSource Code (2011)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Duncan Jones (AKA Zowie Bowie) again proves that he has an eye for sci–fi – not as chilling as Moon, but a great film that surpassed expectations of just another Hollywood blockbuster.
DVD $10 $7.50, $14.95
Underbelly - Season 4 (TV Mini-series) Underbelly - Season 4 (TV Mini-series) (Land of the Long Green Cloud) (2011)
2 stars (Good Try) By far the most disappointing entry in the series, with poor acting, over–the–top characters, and lacking the gritty realism of the Australian counterparts.
Underbelly - Season 5 (TV Mini-series) Underbelly - Season 5 (TV Mini-series) (Razor) (2011)
4 stars (Very Good) Another excellent Underbelly season, right up there with the first season. Starts to drag a little by the end, but compelling characters and \'20s grit keep it interesting and mostly exciting.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, TheTexas Chainsaw Massacre, The (2003)
2 stars (Good Try) Not too bad remake at all, with some decent fright moments – but the chilling line left ringing in my ears at the end sums up these remakes: "you're going the wrong way..."
P.S. I Love YouP.S. I Love You (2007)
4 stars (Very Good) One of the best rom–coms around, and touching too – very pleasantly surprised!
DVD $14.95
UnknownUnknown (2011)
3 stars (Good Enough) Stylish, although a little too generic in the way it leads its audience through double–twists by giving away only precisely as much as it wants to at each turn. Enjoyable enough, but no Bourne Identity.
DVD $39.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95 $19.95
History Boys, TheHistory Boys, The (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) Entertaining, thought–provoking, coming–of–age tale sharing a number of successful elements with dead poet\'s society, if a less memorable teacher–figure.
DVD $25
Black SwanBlack Swan (2010)
4 stars (Very Good) Expectation is a funny thing. Being dragged along to this one I was expecting little and was very pleasantly surprised and taken aback by the dark tone, Portman\'s performance, and the high production values.
True GritTrue Grit (2010)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A good modern western, staying true to many old–school western elements. An inconsistent (and at times frustratingly slow) pace may be offputting for some, but the wit and building tension kept me engaged.
DVD $20 $15
UnstoppableUnstoppable (2010)
4 stars (Very Good) Fairly typical Tony Scott adrenaline–filled romp that is far more entertaining and engaging than it has any right to be. Simple and yet effective.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Aaah Zombies!Aaah Zombies! (Wasting Away) (2007)
2 stars (Good Try) A strong beginning may be what lets the film down in the end. A fresh premise and some likeable characters, but very B–grade presentation and a story that becomes more generic and less funny as it progresses.
DVD $34.95
Passion of the Christ, ThePassion of the Christ, The (2004)
4 stars (Very Good) A very powerful film with some of the most brutal (and they say accurate) scenes of torture and crucification. I\'m sure Mel has taken some liberties, but this is the film to see about Jesus\'s final hours.
MacheteMachete (2010)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) While not quite as epic as I\'d hoped, this does have moments of B–movie greatness. I just wish there had been more. In my opinion, Planet Terror had more of that OTT B–grade flavour.
DVD $12 $6, $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) An interesting and funny romp through the middle East with Spurlock – as usual, threatening to overdo things, but usually reeling it back in long enough to remind us he\'s serious about his mission.
DVD $14.95
Corporation, TheCorporation, The (2003)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A brilliant, although slow–to–start and long–winded documentary that is well worth the ride, even if it lacks direction at times. Will make you see corporations differently, that\'s for sure.
DVD $20 $15
Gruen Transfer, The (TV Series)Gruen Transfer, The (TV Series) (2008)
4 stars (Very Good) One of my favourite TV series of recent years, the Gruen Transfer provides plenty of laughs as well as a thought–provoking commentary of the advertising industry. Well worth watching!
DVD $29.95
BrothersBrothers (2009)
4 stars (Very Good) A surprisingly great drama about the traumas of war and its impact on family and everyday life. Gyllenhaal and Maguire and excellent.
Secret WindowSecret Window (2004)
3 stars (Good Enough) Based on another Stephen King \"writer\'s block\" story, this one sees author (Depp) struggling to write his book under intense pressure from a mysterious and dangerous man accusing him of stealing the story he\'s still writing.
Shutter IslandShutter Island (2010)
3 stars (Good Enough) A well–crafted suspense/thriller with plenty of dark imagery and tense moments; however, I have to say I found the musical score a little overdone and the ending entirely predictable.
DVD $10 $5, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
Jackass 3Jackass 3 (2010)
3 stars (Good Enough) Yikes. The guys may be getting older, but by no means more mature. The laugh–out–loud moments and cringe–worthy stunts are mixed in with the usual jackass stomache–turning vulgarity and childishness.
DVD $39.95, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95, $44.95
Gone Baby GoneGone Baby Gone (2007)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Ben Affleck's directorial outing is by no means groundbreaking or a must–see, but there are some moving scenes, interesting characters, and a gripping premise.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95 $14.95
Town, TheTown, The (2010)
4 stars (Very Good) A good crime actioner with solid heist elements that really make the film, and a decent–enough drama background.
DVD $15 $11.25
Social Network, TheSocial Network, The (2010)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) My favourite film of 2010, every minute of the social network is packed full of fun, drama, wit, intrigue, or 21st century pop–culture. If you're alive this decade, this is a film you can't afford to miss.
DVD $15 $11.25, $25 $18.75
Crazies, TheCrazies, The (2010)
4 stars (Very Good) An intriguing and intense film originally from the mind of Romeo but given a 21st century makeover and a script that focuses on survivors rather than military. Some predictable moments, but predominantly gripping.
Scott Pilgrim Vs The WorldScott Pilgrim Vs The World (2010)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of the freakin' coolest films an 8–bit–era videogame geek could ever wish to see. Comic–book awesomeness; Cera and Winstead are perfect as Pilgrim and Flowers.
DVD $39.95
Mr. and Mrs. SmithMr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) without Pitt and Jolie, this most likely would have amounted to nothing. There are one–liners, action, and comedy, but it is ultimately the charisma and chemistry of the stars that makes this somewhat entertaining.
DVD $19.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
SaltSalt (2010)
3 stars (Good Enough) Very Bourne in many ways, and yet not as deep or as fulfilling in content, action, or resolution. Still some fun to be had, and some enjoyable scenes (the Russian dock scene in particular is memorable).
DVD $15 $7.50, $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Fantastic Mr. FoxFantastic Mr. Fox (2009)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A very enjoyable animated film, with a unique style and great sense of humour! The voice acting is great, the plot is fun and true to the books, and overall this is highly recommended for both adults and kids.
DVD $20 $15
ProvokedProvoked (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) A solid legal drama, if a little on the TV–quality side, but with a decent amount of drama both in and out of the courtroom, and closely based on a true story.
DVD $24.95
RoadkillRoadkill (Joy Ride) (2001)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) Perhaps more commonly known as Joy Ride, this takes the roadie premise and scary trucker nemesis we've seen before, making for a suspenseful, if fairly standard outing.
DVD $19.95 $14.95
ValentineValentine (2001)
1 star (Turkey) Fairly terrible teen horror flick with a serial killer on Valentines day in a cupid mask doing torturous things to naively unsuspecting teenage actors. Cheer him on.
IdentityIdentity (2003)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A film that will keep you guessing and then purposefully pull the rug from under your feet as you think you've found them. Enjoyable enough, but repeat viewings will not be required.
ScreamScream (1996)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Wes Craven was the perfect man for this job: a horror master in his own right, bringing horror to a whole new generation of audiences in a uniquely funny and enjoyable way.
ItIt (Stephen King's It) (1990)
2 stars (Good Try) A horror–comedy that will have you laughing as an adult where you were entirely freaked out as a child. I just can't work out whether IT is the reason clowns are scary, or whether IT was made because clowns are scary.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Pet SemataryPet Sematary (1989)
3 stars (Good Enough) Scary–enough film based on the excellent King novel, this has the same 'horror' feel as most of the late 80s horror flicks, despite a few memorable scenes.
GothikaGothika (2004)
2 stars (Good Try) It may be visually stylish and begins as psychologically interesting, but sadly the culmination of tension fails to have a fulfilling resolution or evade now–standard 'horror' elements.
Exorcism of Emily Rose, TheExorcism of Emily Rose, The (2005)
4 stars (Very Good) Deeply disturbing tale from both horror and human perspectives, this is some chilling real–life subject matter that will have you looking at exorcisms in a new light. In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.
Blu-Ray $19.95
Saw 3Saw 3 (2006)
1 star (Turkey) Not as good as either of the previous Saws, and possibly the lowest point in the series. Creativity and plot twists are put aside in favour of the now somewhat standard torture scenes. Post Hostel audiences are simply more used to this stuff.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Saw 2Saw 2 (2005)
2 stars (Good Try) SAW II takes most of what was effective and 'good' about SAW, but fails to add much more than a few more sadistic scenes and cringy moments.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
AtonementAtonement (2007)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A wonderful WWII drama with a touching story and performances, and a solid presentation all round. Well worth watching from a war and drama perspective, and a great novel adaptation.
DVD $15 $11.25, $19.95
Gone with the WindGone with the Wind (1939)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) An all time classic of epic length, with so many memorable scenes and characters that still manages to appeal to a modern–day audience.
DVD $20 $15
UtuUtu (1983)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) As important historically as Utu may be, the film itself is low on production values and really shows in its limitations. Has not aged well at all, and will probably be relegated to the most avid of New Zealand collections.
UnforgivenUnforgiven (1992)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the few modern Westerns that would make a 'classics' collection, this is a brilliant acting and directing outing from Eastwood, supported by a great cast and engaging story.
Shaolin SoccerShaolin Soccer (2001)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Not quite as good as the next Chow flick (Kung Fu Hustle), this is still an enjoyable martial arts/football comedy with wildly imaginative scenes and cartoonish set pieces.
Magnificent Seven, TheMagnificent Seven, The (1960)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) An amazing film, this Western take on the Seven Samurai is both gripping and visually exciting – a great character piece that should be at the top of any 'Western classics' list.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Good, the Bad and the Ugly, TheGood, the Bad and the Ugly, The (1967)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A brilliant Western (one of the best), and the culmination of Leone's "Man with no name" trilogy, this is essential viewing for Western and Eastwood fans and has provided continued inspiration decades on (Tarantino to name one example).
Catch a FireCatch a Fire (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) Serious South African Apartheid film, with willful performances, but focusing too much on the obvious and literal conflict and never quite feeling 'genuine'. (This is admittedly a hard zeitgeist to capture on film.)
Alfred Hitchcock - The Masterpiece CollectionAlfred Hitchcock - The Masterpiece Collection (1942-1976)
5 stars (Exceptional) A beautiful box set with a number of the classic Hitchcock films that simply must be seen: especially the first 4 listed.
Sleepy HollowSleepy Hollow (1999)
3 stars (Good Enough) A fairly gripping horror/fantasy tale of the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow, and the detective hired to find him (played by mysterious Johnny Depp) and filmed by ever–gothic director Burton.
School of RockSchool of Rock (2003)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) For some reason I find it very hard to like Jack Black and his awkward overacting, but despite this, the film is enjoyable enough and has a certain 'Jack Black' rock n roll feel.
Bring It OnBring It On (2001)Recommended
1 star (Turkey) Fairly terrible in most aspects, and barely watchable for anyone who isn't a teenage girl – this is predictable and trivial highschool rivalry.
DVD $25 $12.50
Step UpStep Up (2006)
2 stars (Good Try) Fairly standard dance movie with little to add besides some contemporary hip hop moves which have now become the staple for modern dance flicks.
DVD $20 $10
In the Realm of the SensesIn the Realm of the Senses (Ai No Corrida) (1976)
3 stars (Good Enough) A sexually violent and explicit journey of relationships, obsession, love and lust. Party based on a true story, this is shocking and memorable viewing.
Eyes Wide ShutEyes Wide Shut (1999)
4 stars (Very Good) A film that will probably never be fully understood, this Freudian dream world is intriguing and strange, yet at the same time, strangely pedestrian. A very hard film to rate or critique with its many different elements, ups and downs...
Stanley Kubrick CollectionStanley Kubrick Collection (1962-1999)
5 stars (Exceptional) A brilliant collection from a true master of cinema, this is the box set to pick up if you see it around.
Mummy, TheMummy, The (1999)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) The effects are decent, but there is little else to recommend, especially when Brendan Fraser will never be as likeable as Harrison Ford, and the treasure–hunter formula has been done better numerous times before.
DVD $14.95, $34.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Coyote UglyCoyote Ugly (2000)
2 stars (Good Try) With a 'cocktail' meets 'showgirls' premise, and little substance backing up the flashy bar dance sequences, Coyote Ugly manages to remain surprisingly entertaining for a 90s audience thanks to the unbeat pop soundtrack.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
CocktailCocktail (1988)
2 stars (Good Try) A very 80s comedy that provides few laughs and plenty of cringe–worthy moments. Some decent bar–trick scenes, but little else to like unless you're trying to remind yourself of why fashion trends move on...
DVD $15 $11.25
Firm, TheFirm, The (1993)
3 stars (Good Enough) A decent–enough screen version of a classic Grisham novel, with young Cruise playing the naive law graduate in way over his head. Never thoroughly believable, but there's enough here to carry you through.
Runaway JuryRunaway Jury (2003)
3 stars (Good Enough) One of the better film–versions of Grisham's famous law–premised novels, Runaway Jury is a compelling drama and suspense film, with good performances and plenty of intrigue.
DVD $20 $15
About a BoyAbout a Boy (2002)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Hugh Grant steps up the cheeky arrogance lurking in most of his performances, living a self–obsessed lifestyle until a young (slightly annoying) boy turns up looking for his company and mentorship. Funny and mostly likable.
DVD $20 $15
Bridget Jones: The Edge of ReasonBridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)
2 stars (Good Try) The sequel takes things a little too far, placing Bridget in silly situations for little reason. The original cast is here and likeable as ever, but the plot leaves much to be desired.
DVD $39.95, $49.95
Bridget Jones's DiaryBridget Jones's Diary (2001)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Zellweger is great, filling the role in every way with a very British manner and figure – Hugh Grant is his usual cheeky self, and Firth is the awkward British guy. A fun rom com with a few unique elements.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
JunoJuno (2007)
4 stars (Very Good) A wonderful indie flick with convincing yet quirky performances by Page and Cera, this was an instant favourite with public and critics alike. A sweet, touching, and funny tale that should be seen.
DVD $20 $15
Biggie and TupacBiggie and Tupac (2002)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Interesting documentary about the friendship turned hatred of two of the most notorious rappers in history and the violent end to their lives. Suge Knight is another intriguing character, although we never find out what 'really' happened.
DVD $29.95 $15
NotoriousNotorious (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) A disappointing feature centred on the life of one of rap's all–time best artists, this may be a credible journey, but it just doesn't quite work overall – whether it was the editing or the script, there is something amiss.
DVD $24.95 $18.70
Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, TheAssassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The (2007)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Too slow, and too long, Jesse James could have been a great film – but it tries just a little too hard to include too much and be too 'artsy'. Well acted, and technically very good, but not quite a Western classic.
Boston Legal - Season 1 (TV Series)Boston Legal - Season 1 (TV Series) (2004-2005)
4 stars (Very Good) One of my favourite first–season series, Boston Legal provides plenty of laughs and drama, in a quirky but not quite too over–the–top way. Well, until Denny gets his hands on things!
DVD $49.95
ChicagoChicago (2002)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Possibly the best film adaptation of a stage musical, and certainly the best in recent years, Chicago with its cool noir–jazz look, legal premise, catchy and clever songs is a must–see for music and stage fans.
DVD $14.95
Moulin RougeMoulin Rouge (2001)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Outrageous in every sense, and overacted to the point of B–grade cabaret, but still thoroughly entertaining for music fans, and oh–so vibrant and visually unique!
DVD $20 $15
TitanicTitanic (1997)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) An epic love story with massive budget, filmed by Cameron, starring some huge stars and a massive Celine Dion hit: how could it not strike a chord with the masses? Poor acting and predictable love plot let it down for the rest.
DVD $14.95, $20 $15, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95
Spy KidsSpy Kids (2001)
3 stars (Good Enough) I can only guess that Rodriguez was making this for his kids – because it's so not him in almost every way. But nonetheless, there is a lot to like for the kids and family, if it's a little cartoonish most of the time.
DVD $6 $3, $19.95 $14.95
Series 7: The ContendersSeries 7: The Contenders (2000)
1 star (Turkey) Terrible 'reality TV' premised film that tries out the 'Battle Royale' formula and fails miserably.
Dance of the DeadDance of the Dead (2008)
4 stars (Very Good) A much better comedy than I expected it to be, Dance of the Dead comes out firing on all cylinders – it's got the homour, the references to old zombie film, and an actual creep factor. Cliched towards the end, but a good ride.
DVD $29.95
Ring, TheRing, The (2002)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Scary American remake that fails to add much to the Japanese original but retains and recreates most of what is creepy. Not particularly imaginative with the frightening child premise, but it is a remake after all...
DVD $20 $15
What Lies BeneathWhat Lies Beneath (2000)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Zemeckis turns his hand to horror, with some jump–worthy scare scenes and slick suspense film – despite not being particularly original in the modern suspense world.
BeetlejuiceBeetlejuice (1988)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Another brilliantly gothic/dark and humourous outing from Burton, with his unique visual stamp, imaginative characters, and intriguing premise.
DVD $30 $22.50
Finding NeverlandFinding Neverland (2004)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A very sweet and touching tale delving in to the life of the Pan creator and his effects on the people around him. Under–rated family drama.
DVD $15 $11.25
Bad CompanyBad Company (2002)
2 stars (Good Try) Disappointing crime suspense flick that has Rock take on a more serious role with varying degrees of success.
DVD $14.95
HookHook (1991)
3 stars (Good Enough) A great retelling of Peter Pan, with Williams and Hoffman playing the hero and villain to near–cartoon–perfection. The lost boys sequences are the best, and the story is a touching one overall.
DVD $20 $15 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Crocodile Dundee 2Crocodile Dundee 2 (1988)
2 stars (Good Try) Disappointing sequel to a classic Aussie film – all the charm of Hogan is here, but there is little to like about the story.
Crocodile DundeeCrocodile Dundee (1986)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) An Australian classic that pokes fun at Hollywood while still managing to be a commercial success. That's not a knife... THIS is a knife.
ReturnerReturner (2002)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Making as much use as possible of CGI bullet–time sequences, and showing off a slick leather–clad good guy, the Returner is a fairly generic, but entertaining enough, sci fi actioner.
DVD $20 $15
Butterfly Effect, TheButterfly Effect, The (2003)
3 stars (Good Enough) A film that is ridiculed for seemingly little reason: Kutcher is good enough, the plot twists and turns and provides plenty of intrigue, and the effects are unique. A decent sci fi flick no–matter what the critics say.
DVD $20 $15
Punisher, ThePunisher, The (2004)
3 stars (Good Enough) An underrated Marvel film, this is more violent and gritty than the average Marvel superhero flick, but you wouldn't exactly call The Punisher a superhero...
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $14.95
PrimerPrimer (2004)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) An over–rated arthouse film that tries just a little too hard to be too confusing. Great premise and intrigue, but fails to take you anywhere other than in circles.
Island, TheIsland, The (2005)
4 stars (Very Good) Possibly the smartest Bay film around, the Island is a thrilling futuristic story with plenty of things to like about it: from the intrigue, to the irony, to the suspense and action.
DVD $15 $11.25
UltravioletUltraviolet (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) Ultraviolet is nowhere near as great as older brother equilibrium, but it does have a unique visual style and some CGI scenes that push the boundaries of live–action/CGI/anime.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $14.95
Watchmen: The Complete Motion ComicWatchmen: The Complete Motion Comic (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) A decent animated version of the classic comic. The animations aren't great, but that just means that the original look is preserved. Weakest point is easily the voice acting.
DVD $34.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
X-Men Origins: WolverineX-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) For the origins story of one of my favourite Marvel characters, I was expecting far more – Hugh is still here, but it's all just too predictable and unnecessary to care about.
DVD $10 $5, $19.95 $14.95, $19.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Final Fantasy - The Spirits WithinFinal Fantasy - The Spirits Within (2001)
3 stars (Good Enough) Incredible CGI in all respects other than facial animations, Final Fantasy is only a decent sci fi tale, but a landmark graphical achievement.
DVD $15 $11.25
Lara Croft - Tomb RaiderLara Croft - Tomb Raider (2001)
2 stars (Good Try) Silly and over the top, there is little to like about this wanna–be Indiana Jones flick other than some decent effects and Angelina.
DVD $29.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95, $39.95
Prince of Persia: The Sands of TimePrince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
3 stars (Good Enough) Gyllenhaal is the charming rogue of a prince based on the videogame of the same name (but providing far more background and twists than were necessary for the game), with plenty of CGI, and a romantic side–story.
DVD $39.95 $14.95
Box, TheBox, The (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) Simply told, and will definitely give you some chills, but with a premise that fails to keep up for the entirety of the film. This would have been a stunning supernatural tale to a 1970s audience (which is when the film is set).
DVD $19.95 $14.95
Da Ali G Show (TV Series)Da Ali G Show (TV Series) (Ali G, Innit; Ali G, Aiii; Ali G in da USAiii) (2000-2004)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A hilarious TV series that was unlike anything else at the time: fresh (aaii), funny (aaiii), and topical (respect man).
DVD $19.95, $19.95
Dylan Moran - Monster LiveDylan Moran - Monster Live (2004)
5 stars (Exceptional) A brilliant live show, Monster has Moran at his eccentric, gittering, twitching, sarcastic best. Give the man another wine and cigarette.
DVD $19.95, $24.95, $44.95
Ali G In Da HouseAli G In Da House (2002)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Not as good as the TV series, but with a great opening sequence that really sets the stage for the type of comedy you're about to witness: outrageous, over–the–top madness, aaii!
DVD $24.95
Little Britain (TV Series)Little Britain (TV Series) (2003)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) The British TV series that always takes the comedy just a little further than anyone else would have, this has its moments of brilliance, but becomes a little too 'samey' after the first season.
Enemy at the GatesEnemy at the Gates (2001)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A strangely rare film topic, sniping, takes the lead here, pitting two of WWII's best snipers against each other, with war raging between. Suspenseful and entertaining, if a little too Hollywood at times.
JarheadJarhead (2005)
4 stars (Very Good) Another very good war/anti–war drama, taking you on a ride from training to boredom to front–line chaos of Desert Storm. Well worth a watch.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
CriminalCriminal (2004)
3 stars (Good Enough) Unnecessary remake of the great Nine Queens, with some decent twists and turns, but not enough to really keep you invested in the characters.
Three KingsThree Kings (1999)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A fun war adventure film that takes the 'gold hunt' premise of the classic 'Kelly's heroes', adding more realistic grit and a little more dark comedy. Great film with intriguing characters and plot.
DVD $15 $11.25
Cowboy Bebop - The MovieCowboy Bebop - The Movie (2001)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of my favourite anime DVDs, this is a brilliant blend of Japanese/Western/jazz/sci–fi, with an outrageous amount of style.
Blu-Ray $19.95
Chronicles of Riddick, TheChronicles of Riddick, The (2004)
3 stars (Good Enough) Fun and over the top sci fi action follow–up to Pitch Black, this has more CGI and action sequences, but it's really the cool and gruff arrogance of Diesel that makes it.
DVD $20 $15
Pitch BlackPitch Black (2000)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A brilliant sci fi actioner that has Vin Diesel play the role of his career. The visuals are striking, the creatures unique, the suspense and action are both here, and so is a plot of sorts – well worth watching for sci fi fans.
DVD $15 $11.25
xXxxXx (2002)
3 stars (Good Enough) Interesting spy actioner that goes heavy on the action and light on the spy, but with Riddick – I mean Vin Diesel – at the forefront, what more would you expect... A furious and over the top guy film.
DVD $10 $7.50
Babylon A.D.Babylon A.D. (2008)
1 star (Turkey) Terrible futuristic/apocalyptic actioner that seeks to have Diesel playing his Riddick role. Falls flat in almost every aspect.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Fifth Element, TheFifth Element, The (1997)
4 stars (Very Good) A decent and visually very cool 1990s sci fi from Besson, who takes a much more Hollywood approach to his futuristic world this time around (compare Le Dernier), starring Willis and the always half–naked lady Jovovich.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Alien Anthology Box SetAlien Anthology Box Set (Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection) (1979-1999)
5 stars (Exceptional) A great way to get hold of all 4 classic alien films, this box set contains not only the films but a whole bunch of extra stuff that is worth watching.
DVD $50
Alien vs. PredatorAlien vs. Predator (AVP) (2004)
1 star (Turkey) An unnecessary crossover that doesn't work nearly as well as the Alien vs Predator game did. Paul Anderson really has a thing for video games.
DVD $15 $11.25
Alien ResurrectionAlien Resurrection (1997)
3 stars (Good Enough) The series starts to slip, but Weaver is still here, and so are Ryder and Perlman, meaning a decent cast, even if the film is a little overdone (Ripley as a hybrid clone?)!
Alien Autopsy VideoAlien Autopsy Video (1996)
3 stars (Good Enough) Pretty ridiculous TV–feel documentary that looks at 'that classic' alien autopsy that had people in a frenzy in the 1990s. Dated now, but still worth watching for the unintentional comedy factor.
Alien 3Alien 3 (1992)
4 stars (Very Good) Back to the original formula, Fincher proves that he can make another sequel that works. Intense and atmospheric, this is another Alien film for the collection.
AliensAliens (1986)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Cameron effectively changes up the formula from the first aliens by focusing on action rather than suspense. Very effective as a sci fi actioner, but not as great as the first film.
AlienAlien (1979)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the best examples of how to do effective suspense, Alien is a masterpiece of the sci fi and suspense/horror genres, and possibly the best alien film ever made.
Lord of the Rings - The Two TowersLord of the Rings - The Two Towers (2002)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) The climax of battle scenes in the saga, this second part is more action than Hobbitshire, with some epic scenes, some beautiful CGI, and the anticipated appearance of Gollum. You will not be disappointed, precioussss.
DVD $19.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95 $24.95
Lord of the Rings - The Return of the KingLord of the Rings - The Return of the King (2003)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) The dark climax of the saga, this final part LOTR is far more dark than the others, with some epic scenes, and of course the continued presence of Gollum, a favourite character. A little long, but it does finally end.
DVD $19.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95 $24.95
Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the RingLord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) An epic first–part adventure, with beautiful vistas and a stunning imagining of the Tolkien classic. Good and evil are clearly contrasted, pushing the story along even if you're not paying attention or invested in the tale.
DVD $19.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95 $24.95
Shanghai KnightsShanghai Knights (2003)
3 stars (Good Enough) Shanghai Noon 2 is not quite as funny as the first, and a little more silly, but the team still works well, and you will still find some easy laughs.
Rush HourRush Hour (1998)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Chan pairs up with Tucker in the usual unlikely buddy–cop scenario, with Chan kicking all the butt and Tucker doing all the talking. Very likeable, if overdone by the end.
DVD $19.95
Shanghai NoonShanghai Noon (2000)
3 stars (Good Enough) An irresistibly fun Western comedy with unwitting pair Chan and Wilson rescuing a princess amidst other misadventures. Owen Wilson at his charming best.
DVD $14.95
WillowWillow (1988)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) An epic fantasy adventure (think The Princess Bride) that pits together humans, dwarves, elves, evil queens, and hideous monsters in a magical world. A childhood favourite.
DVD $15 $11.25, $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
PsychoPsycho (1998)
3 stars (Good Enough) A good–enough and faithful remake of the original suspense classic, but ultimately unnecessary. There are few surprises for those who have seen the first, and those who haven't should prefer the Hitchcock version.
DVD $14.95
PsychoPsycho (1960)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Perkins is brilliant, and the Norman Bates character is still intensely creepy. Hitchcock proves himself a master of more than one genre and cements certain horror elements for all time (think groundbreaking shower scene).
DVD $20 $15 | Blu-Ray $20
Back to the Future 3Back to the Future 3 (1990)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not quite as great as the first two films, in part due to a strange feeling of inconsistency between the futuristic and Western elements. Still provides some good laughs, and a fun ride overall.
DVD $59.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Back to the Future 2Back to the Future 2 (1989)
4 stars (Very Good) Strangely enough, not as well received by critics as the first, but still my favourite of the series due to the fantastic alternate 2020 sci–fi world. As a teenager, I would have done anything for a hover–board.
DVD $59.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Back to the FutureBack to the Future (1985)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A classic sci–fi adventure with charming young MJ Fox and eccentric as ever Christopher Lloyd. Some great ideas involving time travel, and a fun story to be enjoyed by all ages.
DVD $15 $11.25, $29.95, $29.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Back to the Future TrilogyBack to the Future Trilogy (1985-1990)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A brilliant set that should be owned by every sci–fi fan.
DVD $29.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Chicken RunChicken Run (2000)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) The characters are cute enough, the animation is still charming, and it's still great fun for all the family, but this is not quite Wallace and Gromit.
DVD $10 $7.50
Wallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Were-RabbitWallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Ten years since his last short Wallace and Gromit release, Nick Park is back with a feature–length tale that will have you laughing while still admiring the adorable animation style. Witty and fun, this is another claymation masterpiece.
Wallace and Gromit - A Close ShaveWallace and Gromit - A Close Shave (1995)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Another superb edition to the Wallace and Gromit series, this one sees Gromit accused of sheep rustling, leaving Wallace to get him out of trouble. More irresistible comedy from Aardman.
Wallace and Gromit - The Wrong TrousersWallace and Gromit - The Wrong Trousers (1993)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) My favourite of the 3 Wallace and Gromit originals, this one has Wallace fooled by a criminal penguin. They're techno–trousers, ex–NASA. Just brilliant.
Wallace and Gromit - A Grand Day OutWallace and Gromit - A Grand Day Out (1992)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A sweet and unique animation style that has Wallance and his doggy companion go on wacky adventures. In this episode, fly to the moon for cheese. Because everybody knows the moon is made of cheese...
Wallace and Gromit - Three Cracking AdventuresWallace and Gromit - Three Cracking Adventures (1989-1995)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) The best way to buy the original Wallace and Gromit adventures, this is a must for clay–mation fanatics. If you haven't seen W&G or Aardman animations yet, this is your chance.
DVD $25 $18.75
Racing StripesRacing Stripes (2005)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A sweet story and likeable characters for the whole family, if nothing special in any aspects.
DVD $15 $11.25
Wedding CrashersWedding Crashers (2005)
4 stars (Very Good) A comedy that could have been brilliant, given the first half–hour, and the great chemistry between Owen and Vaughn. Unfortunately, takes a turn for the standard rom–com drama, but remains a fun ride overall.
You, Me and DupreeYou, Me and Dupree (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) Will provide a few decent laughs, with Wilson seemingly unknowingly intruding on the lives of his married friends.
DVD $10 $5, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Tattooist, TheTattooist, The (2007)
1 star (Turkey) A very disappointing thriller that had far more potential given the cultural material it had to work with.
AustraliaAustralia (2008)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Australia begins strong, with outback and droving elements heartily played out by Jackman, and a sweet Aboriginal boy being looked after by the naive but stubborn Kidman. Soon stumbles and wavers for the remainder.
DVD $20 $15
PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia (1993)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A very good and educative drama, with thoroughly convincing performances by Hanks and Washington. Not outstanding, but a solid film all–round.
DVD $20 $15
JumanjiJumanji (1995)
3 stars (Good Enough) The craziest board game of all, Jumanji transcends reality and time, bringing forth far more than anyone dreamt of before rolling the dice. An exciting family adventure.
DVD $19.95
StripteaseStriptease (1996)
1 star (Turkey) Terrible comedy that has Moore shedding her clothes for cheap thrills relegated to dusty video–store shelves and late–night TV.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $14.95
ThinnerThinner (1997)
2 stars (Good Try) Gristly but standard rendition of the King classic. Not necessarily bad, but not the best of the Kings either (the book or the film).
Mask, TheMask, The (1994)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Possibly the best Jim Carrey comedy, this adds some ingenious cartoon/fantasy elements to the usual reluctant anti–hero premise. Visually marvellous and irresistibly mischievous.
Liar LiarLiar Liar (1997)
3 stars (Good Enough) One of Carrey's best, Liar Liar provides ample opportunity for his over–the–top facial expressions and mannerisms, as he fights with his natural instinct to lie about almost everything in his everyday life.
DVD $11.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Mr Nice GuyMr Nice Guy (1998)
2 stars (Good Try) A fun martial arts comedy, but nothing to really make an impression. Sammo hung and Chan have done better together.
Jurassic ParkJurassic Park (1993)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the best 'monster' films ever made, this is visually stunning (the dinosaurs still look great), with a unique premise and some very intense moments. Brilliance from Spielberg.
DVD $19.95, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95, $24.95
GodzillaGodzilla (1998)
3 stars (Good Enough) A decent American version of the original Japanese monster, Godzilla is by no means a bad film – but in comparison to Jurassic Park, it's just not particularly memorable.
DVD $14.95
Beavis and Butthead Do AmericaBeavis and Butthead Do America (1996)
3 stars (Good Enough) A 1990s amination comedy that broke all the rules and crossed all the lines. Likely to fade in its enjoyment factor with the change in times, but those who remember it fondly will still find themselves amused.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike BackJay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
2 stars (Good Try) The clerks/dogma boys are back, as well as a huge cast, in this comedy for those with the particular stomach for the nature of jokes that spew forth with little real thought.
DVD $14.95, $39.95
BaseketballBaseketball (1998)
3 stars (Good Enough) This is pure Parker and Stone, in a ridiculous parody that takes the jokes just one step further than most will appreciate.
DVD $14.95
Blue StreakBlue Streak (1999)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not as good as Bad Boys, but with a similar feel, Lawrence takes the role of robber–turned–cop, chasing a big diamond and running from more than his past. Funny, but not particularly memorable.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $14.95
Private BenjaminPrivate Benjamin (1980)
3 stars (Good Enough) Sweet, naive little Goldie has no idea what she's in for when she joins the army. With the same blonde naivety as that shown in Legally Blonde, some may find this comedy their cup of tea.
DVD $15 $11.25
Art of War, TheArt of War, The (2000)
3 stars (Good Enough) A decent spy actioner, with furious action and chase elements, and Snipes convincingly playing the unwitting pawn in a greater conspiracy.
Chain of FoolsChain of Fools (2001)
1 star (Turkey) Offering little in the way of laughs or thrills, this was a disappointing heist/thief film which won't be kept in my long–term library.
Men in Black 2Men in Black 2 (2002)
2 stars (Good Try) Not nearly as good as the first, but still holding a little charm if you're invested in the characters. Quirky (and annoying) appearances by Knoxville and Torn.
DVD $12.95 | Blu-Ray $14.95
Men in BlackMen in Black (1997)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A sci–fi comedy like no other, with unlikely pair Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones teaming up to take down misbehaving aliens who hide in our society. Some imaginative weapons and special effects round out the experience.
DVD $20 $15 | Blu-Ray $14.95
Wild Wild WestWild Wild West (1999)
3 stars (Good Enough) This is not quite Men in Black, but Smith is still funny and slick in his role as Captain James West, Hayek is hot, and there are some interesting sci–fi/tech elements added in to the old western world.
DVD $24.95
How HighHow High (2002)
2 stars (Good Try) Trying to cash in on their rap fame, Meth and Red are here just as Cheech and Chong were many many years ago – but never quite manage to be as genuinely funny. Starts out okay but soon takes a turn for the worst...
Terminal, TheTerminal, The (2004)
4 stars (Very Good) Loosely based on a true story, this is a touching and funny comedy set entirely in an airport terminal. Hanks is great and warming as Viktor, the poor but well–intentioned soul stuck in the terminal.
RedemptionRedemption (2004)
3 stars (Good Enough) A good TV drama that at times feels more like a documentary film about Tookie and his rise as Crip hero and fall as convicted murderer.
Aeon FluxAeon Flux (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) An okay post–matrix era sci–fi film, with Theron in spandex, a big brother government gone too far, and some interesting visuals that always feel a little too plastic and surreal to be believable.
DVD $20 $15
Stand by MeStand by Me (1986)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of my favourite family films, this is a real 80s classic about friendship and growing up. Funny, sweet, touching, and thoroughly memorable.
DVD $20 $15
Cheech and Chong - Still SmokinCheech and Chong - Still Smokin (1983)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not as good as the first, and still taking it just a little too far to be funny without smoking everything that they have been.
DVD $11.95
Escape from New YorkEscape from New York (1981)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the all–time best sci–fi films, with a similar feel to Blade Runner: dark comedy elements, a gritty and strange world falling apart, and tough guy Kurt Russell.
DVD $20 $15 | Blu-Ray $20 $15
BabeBabe (1995)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A sweet family tale with amusing farm animals and a touching story of persistence and friendship. Not sure how it became nominated for the big awards, but certainly worth watching with all the family.
DVD $10, $19.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Wedding Singer, TheWedding Singer, The (1998)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) It can be funny, but that may depend on whether you're fond of Sandler. It is, however, quite heartwarming, in that predictable rom–com kind of way.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Princess Bride, ThePrincess Bride, The (1987)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) I'm not entirely sure what makes the film enjoyable, as the individual parts are by no means brilliant, but overall this is a sweet fantasy tale that will make you smile.
DVD $20 $15
Monsters, Inc.Monsters, Inc. (2001)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A wonderful concept that gets the chance to prove itself not just as a skilfully animated film, but also a touching and thoughtful, thoroughly imaginative fantasy world. One of the best in recent years.
DVD $24.95 $19.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95 $24.95, $49.95 $24.95
Bug's Life, ABug's Life, A (1998)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Another Pixar creation, similar to Antz, but slightly brighter and sweeter. Adults won't find many laughs, but this is still highly entertaining – just especially for the little ones.
DVD $24.95 $19.95
Toy Story 2Toy Story 2 (2000)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Not as great as the first Toy Story, but still a sweet tale that rolls in the laughs.
DVD $15 $11.25 | Blu-Ray $39.95 $24.95, $29.95
Small SoldiersSmall Soldiers (1998)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) I loved this film so much as a youngster that I can't not give it at least 4 stars. I truly never wanted to own any on–screen action character toys as much as I wanted the Toy Soldiers. Except possibly a Gremlin.
DVD $34.95
Con AirCon Air (1997)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Hollywood takes it to the next level, with a huge macho cast and plenty of attitude in this airborne prison–break tale that must be seen by action fans for the pure ridiculousness of it all.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
ArmageddonArmageddon (1998)
4 stars (Very Good) This is a true Michael Bay/ Bruckheimer Hollywood flick, with plenty going on at all times, but there are some genuine tear–jerking and enjoyable moments if you let yourself be drawn in and refuse to simply hate on it because of its reputation.
GhostGhost (1990)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A romantic ghost story, with Swayze stealing the ladies' hearts and Unchained Melody playing a great part too. A little over–the–top, but well–intentioned and sweet enough.
DVD $15, $24.95
Ghostbusters 2Ghostbusters 2 (1989)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not as great as the first, suffering from the old sequelitis, but one–liners still honestly delivered from the same classic cast.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
GhostbustersGhostbusters (1984)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A wonderful comedy/horror/fantasy film with a great (now classic) cast, a themesong that will never be forgotten, and some incredible visual effects for the 1980s.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
GremlinsGremlins (1984)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Sweet and devilishly mischievous, the Gremlins are a brilliant design and very well animated for the 1980s, in this family 'horror' like no other. Except possibly Ghost Busters.
DVD $30 $22.50
Child's PlayChild's Play (1988)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) The very concept of Child's Play in the late 80s was enough to give parents and censors a panic–attack, with a sweet cabbage–patch doll turning demonic killer. A horrifying concept, if looking a little dated in the 2000s.
DVD $20 $15
Toy StoryToy Story (1995)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) An absolutely wonderful tale and one of animation's greats, with stunning visuals and an all–star voice cast. To infinity, and beyond!
DVD $24.95 $19.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95 $24.95, $29.95
To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird (1962)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) An incredible book by Harper Lee, this film adaptation is possibly as close to perfect as could be directed. Gregory Peck is brilliant, and Mulligan deserves recognition for
DVD $20 $15
Nightmare Before Christmas, TheNightmare Before Christmas, The (1993)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Very Burton: dark and gothic, yet irresistibly charming. A Christmas must–see for all the family.
DVD $25 $18.75
E.T.E.T. (1982)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) A touching tale of friendship and loyalty, this is a must–see for all the family. Despite first appearances, ET is irresistibly lovable.
DVD $15 $11.25, $15 $11.25, $19.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Alice in WonderlandAlice in Wonderland (1951)
5 stars (Exceptional) Possibly the best ever screen adaptation of the Carroll classic, this animation is stunning in both story and visuals. Highlights include Alice slipping down the rabbit–hole, and later meeting the Cheshire cat.
DVD $14.95
Hunchback of Notre Dame, TheHunchback of Notre Dame, The (1996)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Another great Disney title in the 1990s range, this has all the sentiments we've come to expect, providing real moral and emotion along with the laughs.
DumboDumbo (1941)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) A brilliant story, with some strange and wonderful hand–drawn animations that will leave you feeling like you've witnessed something truly special. A classic that still holds appeal in the modern digital age.
DVD $10, $14.95
HerculesHercules (1997)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A disappointing rendition of one of the most famous mythological figures, I expected more from this Disney, which is not as visually interesting or as entertaining as others in the range.
AladdinAladdin (1993)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A brilliant Disney film that brings the story of Aladdin to life with stunning animations, great voice acting, and real attitude in every aspect.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95
Lion King, TheLion King, The (1994)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the greatest animated films of all time, the Lion King will make you laugh, sing, and cry. Wonderful and heartfelt entertainment for the whole family.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
UpUp (2009)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Brilliant in terms of its animation (Pixar are always great), but after the first few minutes becomes increasingly silly and far–fetched.
DVD $19.95
Incredibles, TheIncredibles, The (2004)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A great and fresh (satirical) take on the superhero genre, the Incredibles is full of sleek animated visuals and provides plenty of laughs – especially for those fond of the superhero movie.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Finding NemoFinding Nemo (2003)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Sweet animated tale of family and friendship, this has plenty to laugh and be happy about.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95, $49.95
Next FridayNext Friday (1999)
3 stars (Good Enough) Next Friday misses the appeal of Chris Tucker, but still brings a number of decent laughs with Ice Cube and Mike Epps finding a way to steal from their neighbours in an already–dysfunctional neighbourhood.
DVD $29.95
Friday After Next Friday After Next (2002)
2 stars (Good Try) The Christmas theme is unnecessary, and overall, this just lacks the appeal of the previous two. Perhaps the 1990s appeal of the hood comedy has worn thin.
DVD $24.95
FridayFriday (1995)
4 stars (Very Good) Funny 1990s 'hood' comedy with tough–guy Ice Cube and the hilarious Chris Tucker smoking and drinking and getting up to general Friday mischief. Cheech and Chong would enjoy this one.
Black SheepBlack Sheep (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) A good black comedy splatter, if losing some of its initial appeal towards the end. Very NZ throughout, and Peter Jackson would be proud.
DVD $14.95
HostelHostel (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) The "torture–porn" horror genre is well and truly here, with the hostel chambers bringing more and more terrifyingly gory sights as the film progresses. Highlights include Miike's cameo and a creepy wannabe surgeon.
DVD $15 $11.25
Halloween 2Halloween 2 (Halloween II) (1981)
3 stars (Good Enough) A decent sequel as horrors go, although far less interesting than the original. Still a few scares to be had, and Michael is still just as creepy as the voiceless never–die psycho.
Halloween 3 - Season of the WitchHalloween 3 - Season of the Witch (Halloween III) (1982)
2 stars (Good Try) Completely unrelated to the Michael Myres Halloween, this feels more like a Goosebumps story than a serious horror, with creepy masks and a strangely catchy television ad jingle.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Halloween H20Halloween H20 (1998)
3 stars (Good Enough) A decent reboot of the series, this puts Michael back on the map, with Jamie Lee back again to face her psycho brother. Still creepy, and commendable for going back to its roots.
HalloweenHalloween (2007)
4 stars (Very Good) An excellent reboot of the Halloween franchise, Zombie proves his worth as horror master. Giving some insight to Michael's past is commendable, setting this apart from the original while keeping a similarly serious creep factor.
Friday the 13thFriday the 13th (1980)
4 stars (Very Good) Another classic 80s horror/slasher, giving birth to a monster–size franchise. Teenagers beware, you're all viable candidates for Jason Voorhees.
Freddy Vs. JasonFreddy Vs. Jason (2003)
1 star (Turkey) Terrible and unnecessary crossover that pits together Freddy Krueger (nightmare on elm) and Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th). Why do they do this to our favourite characters?
Nightmare On Elm Street, ANightmare On Elm Street, A (1984)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Freddy Krueger is not only fantastically frightening, but he's also darkly funny. This Wes Craven is a masterpiece, and a close second–best horror film to my favourite: Carpenter's Halloween.
HalloweenHalloween (1978)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the greatest horror films ever, this John Carpenter creation is still seriously creepy, and Michael Myres is still a great psycho. The beginning of one of the most successful horror franchises ever made.
DVD $30 $22.50
Underworld: Rise Of The LycansUnderworld: Rise Of The Lycans (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) Fans of the series will undoubtedly enjoy this third outing, but for me, close to all the appeal of the first has been lost (including Beckinsale – although Mitra is admittedly a fair replacement).
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Underworld: EvolutionUnderworld: Evolution (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) Attempting to develop the rich Vampire world, Underworld Evolution goes back to the origins of the vampire–werewolf feud. Keeps its distinct sleek–blue visual look, but not as unique or fun as the first.
DVD $10 $5, $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
My Bloody ValentineMy Bloody Valentine (2009)
4 stars (Very Good) Wonderful in 3D, and more plain in 2D, this remake is surprisingly fun (and one of the best remakes in years), with some graphic and intense scenes of a creepy mining killer on the loose. Well worth a watch for horror fans.
DVD $19.95
Final Destination, TheFinal Destination, The (Final Destination 4) (2009)
1 star (Turkey) Fourth and hopefully final in the series, this is the worst of the Final Destinations. Deaths are ridiculous without being particularly fun, and the 3D is not nearly as satisfying as it should be.
Final Destination 2Final Destination 2 (2003)
3 stars (Good Enough) Decent follow–up to the first teen horror, FD2 amps up the comedy and imaginative death sequences, while the acting and dialogue give us plenty of reasons to laugh with each outrageous death.
Final Destination 3Final Destination 3 (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) Less imaginative in terms of premise, but more than making up for it in imaginative death sequences. Featuring some wonderfully twisted ways to die.
Final DestinationFinal Destination (2000)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Right at the top of the teen horror genre, along with Scream, Final Destination is an interesting premise that creates a brilliant (though unnecessary) excuse for killing off unsuspecting young victims in imaginative and gory ways.
DVD $20 $15
Lost Boys, TheLost Boys, The (1987)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A classic vampire flick, with some real gothic/punk 80s attitude and slick cast members. Great soundtrack rounds off the experience.
Queen of the DamnedQueen of the Damned (2001)
1 star (Turkey) A very disappointing Anne Rice screen adaptation, Queen of the Damned fails to live up to the book or to the previous adaptation 'Interview with the Vampire'. Biggest highlight is the soundtrack – skip the film.
DVD $12.95
Resident EvilResident Evil (2002)
3 stars (Good Enough) The best resident evil to make it to the big screen, this is sleek and mostly visually interesting, bringing many elements from the groundbreaking videogame, although ultimately failing to live up to the greatness of the source.
DVD $20 $15
UnderworldUnderworld (2003)
4 stars (Very Good) Sleek and stylish, this post–matrix era vampire flick brings sexy back with the stunning Kate Beckinsale as death dealer and werewolf hunter in an alternate world populated by humans, vampires, and werewolves.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
George Romero's Trilogy of the DeadGeorge Romero's Trilogy of the Dead (Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead) (1968-1985)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A must–buy boxset for zombie fans, this includes the original zombie flick (night of the living dead), the best zombie film (dawn of the dead), and a third classic (day of the dead). Best value for zombie entertainment.
Zombie Strippers Zombie Strippers (2008)
2 stars (Good Try) Terrible B–grade zombie flick that was barely watchable, even by a B–grade splatter zombie fan like myself. Earns credit only for the outrageous premise.
JawsJaws (1975)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Brilliant horror/drama, this is the original shark film that had a whole generation fearful of the water. Bruce the shark (AKA Jaws) may be dating now, but this still has a serious horror factor!
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Deep Blue SeaDeep Blue Sea (1999)
3 stars (Good Enough) I remember seeing Deep Blue Sea when it was first released, and it truly scared the pants off me! Not as creepy now, and the CGI effects are dating quickly, but still a good reboot of the shark horror that will keep you guessing before taking a swim.
RollerballRollerball (2001)
1 star (Turkey) Terrible remake that should be avoided by all other than the most avid of fan.
AmadeusAmadeus (1984)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Oscar winning tale of Amadeus Mozart, you will know within minutes whether you find the eccentric performance of Tom Hulce annoying or humorous. Sadly not a film for me, but I can see the merits.
Dead Poet's SocietyDead Poet's Society (1989)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Brilliant teaching drama, with a great performance by Robin Williams. A must–see drama for all the family. Carpe Diem!
DVD $19.95
CrashCrash (2005)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Although very Hollywood, with an A–list cast, this is a thought–provoking film of racial tension, with some heart–felt and heart–wrenching moments that may leave you teary–eyed.
Forgotten, TheForgotten, The (2004)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not particularly thought–provoking or intelligent, but mostly high on the intrigue and suspense factors, and with some decent visual and audio effects.
DVD $24.95
Hills Have Eyes, TheHills Have Eyes, The (1977)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Wes Craven brings a unique tale of horribly deformed once–humans who now seek out human flesh. Not quite as intense or brilliant as the original Chainsaw massacre, but still great horror viewing.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, TheTexas Chainsaw Massacre, The (1974)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) This is Tobe Hooper's masterpiece: an intense, suspenseful, graphic (without actually showing too–much gore!), and incredibly horrifying tale of the most psychotic family to ever grace the big screen.
DVD $15 $7.50, $20 $15, $19.95, $40 $30
Salem's LotSalem's Lot (1979)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) This may be a TV rendition, but it remains a seriously creepy affair from the masterful mind of Stephen King and directed by Texas Chainsaw's Tobe Hooper. Well worth seeing for vampire or King fans.
Village, TheVillage, The (2004)
3 stars (Good Enough) Sure, the 'twist' isn't exactly masterful, but visually, the film is striking, and it contains many interesting societal messages.
DVD $15 $11.25
SignsSigns (2002)
3 stars (Good Enough) A unique take on the aliens film, this is gripping and suspenseful, another Shyamalan creation that will have you guessing until the end. Sadly, not quite as satisfying in its final moments as it should be.
DVD $20 $15
GodsendGodsend (2004)
2 stars (Good Try) Not quite as intriguing as it should be, and relying a little too heavily on the 'creepy child' idea that we have become accustomed to, this was disappointing for me, especially in light of the numerous psychological thrillers of recent years.
DVD $39.95
Deer Hunter, TheDeer Hunter, The (1978)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Classic Vietnam–war drama on the horrors of war, and the lives of the men who physically survived the terrible things they witnessed, but leaving them severely psychologically affected.
PlatoonPlatoon (1986)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A must–see Vietnam film by now–veteran Oliver Stone, and an almost all–star cast.
DVD $15 $11.25, $20 $15
We Were SoldiersWe Were Soldiers (2002)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) We Were Soldiers is by no means a classic anti–war film, but it does have an emotional and gripping plot, and it remains respectful and mostly 'realistic' in its portrayal of the Vietnam war.
DVD $20 $15
Behind Enemy LinesBehind Enemy Lines (2001)
3 stars (Good Enough) Behind Enemy Lines certainly doesn't aim for realism, but it does remain an intense and enjoyable action film with Wilson illegally behind enemy lines and running to escape the full wrath of the military.
DVD $19.95
Colditz (TV Mini-series) Colditz (TV Mini-series) (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) A good mini–series set in WW2 and telling the story of British captives who seek to escape the legendary and inescapable Colditz castle. Not essential viewing, but worth the watch.
16 Blocks16 Blocks (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) Interesting straight–to–dvd release that will surprise you (assuming you pick it up cheap) with its intense chase, and comedy–factor of ex–con turned reluctant witness (Mos Def).
S.W.A.T.S.W.A.T. (SWAT) (2003)
2 stars (Good Try) Lackluster update of the 70s show, with some slow–motion bullet/action sequences, and a cast that is somehow just a little too slick for their own good.
DVD $29.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Last King of Scotland, TheLast King of Scotland, The (2007)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A graphic, intense, and moving film of Idi Amin (in an astonishing role by Whitaker) and the struggle of the nation of Uganda in the 1970s. Brilliant.
DVD $15 $11.25
Body Of LiesBody Of Lies (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) DiCaprio is not quite as convincing as Crowe in this modern–day tale of government, conspiracy, and the 'war on terrorism'. A satisfying, if not wholly original or factual, take on the genre.
DVD $14.95
Spy GameSpy Game (2001)
3 stars (Good Enough) Tony Scott gives this spy thriller a frenetic feel, with roving timelines, flashbacks, twists, and plenty to think about as the action unfolds.
DVD $15 $11.25
Recruit, TheRecruit, The (2003)
3 stars (Good Enough) With a 'Bourne' feeling to it, this intense spy thriller has Farrell begin as a CIA trainee, only to become caught in a conspiracy chase that will keep you guessing and on your toes.
Phone BoothPhone Booth (2002)
3 stars (Good Enough) A much more satisfying film than it has any right to be, this is set almost entirely in a phone booth, with slick Farrell in a fast–talking role as victim of an anonymous sniper who wants him to confess his sins to the world. Intense viewing.
Minority ReportMinority Report (2002)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Another Philip K Dick inspiration, Minority Report has an interesting premise and decent futuristic world, but the big–brother premise is all–too familiar now, and the action and chase become just a little too Hollywood towards the end.
Great Escape, TheGreat Escape, The (1963)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A must–see classic escape film set in WW2. McQueen is great, and there are some scenes that will stick with you forever.
Hart's WarHart's War (2001)
3 stars (Good Enough) An intriguing premise in a film that slips more towards to fictional end of the scale, but remains engaging and fairly authentic.
DVD $15 $11.25
ZodiacZodiac (2007)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A seat–grippingly intense affair from Fincher, this has the same gritty feel as "seven", and a very realistic and detailed take on the murder mystery of the Zodiac killer. Highly recommended.
DVD $20 $15
Hustle and FlowHustle and Flow (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) One of the better rap–related films in the past few years, this tells the story of a young wanna–be rapper who turns his house into a studio and tries to get his demo out there. Lacklustre ending, but intriguing ride.
DVD $10 $7.50
Get Rich or Die Tryin'Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) A lit itttle too Hollywood for its own good, and ultimately self–serving for tough–guy 50 Cent, this remains a better film than it has any right to be. Sheridan directs; 50 supplies the music and melodramatic take on his rise to fame.
8 Mile8 Mile (Eight Mile) (2002)
3 stars (Good Enough) Eminem is great as Rabbit, a white rapper in detroit struggling to make a name for himself in the rap game. Supported by a good cast, this is more than simply self–serving for Eminem, and well worth seeing.
DVD $20 $15
Whale RiderWhale Rider (2003)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) The sweet tale of Pai, in her struggle to make a place for herself in her family and society. A wonderful insight to a deep culture, and a moving tale.
DVD $20 $15, $29.95
Karate Kid, TheKarate Kid, The (1984)
4 stars (Very Good) An 80s classic, with Ralph Macchio in his definitive role. A classic underdog tale with heartfelt moments.
DVD $14.95
A.I. Artificial IntelligenceA.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A very strange tale, with elements from so many genres that it's really hard to anticipate what kinds of audiences will love or hate it. But an incredible sci–fi world is portrayed, and the fairytale story is both engaging and moving.
DVD $25 $18.75 | Poster (VG) $9.95
2001 - A Space Odyssey2001 - A Space Odyssey (1968)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) A marvelous film, with incredible visuals and sci–fi elements decades ahead of their time, 2001 is still an absolute pleasure to watch and enjoy.
DVD $20 $15
Sniper, TheSniper, The (Sun cheung sau) (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) A typical example of style over substance, The Sniper sort–of wants to be Infernal Affairs, but mostly it just wants to blow giant holes in stuff. Featuring some great and ridiculous gunplay, in particular the unique shooting style.
DVD $34.95 $14.95
Kung Fu HustleKung Fu Hustle (2004)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A fun comedy that takes all the great elements of Shaolin Soccer and improves the formula. The gangsters are great, the music is fun, the comedy is a great East–West mix. Well worth checking out.
VersusVersus (2001)
3 stars (Good Enough) Ridiculous zombie/splatter film which seriously swings between 1–star and 5–star for sheer ludicrous one–liner dialogue and B–grade splatter. If you like your action stylish, bloody, and silly, then look no further.
Iron MonkeyIron Monkey (Siunin Wong Fei-hung tsi titmalau) (1993)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Brilliant action sequences and wirework, with some ingenious martial arts elements, and (although containing a strange sense of humour) less odd than the average modern Tsui Hark outing. Fans of Crouching Tiger gather around.
Dragon InnDragon Inn (New Dragon Gate Inn) (1992)
3 stars (Good Enough) A very Tsui Hark affair, with extreme martial arts choreography and wirework, a fairly strange set of characters and series of events, and a heavy good vs evil theme throughout.
Die Hard 4.0Die Hard 4.0 (Live Free or Die Hard) (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) Fits in with the series by upping the budget, explosions, and frenetic action sequences, despite toning down the language (and with it, some classic McClane moments). Overall, a little overdone, but still worth a look for action fans.
DVD $10 $5, $19.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Lethal Weapon LegacyLethal Weapon Legacy (Lethal Weapon 1-4) (1987-1998)
4 stars (Very Good) This is a great buy if you can get it on any sort of special, and remains one of my favourite collections of sequels.
Last Boy Scout, TheLast Boy Scout, The (1991)
3 stars (Good Enough) Another outing from witty Lethal Weapon writer Shane Black and directed by Tony Scott, this is a solid action–comedy, providing as many laughs as action sequences, although nothing groundbreaking.
DVD $15 $11.25, $15 $11.25
Lethal Weapon 2Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
4 stars (Very Good) The second Lethal Weapon outing by writer Shane Black, this has all the same wit, attitude, and comedy–action as the first film, but with a bigger budget. Very good entertainment for fans of the buddy–cop genre.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Lethal WeaponLethal Weapon (1987)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Still–funny buddy cop film with entertaining action sequences, hard–edged Gibson and trying–to–retire Glover, this is one of my favourite of the genre. It won't win any awards for story, but it will keep you entertained.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Die Hard with a VengeanceDie Hard with a Vengeance (Die Hard 3) (1995)
3 stars (Good Enough) Bigger explosions but little imagination, the series has continued the road from gritty to comic, with an even less unbelievable villain, plot, and action sequences.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Die Hard 2Die Hard 2 (1990)
3 stars (Good Enough) The second Die Hard brings a strikingly similar premise, with Willis again confronted by terrorists – apparently Christmas for John McClane would not be the same without some heroic retributive violence.
Die HardDie Hard (1988)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) The first of the Die Hard series and the best, this is kept simple and gritty, with the story propelled forward at a consistent pace and with all the requisite action elements (and a never–die performance by Willis). Yippie–Kai–Yay!
HostageHostage (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) A decent hostage suspense/thriller, with some good twists and turns amidst the standard hostage and washed–up–cop elements, but an ending that is just a little too prolonged to be satisfying.
DerailedDerailed (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) A cold and calculated suspense thriller, with some decent performances and interesting moments. Your satisfaction in watching this will likely depend on whether you see the major twist coming.
CellularCellular (2004)
3 stars (Good Enough) A film with an interesting premise that goes just a little too far at times, but keeps the story interesting. Note: this is straight–to–DVD–grade entertainment rather than classic viewing.
12 Rounds12 Rounds (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) Mindless, pure adrenaline–fuelled boy's flick with explosions, bullets, entirely implausible action scenarios, and invincible hero Cena. As long as you know what you're going in for, you can't be too disappointed.
DVD $19.95, $29.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95, $34.95
Mad MaxMad Max (1979)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Classic B–grade feel, bleak apocalyptic world (courtesy of Australian outback) with some typical bad guys scouring the countryside for violent 'fun', and Mel Gibson doing what he does best: going animal on all of them.
DVD $50 $37.50
Book Of Eli, TheBook Of Eli, The (2010)
3 stars (Good Enough) A bleak world with some seriously bad bad dudes from Mad Max meets Fallout, this tale has a couple of unusual twists and some stylish action sequences, although the Biblical premise and ultimate resolution aren't particularly satisfying.
Gangs of New YorkGangs of New York (2002)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A violent and epic 19th century America, with some very memorable scenes, and a performance by Daniel Day–Lewis that truly steals the show.
DVD $15 $11.25
Mad Men - Season 1 (TV Series)Mad Men - Season 1 (TV Series) (2007)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) This series has one of the highest production values I have ever seen on TV, and even rivals some high–budget movies. Dripping with style and 60s personality, this is intelligent entertainment.
DVD $20 $15, $160 $120
Godfather Part 3, TheGodfather Part 3, The (1990)
4 stars (Very Good) Not quite as gripping as either of the first 2 films, though still excellent by any standards, Coppola and Pacino return for the finale of the Godfather trilogy and are still on top–form.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Godfather Trilogy, TheGodfather Trilogy, The (1972-1990)
5 stars (Exceptional) This is the best boxset I have ever bought, with 3 incredible films, and more hours worth of content than you will probably watch in full.
DVD $30 $22.50
Godfather Part 2, TheGodfather Part 2, The (1974)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) A rare sequel in that it is just as good as the first film, if not even deeper. The cast is excellent (despite the absence of Brando), the story is just as fulfilling, and it deservedly won best picture.
DVD $25 $12.50, $24.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Godfather, TheGodfather, The (1972)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) THE must–see gangster movie, with timeless performances by all major roles, and the deepest insight to life in the Mafia.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
NikitaNikita (La Femme Nikita) (1990)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Very stylish, with some good action sequences, but feeling somewhat aged already. The character remains intriguing though, and the premise is one that has been copied (to some degree) many times since.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Men Who Stare at Goats, TheMen Who Stare at Goats, The (2009)
4 stars (Very Good) One of my favourite comedies of the year, this has the same understated sense of humour as the Coens’ 'Burn After Reading', with some right–on–the–money performances by Clooney, Bridges, and Spacey.
Layer CakeLayer Cake (2004)
4 stars (Very Good) A British crime action/suspense film in the same line as 'Lock Stock', although somewhat grittier and less funny. Overall, a good film with Craig proving why he should (and has) become the next Bond.
DVD $20 $15
DefendorDefendor (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) DefendOR Harrelson is what would happen if Forrest Gump turned dark and decided to become a super/antihero. A fun action comedy in the same line as 'Kick Ass', this pokes some fun at the superhero genre while remaining in the category.
Kick-AssKick-Ass (2010)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) An odd action/comedy/superhero(ish) film that was not at all what I expected. Some good fight scenes, funny moments, and an interesting everyman–hero (not super) who teams up with other antiheroes to take down some fairly typical bad guys.
DVD $15 $11.25, $29.95
Terminator - The Sarah Connor Chronicles (TV Series)Terminator - The Sarah Connor Chronicles (TV Series) (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) A decent sci–fi series set in the T2 era, this takes many of the original ideas and combines them with some new TV–budget special effects and cast. Fun, although not particularly deep, TV viewing.
Terminator SalvationTerminator Salvation (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) Lacking in the same attitude as the original 2 Terminator films, Salvation has some enjoyable action moments and special effects, plus a cool bass–heavy score, but never quite reaches the heights hoped of a reboot.
Terminator 3 - Rise of the MachinesTerminator 3 - Rise of the Machines (2003)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not as great an actioner as T2, or as inventive or menacing a sci–fi film as T1, this is an okay continuation of the series, with a number of added Hollywood elements (such as an often half–clad female terminator).
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Matrix RevolutionsMatrix Revolutions (2003)
3 stars (Good Enough) I suppose you have to see it if you're at all invested in the story– although there really isn't much of one left. Revolutions his has some flashy sequences, but continues on the 'cartoonish' path, giving this an entirely different feel to the first f
DVD $19.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95 $24.95
Matrix Reloaded, TheMatrix Reloaded, The (2002)
3 stars (Good Enough) Some decent special effects, although somewhat more cartoony this time around, The Matrix Reloaded is more flashy than gritty, more style than substance, and overall simply less enjoyable than the first (which was an action masterpiece).
DVD $19.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95 $24.95
Seven SwordsSeven Swords (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) There are some very interesting action sequences, in pure over–the–top Tsui Hark style, and some interesting characters at hand. Just a pity that the fantasy story is so muddled that there is little room for character development or plot arcs.
Red CliffRed Cliff (The Battle of Red Cliff) (2008)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Impressive martial arts epic, with huge battles to behold, this is the 1–part edition of the Battle of Red Cliff. Possibly even better for being cut down, this leaves much of the drama to one side, focussing on the epic battle.
Curse of the Golden FlowerCurse of the Golden Flower (2006)
4 stars (Very Good) While not as deep as Crouching Tiger, or as focussed as Hero, this has a number of breathtaking and epic moments, and a unique visual style with plenty of vivid colour. If you love Zhang's other outings, you should see it – if not, stay away.
House of Flying DaggersHouse of Flying Daggers (Shi mian mai fu) (2004)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Another Zhang Yimou film, with a number of the same elements as Hero, but with a more love–oriented storyline and some unique characters (including a blind dancer), and some visual marvels to behold.
HeroHero (2002)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Beautiful. A martial arts ballet, with stunning slow–motion sequences and wuxia elements that go even beyond the brilliant 'Crouching Tiger' (although the storyline is not as deep or emotional).
Poster (VG) $12.95
ZatoichiZatoichi (2003)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of my favourite modern–day samurai films, although essentially a reboot of the old 'blind samurai' series, this is an interesting mix of martial arts, drama, and music, with plenty of references to other films and some memorable original moments.
Poster (U) $14.95
Machinist, TheMachinist, The (2004)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Not quite as satisfying as a first–time viewing of Fight Club, but with plenty to like for fans of the genre, this is possibly most remarkable for the extreme lengths Bale went to in starving himself for the skeletal role.
DVD $15 $11.25
EquilibriumEquilibrium (2003)
4 stars (Very Good) A very enjoyable sci–fi actioner, with plenty of unique gun sequences and an interesting (although not particularly original) premise: extreme government control and regulation of citizens. If you enjoy the Matrix, check it out.
DVD $20 $15
Bend It Like BeckhamBend It Like Beckham (2002)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Fun, although shallow, this girly comedy will provide a few laughs, but it's best moments are those involving the Indian family and cultural differences, and there are better Bolly/Hollywood comedies out there.
DVD $14.95
Interpreter, TheInterpreter, The (2005)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) A decent thriller, although nothing groundbreaking. There are twists and conspiracies to reveal, and the acting is fine, but again this suffers from feeling like a Hollywood adventure rather than a genuine African plot.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Blood DiamondBlood Diamond (2006)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) DiCaprio's performance may be good, but somehow he's never quite believable. The film is fairly solid all–round, and hard to criticise for that reason, but it just never quite feels genuine. This is still a Hollywood action adventure.
DVD $15 $11.25, $20 $15 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Thank You For SmokingThank You For Smoking (2005)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A snappy political/commercial satire with lots of fast–paced dialogue and a great performance by Eckhart who has a bachelor's in kicking butt, taking names, and moral flexibility. Smoking has never been so cool.
DVD $20 $15
Hard CandyHard Candy (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) If you loved Audition, this is a must–see. There isn't much in the way of setting, or any long–term plot, but this is as tense and twisted as it gets. Ellen Page is incredible in this role, especially if you still picture her as Juno.
Constant Gardener, TheConstant Gardener, The (2005)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A great heart–wrenching drama with unpredictable twists and turns. Set primarily in Northern Kenya, this is part murder–mystery, part love story, part African aid venture, and part conspiracy. Brilliance from Mierelles once more.
DVD $20 $15
Mighty Heart, AMighty Heart, A (2007)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A tense and realistic, sobering drama based on the true story of an abducted journalist in Pakistan. Jolie does a great job, as do the rest of the cast.
DVD $20 $10
Death at a FuneralDeath at a Funeral (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) The cast are funny and do an excellent job with dialogue that somehow feels just a little 'off'. That said, this will provide a few decent laughs and warming moments, with strange scenarios involving drugs, a dwarf, and dysfunctional family relationship
Sukiyaki Western DjangoSukiyaki Western Django (2007)
1 star (Turkey) My least favourite Miike film to date, Sukiyaki is a strange blend of genres that never quite feels like more than a B–grade pantomime set. It also tries a little too hard to be funny, and the action sequences don't have the same Miike flair.
Ocean's ThirteenOcean's Thirteen (Ocean's 13) (2007)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Not quite as intricate as Ocean's 12, and more likeable as a result, Ocean's 13 takes the crew back to Vegas in their attempt to baffle and shame Pacino and make off with the cash in usual (cocky) Ocean's fashion.
Blu-Ray $24.95
Ocean's TwelveOcean's Twelve (Ocean's 12) (2004)
3 stars (Good Enough) The Ocean's all–star cast is back, this time roving the globe on their search for more intricate heists. The same entertainment factors are here, but somehow Ocean's 12 doesn't quite feel as good as the original.
Ocean's ElevenOcean's Eleven (Ocean's 11) (2001)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the decade's best comedy heist films, Ocean's 11 is well–penned with witty dialogue and plot twists that will keep you guessing. Topped off with a cast who are as slick as the visuals, full of charm and on–screen chemistry and you have a must–see
DVD $15 $11.25 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Italian Job, TheItalian Job, The (2003)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A remake with the new line of Minis, this has an all–star cast and some catchy dialogue, but is overall lacking in personality.
Italian Job, TheItalian Job, The (1968)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Michael Caine is as likeable as ever in this original mini–cooper heist comedy. Some fun and memorable scenes, although looking a little dated in some respects.
Blu-Ray $24.95
Bank Job, The Bank Job, The (2008)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) An enjoyable heist film with Statham taking the lead of a group of over–their–head thieves intent on robbing a London bank vault. Will keep you thoroughly entertained throughout.
DVD $15 $11.25
SnatchSnatch (2000)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Very similar to Lock Stock, so you should know exactly what you're in for: a dark comedy action gangster flick with plenty of interesting characters and plot twists.
DVD $15 $11.25
Lock Stock and Two Smoking BarrelsLock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) A fun and fantastic London gangster suspense, this has brilliant dialogue, top–notch comedy, great cast, frenetic action sequences, and interesting plot. So let's sort the buyers from the spyers, the needy from the greedy, because what’s not to like?
ShooterShooter (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not quite as deep as the Stephen Hunter novel 'Point of Impact', but entertaining as an actioner, this conspiracy story has ex spec–ops Wahlberg taking down a government conspiracy one vicious kill at a time.
Vantage PointVantage Point (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) Vantage Point is an assassination/conspiracy thriller that reveals its story through the eyes of a number of different witnesses, trying to keep the audience guessing until each reveal. It's a cool idea, but not brilliantly executed.
Blu-Ray $19.95
Spirit, TheSpirit, The (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) Another Miller graphic novel, brought to life in the same fashion as Sin City, this has a dark visual style which is strangely offset by its very comic characters and B–grade one–liner dialogue. Still, there is some mindless fun to be had.
DVD $10 $5, $34.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
HitmanHitman (2007)
2 stars (Good Try) Hitman could have been so much better had it played out more like Nikita or Leon, in a structured 'origins' fashion. Instead, after the first couple of minutes it turns into a mindless actioner with some fun but generic action scenes and little else.
Max PayneMax Payne (2008)
2 stars (Good Try) Max Payne is one of the few video game stories that could have successfully been translated to film. Instead, this is a typical style–over–substance affair that wishes it was noir. Highlights are an office shootout and an extreme slow–mo shotgun blast.
DVD $19.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Taking Of Pelham 123, TheTaking Of Pelham 123, The (2009)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Again, a very Tony Scott affair, with Washington in lead alongside Travolta (who has proven he can play a bad–guy), and an against–the–clock premise which means that the action flows fast and slick.
DVD $10 $5, $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Deja VuDeja Vu (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) Tony Scott is still using his unique style to tell a gripping story – again with frontman Washington – this time with some sci–fi elements and the investigation of a terrorist plot. Fast–paced as ever, Scott knows how to entertain.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
JumperJumper (2008)
2 stars (Good Try) A fun sci–fi premise, if a little too quirky, that has plenty of excuse for the globe–trotting action, this remains a poorly scripted and hollow affair that may (or may not) provide you some entertainment.
DefianceDefiance (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) There is a great and noble story to be told somewhere within here, but the Hollywood 'style' gets in the way.
DVD $19.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95 $14.95
30 Days of Night30 Days of Night (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) Stylish, very bloody vampire flick filmed in NZ, this is heavy on the horror and suspense, with less attention paid to story or vampire lore. Not groundbreaking, but entertaining.
I Am LegendI Am Legend (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) A hard film to rate, given this feels like 2 entirely different films: The first half is a suspenseful and emotional lone–survivor tale, while the second is a zombie actioner. Still superb visually, and a decent adaptation of the Matheson novel.
DVD $15 $11.25
HancockHancock (John Hancock) (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) Another superhero adaptation that could easily have been lost amidst some better–known names (especially the excellent Iron Man and Batman reboots), apart from the presence of Will Smith, outlandish special effects, and some mostly–funny comedy elements.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
InceptionInception (2010)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Yet another brilliant outing from Nolan, this has a familiar sleek visual style, with excellent special effects (seen on IMAX is simply superb!), and an intriguing dream–related premise (think The Matrix meets Existenz, but also with its uniqueness.)
DVD $14.95
Ip ManIp Man (2008)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Ip Man should be seen by every martial arts fan, if not only for its incredible martial arts sequences (Donnie Yen is quite superb), but also for an origins story of the distinctive fighting style Wing Chun.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Three...ExtremesThree...Extremes (3 Extremes) (2004)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Visually impressive short works each taking you on an entirely different experience of psychological suspense, horror, and confusion. Not for the faint of heart, these unconventional short films may soon become cult favourites.
Sympathy for Mr. VengeanceSympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Not as good as Old Boy, and a little too rough at times, but otherwise a decent, if grim, revenge story told in Park's unique style.
DVD $29.95 $15
JSA: Joint Security AreaJSA: Joint Security Area (2000)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A brilliant military thriller complete with building suspense, frenetic action sequences and conspiracy. Chan–Wook Park is undoubtedly one of the best Korean directors this century.
DVD $29.95
Brotherhood of WarBrotherhood of War (Tae Guk Gi) (2004)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Graphic war film with a similar visual feel to 'Saving Private Ryan', but a little heavy on the melodrama. Worth a look to see the war from the Korean side, but don't expect anything groundbreaking.
Black Hawk DownBlack Hawk Down (2001)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) An epic–length war action/drama, with American troops stuck in the streets of Mogadishu and fighting to get out. Some great action sequences and stunning effects are the most notable features.
Full Metal JacketFull Metal Jacket (1987)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A different Kubrick film, though still pushing the boundaries through graphic war–violence and deep themes of the futility of war. Best performances include the stunning Drill Sgt Hartman played by Ermey.
BraveheartBraveheart (1995)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Emotional, gripping, bloody, and epic adventure about William Wallace and his violent uprising against the English monarchy and their barbaric ways. A great tale from start to finish.
DVD $20 $15
Ben-HurBen-Hur (1959)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Ben Hur is a magnificent and epic film in every possible way: the set pieces, the action sequences, the script, (the running length) all amount to an all–time classic of the genre.
DVD $30 $22.50
GladiatorGladiator (2000)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Gladiator may be filled with historical anomalies and unlikely events, but with grand set pieces and stunning action sequences this is undoubtedly an epic adventure tale, also played brilliantly by the vigorous and gruff Crowe.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Robin Hood: Prince of ThievesRobin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
4 stars (Very Good) Costner is strangely excellent as unlikely hero in this fresh and exciting Hollywood retelling of the origins of Sherwood Forest legend Robin Hood. It may be a little flashy at times, but a great adventure nonetheless.
Robin HoodRobin Hood (2010)
4 stars (Very Good) This is a great new portrayal of the Sherwood Forest hero and legend, with action, adventure, drama, and a few laughs.
DVD $39.95, $44.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95, $49.95
Brave One, TheBrave One, The (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) Jodi goes Kill Bill in this gritty revenge story that never quite feels convincing in terms of plot, although makes up for its shortcomings in attitude.
HannibalHannibal (2001)
2 stars (Good Try) Almost more slasher than psychological thriller, this is not as good as ‘Silence of the Lambs’ or ‘Red Dragon’, although it does add some depth to the Hannibal legacy if you are particularly invested in the character.
DVD $19.95
Hannibal RisingHannibal Rising (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) An interesting 'origins' story that swings back and forward between an historical and psychological reasoning of Hannibal's behaviour, and vicious outbursts of unexplainable violence.
DVD $24.95
Basic InstinctBasic Instinct (1992)
4 stars (Very Good) Probably best known for the nudity ('that' interrogation scene), which is a little unfair considering the numerous other elements which make this an intense and gripping mystery/suspense story.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
FractureFracture (2007)
4 stars (Very Good) Hopkins is back to his creepy 'Hannibal' role, uncannily pulling all the strings with intricate mind–games and a sadistic sense of humour. Suspenseful and entertaining, this is well–worth seeing.
2121 (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) A fun drama for fans of gambling/hustling films, this is part 'Rounders' and part 'Oceans', with unpredictable Spacey leading his crew of young math geniuses on a card–counting, money–making adventure through Vegas.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
State Of PlayState Of Play (2009)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) There are a number of plot twists and hints of possible conspiracies and alternative motivations, but the film remains fairly one–track. Still, this is a solid suspense story with some good acting.
DVD $10 $5, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
Illusionist, TheIllusionist, The (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) Predominantly straightforward tale, bar a few clever tricks, this is another for magic fans, although not quite as good or intense as 'The Prestige'.
Prestige, ThePrestige, The (2006)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Elegant, suspenseful fantasy story with some great twists, this is a must–see for magic fans. Bale and Jackman are ever upping the other in tricks and showmanship, leading to a compelling finale that may leave you speechless.
DVD $15
Sherlock HolmesSherlock Holmes (2009)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Entertaining, if not quite true to Conan Doyle's vision, 2009's Sherlock is the ever–brilliant Downey Jnr, supported by Jude Law as Watson. Humour, suspense, action, adventure, Sherlock Holmes attempts it all.
DVD $10 $5, $14.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95
Lie To Me (TV Series)Lie To Me (TV Series) (2009-2011)
4 stars (Very Good) Tim Roth is perfect as the egocentric and brilliant Cal, a private investigator for hire. Cal's unique ability is that he can read the truth of people's statements and body language, with varyingly funny, intense, or suspenseful results.
Law Abiding CitizenLaw Abiding Citizen (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) This is best seen as a revenge flick with elements of suspense, action, and extreme violence, rather than a thought–provoking law/prison film. But it is intense, and you will be drawn in to the twists, even if you don't particularly want to be.
DVD $39.95 $19.95 | Blu-Ray $10
Dark CityDark City (1998)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Underrated sci–fi suspense that has Rufus Sewell suffering from strange flashbacks and running from a mysterious group of seriously creepy alien beings, all within a surreal and fantastic ever–changing futuristic world.
DVD $20 $15
DaybreakersDaybreakers (2009)
4 stars (Very Good) A fresh take on the once again very–popular vampire genre, this one turns the tables on the usual balance, pitting the last few humans against a whole society of vampires. Bloody and awesome, with a slick alternate world this will leave you wanting more.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
New Town KillersNew Town Killers (2008)
1 star (Turkey) An independent film with some interesting ideas but a scrambled script and poor acting that will leave you wanting more than it could ever have (realistically) provided.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Once Were WarriorsOnce Were Warriors (1994)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of NZ's best films, based on an excellent novel, this will go down in the history books as an all–time must–see. Shedding insight to 80s/90s NZ gang culture, this drama is gripping and emotionally–charged throughout.
DVD $20 $15
JerusalemaJerusalema (2008)
4 stars (Very Good) A gritty South African drama/suspense that has a couple of street–smart teenagers caught up in crime in their race for fortune. Jerusalema is not only a violent gangster flick but also has political and racial elements that keep it multidimensional.
DVD $29.95 $19.95
Game of DeathGame of Death (1973)
3 stars (Good Enough) Undoubtedly providing some inspiration for Tarantino's Kill Bill in look and style, this is another classic Bruce Lee showcase. Lee must feign his death to enact revenge, and you don't want to be on his bad side.
Fist of FuryFist of Fury (1972)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the best showcases of martial arts talent, the Fist of Fury has charismatic Bruce Lee take on a whole martial arts school. With humour, revenge, and some stunning fight sequences, this is classic martial arts in the vein of 36 Chambers.
Diary of the DeadDiary of the Dead (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) Taking the 'indie documentary' approach and feel, this feels less Romero than a homage to Romero. Still, there are laughs to be had, and other features to appreciate, even if there is nothing particularly fresh.
DVD $29.95
Land of the DeadLand of the Dead (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) Romero still builds in some interesting undertones and suspense, but these now take a serious backseat to the horror action. Land of the Dead still features your shuffling zombies, but they may surprise you in ways other than speed.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Blair Witch Project, TheBlair Witch Project, The (1999)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Incredible low–budget horror that put the shaky–cam back on the map and proved to Hollywood that fresh ideas and a good marketing ploy can take you further than any rehashed big budget flick. Not quality viewing, but still one for the history books.
DVD $20 $15
QuarantineQuarantine (2008)
2 stars (Good Try) An unnecessary remake of a film that needed no translation or remake at all. Still worthy of attention from those seeking some scares, but one wonders why this even needs to exist when Rec has only just hit American screens.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $14.95
[REC][REC] (REC) (2007)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) There are some chilling sequences, and you will certainly get some serious jump–scares in the latter part of the film, but this is essentially a plot of rehashed ideas from other zombie, exorcism and horror flicks, filmed in shaky–vision a la Blair Witch.
DVD $10 $5, $19.95, $19.95
Ong-Bak 2Ong-Bak 2 (Ong-Bak 2: The Beginning) (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not quite as fun or unique as either Ong Bak 1 or The Protector, Ong bak 2 still has a range of impressive fighting sequences, this time taking place in an ancient Thai village setting.
DVD $29.95 $19.95, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Protector, TheProtector, The (Tom yum goong, Warrior King) (2005)
4 stars (Very Good) A raw and intense martial arts actioner that has Jaa go all–out brutal on a group of Elephant poachers. There is plenty of style, and even more bone–crushing martial arts violence in this brilliant showcase of Jaa's abilities.
DVD $34.95
Barrio 13Barrio 13 (District B13) (2004)
3 stars (Good Enough) Parkour 'inventor' David Belle stars in this near–future action flick that really shows off his athleticism and the raw abilities of the human body. Plenty of style, and some great stunt–work, this is mostly fresh and a joy to watch.
DVD $29.95 $22.45
Born to FightBorn to Fight (Kerd ma lui) (2004)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) A little ridiculous, this action flick has a team of sports players take on nuclear terrorists using unique acrobatic sports–related skills. At least the choreography and athleticism are unique, and you may enjoy it just for that.
Ong-BakOng-Bak (Muay Thai Warrior) (2003)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Tony Jaa is a soft–spoken unwilling hero with some seriously dangerous MuayThai skills and incredible acrobatics well worth checking out for martial arts fans. Fresh and fun choreography plus a straightforward storyline rounds out a great action film.
DVD $15 $11.25, $19.95
Night of the Living DeadNight of the Living Dead (1968)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) The original zombie flick, with creepy atmosphere and suspense, and intriguingly deep undertones of racial tension. Brilliant and graphic, from the master George Romero.
Kung Fu (TV Series)Kung Fu (TV Series) (1972-1975)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Carradine is a young Shaolin monk with morals and respect for all living things. A pity that he lives in the dangerous wild west, but he does come prepared. Listen up Grasshopper...
Street Fighter, TheStreet Fighter, The (1974)
3 stars (Good Enough) Sonny Chiba shows off his martial arts intensity in this overacted and bone–crackingly violent display that has him go animal on the whole Yakuza. You will find yourself laughing and squirming in your seat.
Beast, TheBeast, The (La Bete) (1975)
1 star (Turkey) Ironically banned in many countries for being too "sexually explicit", this is a film with close to zero sex appeal. There are numerous scenes involving nudity, but it is all so ridiculous that one can only presume it was intended as a black comedy.
Up in SmokeUp in Smoke (1978)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) This is Cheech and Chong through and through with weed–smoking hilarity ensuing at every turn. Thoroughly enjoyable, although getting sillier by the second.
Warriors, TheWarriors, The (1979)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Wonderful low–budget cult film with hundreds of extras and some wonderful scenes of widespread street–thuggery, this was always destined for cult status. Oh the warriors, come out and plaay–eee–aay.
Tokyo DrifterTokyo Drifter (1966)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Incredible art design for a 1960s film, this is pop–art on screen, with similar vivid colours and contrasts still used by modern–day directors like Tarantino and Stone. Lacking in substance and coherence, but more than making up for it in style.
Lady Snowblood 1Lady Snowblood 1 (Shurayukihime) (1973)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Huge influence on Tarantino, this revenge story is vivid, violent, and well scripted. How fitting that Tarantino has in turn introduced a whole new generation of audience to this classic.
Shogun AssassinShogun Assassin (1981)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Classic revenge story with ridiculous samurai sequences of the Lone Wolf and his infant cub battling supreme ninjas and warriors of death, gallons of blood split and limbs removed. Tarantino fans rejoice.
Children of Dune (TV Series)Children of Dune (TV Series) (2003)
3 stars (Good Enough) With updated special effects, the Dune universe starts to come alive. Just a pity that the plot and script fail to really convey the world that the Herbert novels do.
Blu-Ray $24.95
Dune (TV Series)Dune (TV Series) (2000)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not at all bad TV version of Herbert's Dune universe, this is well worth a watch for sci–fi fans, even if it is still not as good as the source material.
Blu-Ray $29.95
DuneDune (1984)
3 stars (Good Enough) Ambitious box–office failure filled with controversy (Lynch even wanted his name removed from credits for one of the proposed editions), there is still some vivid imagery here which will be enjoyed by Lynch or Herbert fans.
Man Bites DogMan Bites Dog (1992)
2 stars (Good Try) As dark as it gets, there is very little to laugh at here, with Remy and his filmcrew following a psychopathic and egotistical serial killer from scene to scene as he murders families, dogs, and even a baby. As controversial as it gets.
MonsterMonster (2003)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) You will hardly believe that this is Charlize Theron. A stunning performance in a film that will leave you feeling sad, speechless, and sick to your stomach.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95 | Poster (VG) $12.95
Fahrenheit 9/11Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A little too self–serving (at times blatantly one–sided), this is intense and provocative film–making, but can hardly be called impartial documenting. Still a great story (or chapter to the 9/11 tragedy), very well told by ever–ambitious Moore.
DVD $25 $12.50 | Poster (VG) $12.95
Bowling For ColumbineBowling For Columbine (2002)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Michael Moore hits full stride in this insightful and though–provoking documentary that takes one of the deepest looks yet into the Columbine killings and America's gun–toting (sub?)culture. A must–see doco for the 21st century.
DVD $15 $11.25, $20, $29.95
PowderPowder (1995)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Very odd fantasy film with a central character as intriguing and strange (yet well–meaning) as Edward Scissorhands, Powder tells of a young albino boy feared and ridiculed by almost an entire rural American town.
DVD $15 $7.50, $24.95
Super Size MeSuper Size Me (2003)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Morgan Spurlock is a little too Michael Moore as he doggedly chases his original idea for super–sized life of McDonalds. You can't fault his determination or sacrifice, even if there is nothing particularly deep here.
DVD $15 $7.50, $15 $10
American BeautyAmerican Beauty (1999)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Ambitious and disturbing jet–black comedy of an American family neighbourhood where things are not quite what they seem behind their pruned roses and white–picket fences. Spec–ta–cular!
DVD $20 $15, $24.95
Little Miss SunshineLittle Miss Sunshine (2006)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A sweet and funny story that tackles many ordinary everyday life issues as it follows the roadtrip of the everyman Hoover family. A feel–good comedy to be enjoyed by the entire family.
DVD $20 $10
WonderlandWonderland (2003)
2 stars (Good Try) A film that never seems quite sure of where it's going, this is at least a grimy and fairly realistic–feeling portrayal of sex superstar turned criminal, John Holmes.
Ice AgeIce Age (2002)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Incredibly funny and unlikely trio make their migration across the ice, encountering challenging and outrageous scenarios on the way. This is one of animation's greats, right up there with the likes of Toy Story and Shrek.
DVD $19.95, $30 $22.50 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Happy FeetHappy Feet (2006)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Brilliantly animated, and sweet story, if a little precocious at times. Will provide thorough entertainment for the young ones, and grown–ups will get their share of laughs too.
DVD $10 $7.50, $19.95 $14.95
March of the PenguinsMarch of the Penguins (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Beautiful and insightful, March of the Penguins takes you on a real–life adventure so magical that you will struggle to believe you're watching a documentary. Truly incredible film–making.
DVD $15 $11.25 | Blu-Ray $19.95
TrainspottingTrainspotting (1996)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Irvine Welsh is as stunning as Burroughs in his ability to portray the world of an addict, and Boyle successfully brings his vision to the big screen with all the dark humour, gritty realism, and harrowing hallucinations that it deserves.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
American PsychoAmerican Psycho (2000)
4 stars (Very Good) Brilliant adaptation of an even more explicit novel, with a perfect role for the egocentric Bale (who plays a brilliant psychopath), you'll never be quite sure what Bateman will do next. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to return some videotapes.
DVD $20 $15
Natural Born KillersNatural Born Killers (1994)
5 stars (Exceptional) With some unusual visual effects and a hyper–violent Bonnie and Clyde hallucinogenic trip across America, Stone crafts a genius and frightening commentary of American culture and media. Not for everyone, but quite stunning.
DVD $15 $11.25
SpawnSpawn (1997)
3 stars (Good Enough) Parts of Spawn are stylistically brilliant, with rich gothic attitude, while others are blatantly cartoonish. Similarly, some effects are great, and others very early 90s. These inconsistencies undermine what could have been an excellent adaptation.
Bubba Ho-TepBubba Ho-Tep (2004)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) B–grade champion Bruce Campbell is perfect as the aging Elvis, teaming up with a black JFK in preparing their resting–home fortress from an undead Egyptian monster. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Afro SamuraiAfro Samurai (2007)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Extremely stylistic and bloody adventure of the afro–samurai, as voiced by Samuel J L and given extra flavour by the RZA's bass–heavy beats. There isn't much substance here, but it is pretty.
DVD $29.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
Beavis and Butthead (TV Series)Beavis and Butthead (TV Series) (1993-1997)
3 stars (Good Enough) One of my childhood favourites (in part because it was deemed so offensive), the personal charm of Beavis and Butthead is thin, but their dark and anarchistic (and almost entirely stupid) sense of humour still holds some appeal.
DVD $29.95, $39.95, $39.95, $39.95
Happy Tree FriendsHappy Tree Friends (2002-2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) Extremely graphic things will happen to entirely adorable little creatures. If that's not your cup of tea then stay far far away. If a little short, each season has strung together a series of inventive and brutal ways of killing the poor little mites.
Brown Bunny, TheBrown Bunny, The (2003)
1 star (Turkey) Vincent Gallo is known one of the world's most arrogant actors – and if the Brown Bunny is anything to go by, he has entirely no reason to be. Lacking in direction, with poor performances, and no saving features that I can think of.
Clockwork Orange, AClockwork Orange, A (1971)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of 70’s more controversial films, with never–shy Kubrick directing a visually visceral, violent portrayal of Alex and his droogs in a unique futuristic world. Welly, welly, welly, well. To what do I owe the extreme pleasure of this surprising visit?
Battle RoyaleBattle Royale (Batoru Rowaiaru) (2000)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Daring and prolific film maker Fukasaku Kinji brings his dark and violent comedy/splatter/suspense story about "thinning the numbers" of rebellious teenagers in Japan by sending them to an island to kill each other. Outrageous in all aspects.
Battle Royale II: RequiemBattle Royale II: Requiem (Battle Royale 2) (2003)
4 stars (Very Good) More violent than the first BR, the premise remains very much the same, with a bigger budget, more special effects, less suspense and more blood. Not quite as great as the original, but a worthy sequel.
DVD $29.95
Work of Director Michel Gondry, TheWork of Director Michel Gondry, The (2003)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Gondry is a music video/style genius, as shown by some of these great music videos for great artists, and the additional bonus of some brilliant commercials and shorter works. You won't be getting commentary on everything, but you may not want any either
DVD $20 $15
ScratchScratch (2001)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A great historical and inspiring documentary about the origins and movement of turntablism in hip–hop, if this doesn't spark your interest in DJing then nothing will.
DVD $20 $15
Style WarsStyle Wars (1983)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Graffiti was considered by many to be one of the core elements of hip hop, and Style Wars shows the origins of the graffiti art movement. This is a must–see for fans of either.
Napoleon DynamiteNapoleon Dynamite (2004)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Best seen with friends, this indie comedy is both hilarious and cringe–worthy, with the bland deadpan comedy closely treading the line between funny and boring. Gosh!
AvatarAvatar (2009)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) An epic sci–fi fantasy world with some stunning special effects (whether 3D or not), this Cameron film is both impressive and lacklustre, the script being utterly predictable (see "Call me Joe" and kids' story "Fergully") and the action unambitious.
DVD $15 $11.25 | Blu-Ray $25 $18.75, $30 $22.50
Notting HillNotting Hill (1999)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Possibly the funniest rom–com I have seen, with the unlikely geek–Grant falling in love with movie–star Roberts. Rhys Ifans and Dylan Moran are also excellent additions to the cast.
DVD $19.95
Love ActuallyLove Actually (2003)
4 stars (Very Good) One of the funnier rom–coms around, this is a must–see for fans of Notting Hill, Four Weddings, and Bridget Jones. A huge all–star cast, with interwoven stories and a Christmas theme.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Holiday, TheHoliday, The (2006)
2 stars (Good Try) An entirely clichéd story with weak performances that will leave you hard–pressed to sit all the way through. This chick flick is strictly for the girls.
Alpha DogAlpha Dog (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) An ambitious drama about California youngsters (in particular, Jesse James Hollywood) who delve deeper into the criminal world and find themselves in serious trouble. Some surprise performances, and solid script.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
300300 (2006)
4 stars (Very Good) Visually exciting, Snyder proves that he can bring an exciting graphic novel to life on the big screen, with a bloody ballet of slow–mo action, striking visual effects, and a true–to–source telling of Miller's 300 Spartans.
We Own the NightWe Own the Night (2007)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) There are some great scenes, performances, and a good script, but overall the story fails to go far enough and push enough boundaries to make it particularly memorable.
DVD $29.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
PathfinderPathfinder (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) A violent Viking fantasy adventure, with Karl Urban wielding gigantic swords to the heads of many, this is dark and bloody stuff, although not quite an 'epic' must–see.
DVD $15 $7.50
Donnie BrascoDonnie Brasco (1997)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A great cast, although somewhat typical performances if you’ve seen other films of this genre (Goodfellas), the true story of honour and betrayal in the Mafia will carry you all the way through, citing memorable lines for months after: "Fo'get about it.
American GangsterAmerican Gangster (2007)
4 stars (Very Good) A solid gangster drama by Ridley Scott, this is powerful and ambitious, with good performances and the usual crime sentiments, but doesn't quite rise to the top of the gangster flick list.
Eastern PromisesEastern Promises (2007)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Cronenberg directs a solid and menacing suspense story of Eastern gangsters and mob secrets. Watts is not particularly convincing, but Viggo is positively outstanding.
DVD $20 $15
RocknRollaRocknRolla (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) Ritchie is back to his flashy and wise–cracking gangster roots in this slick crime actioner. This isn't great storytelling or inventive in any way, but fans of Lock Stock and Snatch will appreciate the feel.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
How To Lose Friends And Alienate PeopleHow To Lose Friends And Alienate People (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) A fun rom–com with lead–man Pegg as slapstick and silly as ever, this is a decent comedy that doesn't quite live up to the darker comedy Hollywood–bagging roots of the book, but is still worth your attention.
DVD $10 $5, $34.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95
There's Something About MaryThere's Something About Mary (1998)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) The laughs start rolling in from the very first scene, and there are many memorable sequences, but the film starts to get a bit too silly and far–fetched towards the end.
DVD $15 $11.25, $19.95 $14.95
Knocked UpKnocked Up (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) Possibly even more funny than 40 Year Old Virgin despite the serious subject matter, this Apatow creation has Rogen and Heigl struggling through their 'relationship' and pregnancy, with Rogen in particular having to change his boyish ways.
DVD $12 $6, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Forgetting Sarah Marshall Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) There are parts of this film that had me in fits of laughter, parts that had me falling asleep, and parts I was barely able to watch. With more consistency, this could have been a really great comedy. But no one needs to see that much of Jason Segel.
DVD $39.95, $44.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
K-PaxK-Pax (2001)
3 stars (Good Enough) Somewhere between Rainman and Randle McMurphy ('One flew over the cuckoo's nest'), Spacey is a strange and out–of–this–world patient who may (or may not) be more than he seems.
Any Given SundayAny Given Sunday (2000)
4 stars (Very Good) A frenetic portrayal of life on and off the American Football field, this Oliver Stone picture is fast–paced with snappy dialogue, interesting visual style, good performances from a varied cast, and insight to all the backstage dirty laundry of the sport.
Two for the MoneyTwo for the Money (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) Fun and snappy dialogue, with edgy performances by Pacino and McConaughey. Pacino is brilliant as the insidious and hustling employer always playing mind–games, and you will want to watch to see where the plot takes you.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
How to Lose a Guy in 10 DaysHow to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2002)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Surprisingly funny thanks to the chemistry between Hudson and McConaughey, and their snappy dialogue, this is a 21st century rom–com that pushes all the right buttons.
DVD $19.95
Fool's GoldFool's Gold (2008)
2 stars (Good Try) McConaughey and Hudson will always be enough to sell tickets to any romantic comedy, but they aren't enough to save this strange script from the uneven blend of action/comedy/romance elements and poor dialogue.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Rain ManRain Man (1988)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A touching story of personal relationships and growth, this has Tom Cruise looking after his sweet but difficult older savant brother brilliantly played by Hoffman. Well worth watching for fans of films such as ‘Forrest Gump’ and ‘I am Sam’.
DVD $25 $18.75
SleepersSleepers (1996)
3 stars (Good Enough) A great novel that holds plenty of promise at the beginning of the film, this is a drama with plenty of raw emotion, even if it fails to ultimately satisfy.
ChangelingChangeling (2008)
5 stars (Exceptional) A surprisingly great drama filled with suspense, mystery, and emotion, this is Jolie's best performance ever. Eastwood is an excellent director who manages to convey feeling with every scene and keep the audience fixated.
No Country for Old MenNo Country for Old Men (2007)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of my favourite films of 2007, this is an intense and menacing story making use of all the most successful 'Coen' elements, and one of the scariest bad guys ever portrayed on–screen. "Head or tails: call it."
Blood SimpleBlood Simple (1984)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Sinister, although a little slow to get started, this is pure Coen script, with country town villains, murder mystery, suspense, and a thrilling climactic sequence.
FargoFargo (1996)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A solid suspense with plenty of dark humour, the Coens cement their place in the gritty murder–mystery genre, with steady well–paced storytelling and their own unique visual feel.
Burn After Reading Burn After Reading (2008)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A black comedy from the Coen brothers, Burn After Reading puts together a hilarious cast, with every actor providing laughs in their own way. Pitt and McDormand in particular are brilliant as naive gym coworkers way over their heads in this conspiracy.
DVD $19.95
SuperbadSuperbad (2007)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Surprisingly funny boyish comedy, with Jonah Hill stealing the stage. If you're easily offended or naturally turned off by Apatow's humour then turn away, but otherwise sit back and enjoy the laughs.
40 Year Old Virgin, The40 Year Old Virgin, The (2005)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) With cringe–worthy humour courtesy of Carell, the 40 year old virgin starts off as potential comedy of the year, but later takes a turn for the love stuff and loses the appeal of the boyish jokes from the first half.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Funny PeopleFunny People (2009)
2 stars (Good Try) Considering the cast and the title, this is a disappointing comedy that fails to provide many laughs, and plays out more like a drama despite providing little insight to the life of a stand–up comedian. So many missed opportunities.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95
Informant!, TheInformant!, The (2009)
4 stars (Very Good) A surprisingly funny comedy/drama with a bland 1990s look that only adds to the humour. Damon is great with the deadpan understated jokes, and there is a fun retro feel throughout that serves the film well.
DVD $10 $5, $19.95 $9.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95 $14.95
Iron Man 2Iron Man 2 (2010)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not nearly as disappointing as critics would have you believe, this is a decent followup to the superb origin story of the first IronMan. Downey Jnr is great, as are Rockwell and Rourke, but the action is taken a few steps closer to its comic–book roots.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, TheCurious Case Of Benjamin Button, The (2008)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A little too–long, and a little too Forrest Gump, this is still a touching and unique tale. Fincher is always great, the special effects are superb, and overall it feels like the most has been made of the script, if not of the original Fitzgerald tale.
Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetSweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Some of the songs aren't great (Burton admits he doesn't like musicals), but the movie as a whole is dripping with Victorian atmosphere and gothic attitude which feels right at home with Burton, Depp, and Bonham–Carter. A great take on the old legend.
DVD $20 $10, $19.95 $14.95, $20 $15
Casino RoyaleCasino Royale (1967)
2 stars (Good Try) A spoof Bond movie, more akin to the Austin Powers than Bond series, with the British humour of a Peter Sellers/Allen comedy. Some decent laughs, but nothing fantastic.
Bourne Identity, TheBourne Identity, The (2002)
4 stars (Very Good) A new movie franchise is Bourne, with Damon taking the lead as (ex?) CIA action hero who is as awesome at kicking ass as he is terrible at remembering his history. An intriguing and tense spy thriller that should be seen.
DVD $34.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95, $29.95, $44.95
Bourne Supremacy, TheBourne Supremacy, The (2004)
4 stars (Very Good) Excellent follow–up to the first Bourne, this has Damon jumping from place to place unpredictably, with Greengrass making use of the handheld technique a little too often. But the action, tension and conspiracy are all here!
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95, $29.95, $44.95
Bourne Ultimatum, TheBourne Ultimatum, The (2007)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A brilliant spy actioner that has Damon (who else could play Bourne now) and Greengrass again taking us on a thrilling ride through stunning scene after scene on a breathless chase to the top of the agency that holds the truth about his past.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95, $29.95, $44.95
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Nicholson is incredible in this brilliant film adaptation of the Ken Kesey novel. We're never quite sure of Nicholson's mental state, or of his purpose, making the film unpredictably funny and gripping from start to finish.
DVD $15 $11.25
William Shakespeare's Romeo and JulietWilliam Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1997)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Baz Luhrmann sure has an eye for style, updating the Shakespeare classic for this generation, and casting the swooning DiCaprio and sweet Claire Danes as Romeo and Juliet. This is Shakespeare for a Hollywood audience, but somehow, it works.
TwilightTwilight (2008)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) A teenage vampire outing, very sleek and Hollywood, this comes across more Harry Potter than True Blood in its primary appeal to the teenage–girl audience. It's not bad, but it's just not that interesting or original either.
DVD $15 $7.50, $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
True Blood - Season 2 (TV Series)True Blood - Season 2 (TV Series) (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) The second season is simply not as good as the first, despite the promise of upping the supernatural elements. Still worth watching in the hope the third season will be back on form.
DVD $25 $18.75
True Blood - Season 1 (TV Series)True Blood - Season 1 (TV Series) (2008)
4 stars (Very Good) A dark and sexy series of blood and lust, with NZ's Paquin playing a small–town American girl seeking more from life, and perhaps biting off more than she can handle, by getting involved with a mysterious vampire.
DVD $20 $15
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV Series)Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV Series) (1996)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Shooting SMG to fame, this Joss Whedon creation became a pop–culture phenomenon in the 1990s, with wit, sex–appeal, and an alternate teenage vampire universe which is proving successful again in the 2000s (Twilight, Vampire Diaries, True Blood).
Perfect CreaturePerfect Creature (2006)
2 stars (Good Try) Ambitious NZ film with some great atmosphere and effects, and an imaginative alternate steam–punk reality. Visually excellent, but the script, plot, and acting let it down in a big way.
Interview With the VampireInterview With the Vampire (1994)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) The best Anne Rice novel and also the best film adaptation of her work, Interview with the Vampire is original in its insight to the life of an immortal through the ages. A great story with quirky fantasy acting and some gory blood–sucking moments.
DVD $15 $11.25
Bram Stoker's DraculaBram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
3 stars (Good Enough) The effects nicely bring Bram Stoker's original vampire tale up to contemporary standards, although not much can be said for the acting (other than Oldman), and if you've seen earlier renditions of the film there probably isn't very much here for you.
ConstantineConstantine (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) DC's Hellblazer makes a big screen appearance, with Keanu doing his Matrix thing, and some otherworldly special effects carrying the end–of–days story along. Worth seeing, if only for the unique special effects somewhat reminiscent of Timur Bekmambetov'
Blu-Ray $39.95 $24.95
Ghost RiderGhost Rider (2007)
2 stars (Good Try) Disappointing film version of Marvel's Ghost Rider, this has some decent special effects, though not enough, and not very much else to make it a worthwhile comic–book adaptation. Held more promise that it delivered.
End of DaysEnd of Days (1999)
2 stars (Good Try) Arnie is better than usual in this end–of–the–world–as–we–know–it adventure that goes heavy on the supernatural in its portrayal of heaven and hell, but there is not much here beyond some fiery special effects.
DVD $15 $11.25
Devil's Advocate, TheDevil's Advocate, The (1997)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Reeves is good as the stone–faced criminal lawyer who has never lost a case, but Pacino is simply stunning as his fiery and devilish boss who is pulling more strings than at first imagined. "Satan? Just call me Dad."
DVD $15 $7.50
Michael ClaytonMichael Clayton (2007)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A realistic suspense–drama with legal and political conspiracy elements, Michael Clayton is superbly written, acted, and directed, making it the full package for fans of the genre.
DVD $15 $11.25
DuplicityDuplicity (2009)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A detailed and multifaceted spy thriller (part–comedy), with Owen and Roberts continually switching sides on each other, Duplicity will keep you guessing throughout. The dialogue is great, as is the cast's chemistry.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
Couples RetreatCouples Retreat (2009)
2 stars (Good Try) The individual actors may be funny and bring their own character, but the script fails to deliver many laughs at all. A disappointing comedy from the 'Swingers' crew.
Team America - World PoliceTeam America - World Police (2004)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) There are few lines the South Park creators will not cross, as shown here in their musical–action–comedy satire of American culture, Hollywood, terrorism, AIDs and politics. Great miniature–puppetwork is a stunning contrast to the devilish subject matter.
DVD $15 $11.25
BoratBorat (Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan) (2006)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Cohen is genius and daring in this extremely funny and disturbing tale of a Kazakhstani reporter making a documentary in America. He digs deep and gets the reaction he wants, shedding light on American culture and worldwide politics.
DVD $20 $15
BrunoBruno (Brüno) (2009)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) At times feeling controversial and disturbing simply because it 'can', Bruno fails to shock or impress in the way that Borat did. Still very Cohen, but the charm has worn thin.
Forrest GumpForrest Gump (1994)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the greatest comedy–dramas ever made, Forrest Gump tells the story of an unlikely Vietnam war hero, pop–culture icon, and philosopher through Hanks, a naive and below–average–IQ small–town American with a very big heart.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Slumdog MillionaireSlumdog Millionaire (2008)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A touching tale that makes use of successful if unoriginal devices such as flashback story telling and cute child actors, Slumdog Millionaire was always going to win big in 2008. Visually compelling and emotionally heartfelt, this is well worth your time.
DVD $14.95
3:10 To Yuma3:10 To Yuma (2007)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A decent remake of the original, this 3:10 has Crowe convincingly taking up the role of reluctant but charismatic (anti)hero, with themes of honour and respect carried through.
AppaloosaAppaloosa (2008)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A slow–paced Western lacking in originality, direction, or significant plot. This has all the 'feel' of an old–school Western, but not enough oomph to really make it worth your while.
DVD $29.95 $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95 $19.95
Taken Taken (2008)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Neeson is great as a special–ops retiree seeking his kidnapped daughter. Expect lots of broken bones and bullet–ridden corpses in this high–paced part–Borne revenge story high on emotional drive. Neeson will find you. Just don’t wish him good–luck.
DVD $19.95
In BrugesIn Bruges (2008)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A violent and dark comedy with Farrell in lead as one of three 'honourable' assassins caught up in a feud in sleepy Bruges. Now how could you not like Bruges; it's a fairytale town.
Hangover, TheHangover, The (2009)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) The first comedy to truly make me laugh–out–loud for years, the Hangover was a surprise hit worldwide, shooting Cooper and Galifianakis to fame. With a memory–loss premise, some hilarious scenes and great cameos, this one will keep you well entertained!
DVD $12 $6, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95
SwingersSwingers (1996)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn have a boyish charm that carry this indie comedy through not much of a story (think mid–2000's Entourage) – but I'm pretty sure that somewhere in there lies plenty of well–intentioned heart.
DVD $20 $15
Happy GilmoreHappy Gilmore (1996)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) It may not be original in the slightest (it seems few Sandler flicks are), but this golfing comedy brings on the laughs, particularly for Sandler fans. Possibly remains my favourite Sandler comedy to date.
DVD $15 $11.25
BrazilBrazil (1985)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A Gilliam sci–fi epic, this tale is both bizarre and darkly funny, appreciated it seems, only by its cult fan following.
DVD $25 $18.75
Southland TalesSouthland Tales (2006)
2 stars (Good Try) Following up his critically successful indie, Kelly continues with sci–fi time–warp themes, thrusting together unlikely characters in a countdown to the end of days. Timberlake's musical to The Killers is most memorable; little else leaves an impression.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Donnie DarkoDonnie Darko (2001)
5 stars (Exceptional) Original, inspiring, confusing, this epic indie film will always hold a place in the hearts of its many fans, and continues to spark debate about its 'true' meaning. Gyllenhaal is fantastic as the compelling and troubled Donnie Darko.
Blu-Ray $24.95
Edward ScissorhandsEdward Scissorhands (1991)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Depp and Burton create a bond that will last many more films, with Burton fashioning a fantasy world of quirky and emotionally rich characters, and Depp masterfully filling the shoes of the central and most intriguing character.
DVD $15 $11.25, $20 $15
Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryCharlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) Very different to the original film, this rendition of the Roald Dahl classic may be a turnoff for fans of the 70s classic, but Burton can still be commended for his creation of a quirky chocolate–factory, and for bringing Wonka to a whole new generation.
On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceOn Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) The only Bond film starring Lazenby, this is not typical Bond in some aspects (romance), but very typically bond in others (action). Lazenby is not as convincing a 007 as Connery or Moore, but the film overall still carries the Bond essence.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
MoonrakerMoonraker (1979)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) The Bond film with the most 'deaths' (at least on paper), this one has Roger Moore globetrotting in his chase of supervillain Hugo Drax, before going beyond earth to stop what could be Armageddon and the end of the human race.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Dr. NoDr. No (1962)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) The original Bond film (not book), with Sean Connery (arguably the actor who best characterised Flemming's own 007), the beautiful Ursula Andress (classic bikini scene), and a plot that has Bond infiltrating a secret underground base in Jamaica.
GoldfingerGoldfinger (1964)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Another Bond classic. Sean Connery is the original 007 with a distinct style and suave attitude that characterised his portion of the series. This one has him taking on Goldfinger and Oddjob while chasing the mystery of the naked golden girls.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Tongan NinjaTongan Ninja (2002)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) A martial–arts spoof, though more original and funny than the likes of 'Kung Pow', this Kiwi–Pacific comedy with intentionally bad voice dubbing is a silly ninja outing that will not be appreciated by everyone.
DVD $30 $22.50, $40 $30
Sione's WeddingSione's Wedding (2006)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A fun Kiwi/Samoan outing that will provide plenty of laughs for fans of this style of boyish Poly–comedy. Nothing particularly exciting happens, but the ride is fun and light–hearted.
DVD $20 $15
Simpsons, The (TV Series)Simpsons, The (TV Series) (1989-2003)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) The Simpsons have become an icon in pop–culture history, and continue to provide laughs to this day. The first seasons’ animation may have dated somewhat, but the attitude and character are certainly here!
DVD $12.95, $12.95, $64.95
Family Guy - Season 1 (TV Series)Family Guy - Season 1 (TV Series) (1999-2002)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) You will either love or hate Family Guy, with its strictly politically–incorrect humour and pop–culture spoofs, but this remains one of the most original animated series in years.
DVD $24.95, $29.95, $29.95, $89.95
American Dad (TV Series)American Dad (TV Series) (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) With a more 'American' theme than Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane brings us another dysfunctional family of stereotypical individuals who battle through unlikely scenarios, providing hilarity throughout. Fans of Family Guy's humour will lap this up.
DVD $14.95, $24.95, $49.95, $49.95
Cedar BoysCedar Boys (2009)
4 stars (Very Good) A hard–hitting and realistic Australian drama that takes more than one page from Underbelly's script, Cedar Boys tells of the organised drug and crime industry in Sydney. Not particularly inventive, but a good drama overall.
Underbelly - Season 3 (TV Mini-series)Underbelly - Season 3 (TV Mini-series) (The Golden Mile) (2010)
4 stars (Very Good) The third season of Underbelly, although not connected to either of the previous stories, we now take a look at the sex industry and crooked cops of Sydney (again based on true events). Harsh and realistic, Underbelly has still got it.
Underbelly - Season 2 (TV Mini-series)Underbelly - Season 2 (TV Mini-series) (A Tale of Two Cities: The Mr Asia Story) (2009)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Underbelly Season 2 goes back in time to loosely document the story of Mr Asia, a notorious drug–lord who supplied between Asia and Australasia. Not quite as gripping as the first season, this is still quality drama, especially for television.
DVD $30 $22.50
Underbelly - Season 1 (TV Mini-series)Underbelly - Season 1 (TV Mini-series) (2008)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Stunning Australian gangster series based on the Moran family, one of Australian crime history's most notorious gangs. Gritty and realistic, this made such a splash in hometown Victoria that it was banned so as not to interfere with ongoing legal battles
DVD $34.95 $26.20
Space JamSpace Jam (1996)
3 stars (Good Enough) Another live–action and animated blend (think Roger Rabbit) which pits Michael Jordan and his team of Looney Tunes against a team of aliens in a basketball game to save the planet. Fun, though not as good as 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'.
DVD $20 $15
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1989)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Incredible mixture of live action and animation, still unmatched to this day. Hoskins is a toon hating detective in an alternative world where toons and people co–exist. Roger and Jessica Rabbit join known favourites from Warner Bros' cast.
Shrek The ThirdShrek The Third (2007)
2 stars (Good Try) The third big–screen Shrek in 6 years, and the series is showing some serious strain (as seen by critic's reviews, even if box office sales are still high).
DVD $14.95
Shrek Forever AfterShrek Forever After (Shrek 4) (2010)
3 stars (Good Enough) Shrek is back on form, but he's still not quite as funny or as charming as he seemed to be back in the early 2000s.
DVD $14.95
Shrek 2Shrek 2 (2004)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Arguably just as good as the first, although not as original, Shrek 2 pulls in more delightful characters and keeps the jokes rolling for all ages. Still the highest–grossing Shrek, and the 2nd–highest grossing animation ever (2nd now to Toy story 3).
DVD $14.95
ShrekShrek (2001)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A mixed–up fairytales story for a 21st century audience of kids and adults, Shrek has it all. This was the best animated in many years, coaxing people of all ages, worldwide, to see it at cinemas.
DVD $15 $11.25, $14.95
4 stars (Very Good) JCVD shows that he is more than just a brainless action star and opens up to the audience much more than ever before. This is Van Damme's answer to Rourke's 'The Wrestler' and Sly's 'Rocky'. Now if only the video quality was as good as the acting.
Indiana Jones and the Last CrusadeIndiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not as good as either of the two previous adventures, the series has become just a little too far–fetched. This is still a memorable quest for the Holy Grail, and Harrison brings some other famous faces with him, but there is nothing groundbreaking.
DVD $19.95
Raiders of the Lost ArkRaiders of the Lost Ark (1981)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) The first adventure from our now well–known and favourite archaeologist, Raiders of the Lost Ark was unique and ambitious for its time, and remains a fantastic starting–point for the classic adventure series.
DVD $19.95
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Another Indiana Jones adventure, beginning just as strongly as others in the series, but later taking a sci–fi turn for the worst. The 'feel' and action are essentially the same, but the story is simply too far–fetched.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Indiana Jones and the Temple of DoomIndiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
5 stars (Exceptional) The best Indiana Jones of the series, this is dark and eerie, culminating in a descent to what appears to be the depths of hell, and a furious chase back to the surface.
DVD $19.95
Indiana Jones DVD CollectionIndiana Jones DVD Collection (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) (1981-2008)Recommended
All of the Indies in one box, this is great value for money, with hours of film action, plenty of special features, and all remastered for better audio–visual quality.
Blu-Ray $109.95
VideodromeVideodrome (1983)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Almost as "Burroughs" as Cronenberg's later Naked Lunch, this disturbing commentary of reality television is nightmarish and gristly, with highly controversial subject matter and outstanding special effects for 1979.
DVD $20
Naked LunchNaked Lunch (1992)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) The book said to be untranslatable to film, Naked Lunch has been adapted and re–imagined, mixing in elements from Burroughs' real life and other writings, while remaining a hallucinogenic, other–worldly and utterly confusing commentary.
Fear and Loathing in Las VegasFear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Vivid and darkly cartoonish portrayal of Hunter S. Thompson's novel of the same title, this may be as good a film adaptation as possible, but fails to quite live up to the brilliance of the book itself. Depp however, is superb as Thompson.
DVD $14.95, $45 $33.75
Requiem for a DreamRequiem for a Dream (2000)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A shocking and vivid portrayal of extreme drug addiction, this is not for the faint–hearted. Will leave you feeling shaky and speechless. Just one more hit... Just one more…
DVD $15 $11.25
Wrestler, TheWrestler, The (2008)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Wonderful, emotional, and entirely believable performance by Rourke, a left–for–dead wrestler who wants one last fighting chance. This is more drama than wrestling film, and more real than Hollywood. Overall near–essential viewing.
DVD $10 $7.50, $29.95 $19.95
PiPi (1998)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A very gritty black and white indie film by the now–heralded genius Aronofsky, this math geek premise is heavy on near–psychotic confusion and conspiracy, but there is little ultimate resolution. Part Eraserhead, part something entirely unique.
DVD $14.95
CubeCube (1998)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A low–budget suspense/horror title with terrible acting, but such an intriguing premise (adapted since in films such as Saw) that we can't help but be riveted to order to see what the next sadistic cube will hold.
DVD $20 $15
SawSaw (2004)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) An almost–unique premise, low–budget Australian film which shot to success largely because of its gory and sadistic (yet ingenious) human traps, and partly because of Tobin Bell's raspy instructions as Jigsaw. Oh yes, there will be blood.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
L.A. ConfidentialL.A. Confidential (1997)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Great performances from an all–star, almost–perfect cast, this the the best screen adaptation of Ellroy's work, showing off the gritty LA crime/gangster backstage of wanna–be glamorous Hollywood.
Jackie BrownJackie Brown (1998)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A much funnier and all–round better film than many would have you believe, Jackie Brown is typical Tarantino, with snappy dialogue and a myriad of pop–culture references.
DVD $20 $15
Kiss Kiss Bang BangKiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Shane Black makes his directorial debut and proves that he is more than just a writer in this dark comedy semi–noir. Both unpredictable and stylish, with Downey Jnr and Kilmer stealing the show with fantastic wit and vicious sarcasm.
DVD $20 $15
True RomanceTrue Romance (1993)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Penned by Tarantino and filmed by Scott (Tony), this is a Bonnie and Clyde adventure with as many pop–culture references as action sequences, some dark comedy, and an all–star cast.
What's Eating Gilbert Grape?What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) DiCaprio and Depp are excellent as polar–opposite brothers in small–town America. A touching tale, with both sweet naivety and telling societal insight.
I Am SamI Am Sam (2002)
5 stars (Exceptional) A definite tear–jerker, this is superb acting from Sean Penn and young Dakota Fanning. A semi–legal story, heart–warming (and breaking) drama, and a great Beatles soundtrack.
DVD $14.95
Death RaceDeath Race (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) Paul Anderson is not afraid of making a shallow action experience with more thrills than thought, and Death Race is no exception. A lot more entertaining than I expected, this is a true adrenaline rush of petrol, lead, and fire.
DVD $15 $7.50, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
Total RecallTotal Recall (1990)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Another screen–adaptation of a Phillip K. Dick sci–fi adventure, this is Arnie at his peak. Big budget, compelling memory–loss premise, and some interesting sights to behold, from the Robocop director.
DVD $14.95, $20 $15 | Blu-Ray $19.95, $24.95
RobocopRobocop (1987)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Based on the premise of ultimate computer security system gone wrong, this ultra–violent and then–groundbreaking special effects actioner is still a thrilling ride, with some big explosions and graphic shootouts.
DVD $19.95
Hollow ManHollow Man (2000)
1 star (Turkey) Interesting premise and state–of–the–art special effects aren't enough to save the pathetic script, poor dialogue, or any part of the film.
DVD $20 $15 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Face OffFace Off (1997)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Somehow one of my favourite action films, this is stylish action with a unique sci–fi theme, gritty “Hell–A” setting, and mesmerising performances by both Cage and Travolta. "It’s like looking in a mirror. Only... not."
DVD $15 $11.25, $14.95
Date NightDate Night (2010)
3 stars (Good Enough) The script may leave much to be desired, but the on–screen chemistry between Steve Carrell and Tina Fey somehow manages to make up for it, being both ridiculously funny and strangely warming.
DVD $15 $7.50, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Shaun of the DeadShaun of the Dead (2004)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Shaun of the Dead is a great zombie–comedy by writers Pegg and Wright, poking fun at survival horror, romance, and action films alike. Being a spoof, there aren't many original ideas, but there sure are some laughs to be had.
DVD $19.95
Hot FuzzHot Fuzz (2007)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Pegg and Wright seem a near–perfect writing combination, and the same can be said for Pegg and Frost's onscreen connection. This one will have you laughing out loud throughout the unlikely and comic murder–mystery plot.
DVD $12.50 $9.40, $14.95, $19.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Beverly Hills CopBeverly Hills Cop (1984)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Murphy makes a real name for himself as wise–cracking good guy, who always means well even if he doesn't do things the right way. A great police action film which should definitely be seen by fans of the genre.
DVD $19.95
48hrs48hrs (48 Hours) (1982)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Nick Nolte is dead–serious cop, while Murphy is wise–cracking ex–con, making their on–screen connection an unlikely but very funny one. This may look like an 80s flick, but is an excellent action comedy with elements still seen in buddy–cop films today.
DVD $15 $11.25
Bad BoysBad Boys (1995)
3 stars (Good Enough) The idea of a buddy–cop movie with strained but humorous relationship between the leads may not be original (Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours), but Bad Boys has a certain charisma that carries it through and keeps it fresh. Now whatcha gonna do?
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95, $24.95
Bad Boys 2Bad Boys 2 (2003)
3 stars (Good Enough) Bay brings us some more explosions amidst the laughs created by Lawrence and Smith, who continue to have a fun on–screen chemistry. Slow–mo sequences, car chases, and one particularly memorable in–house shootout that stands out.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Transporter 2Transporter 2 (2005)
2 stars (Good Try) Less entertaining than the first, despite more action, outrageous set pieces, and the scantily clad dual–wielding Amber Valletta.
DVD $19.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Transporter, TheTransporter, The (2002)
3 stars (Good Enough) A fun actioner, something of a cross between Borne and Taxi, with Statham in the lead and showing off his "don't mess with me" martial arts skills. The Transporter isn't a smart actioner, but it is mostly solid.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Crank 2: High VoltageCrank 2: High Voltage (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) Not as original as the first, but still with plenty of fast–paced thrills, Crank 2 has Statham back again and cheating death for another 90+ minutes.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
CrankCrank (2006)
4 stars (Very Good) A frenetic rush of a film based on the premise of adrenaline (Statham needs to keep moving, and fast, or he'll die), Crank has a unique feel to it and shows off some original action sequences at break–neck pace. You won't be bored watching.
DVD $15 $11.25
Shoot 'em UpShoot 'em Up (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) A ridiculous and over the top comedy–actioner that has Owen spouting silly one–liners and killing by the hundreds. Cartoonish, outrageous, and at times a lot of fun – if you can handle the cheesiness. P.s. always eat your vegetables.
A-Team, TheA-Team, The (2010)
3 stars (Good Enough) When Hollywood runs out of ideas, prepare for rehashing of old ones. However, 2010's A–team is less a rehash than a 21st century revisioning, with extremely OTT action sequences that are cartoonishly entertaining if you turn your mind off.
DVD $12 $6, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Truman Show, TheTruman Show, The (1998)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Hollywood finally gets smart, with a comedy/drama that is both funny and insightful, touching on big philosophical and societal 'big brother' questions. Carrey is perfect as the confused Mr Truman.
DVD $20 $15
Being John MalkovichBeing John Malkovich (1999)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Very strange film based on the idea of entering the body of the one and only John Malkovich (until a particularly memorable scene featuring hundreds), this is a an intriguing fantasy premise, if a little too bizarre at times to be fully realised on film.
Scanner Darkly, AScanner Darkly, A (2006)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of my favourite Philip K. Dick stories, with sci–fi, drug addiction, conspiracy, big–brother and comedy elements, painstakingly hand–animated here for a unique and vibrant visual look. Add to that some great performances, this a must for sci–fi fans.
RenaissanceRenaissance (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) An intriguing and dark animated sci–fi world, Renaissance has some very good visuals and a dark theme, but ultimately lacks a punchy attitude that could have made it a must see.
DVD $19.95
Enter the DragonEnter the Dragon (1973)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Possibly the greatest (and most famous) martial arts movie ever made, and a testament to the discipline and skill of real martial arts. Bruce Lee is superb, with some of his moves even proving too–fast to be captured on standard film.
Dead or AliveDead or Alive (Hanzaisha) (1999)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Miike is here, and boy will you know it! Only 2 minutes in, and your eyes and mind will be reeling from the wildly fast–paced music–video–like action. Seriously, you've seen nothing like this before.
Ichi the KillerIchi the Killer (2001)
4 stars (Very Good) Controversially hyper–violent, sexualised, sadistic, and psychotic, Miike shows us why he is the Japanese king of cult. This is definitely not for everyone, and may have even the most hardened of viewers feeling squeamish.
UnleashedUnleashed (Danny the Dog) (2005)
4 stars (Very Good) Frenetic cage–fighting action flick, Jet Li goes animal on his opposition, before being adopted by an unassuming Morgan Freeman, and taught to be human once more. An uncanny performance by Li, who plays both wildly aggressive and naively sensitive.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Descent, TheDescent, The (2005)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) The Descent reminds us that sometimes the less we see, the more effective the scares will be. With some major jump–scares, and a psychologically–terrifying atmosphere, this claustrophobic horror will have you gripping your seat and praying for daylight.
Hand Of DeathHand Of Death (Shao Lin men) (1976)
2 stars (Good Try) Not one of John Woo's best, this Shaolin martial arts tale has some powerful names, but contains no ground–breaking or particularly unique action elements.
DVD $19.95
Shaolin TempleShaolin Temple (1976)
5 stars (Exceptional) Also known as the Death Chamber, this is another predominantly training–focussed martial arts film (think '36 Chambers') with elements of discipline and treachery. Introducing the Shaolin Masters, this is considered a prequel to 5 Shaolin Masters.
Legendary Weapons of ChinaLegendary Weapons of China (1982)
3 stars (Good Enough) Run Run Shaw brings you another must–see martial arts adventure, with Gordon Liu taking the lead role yet again as master of weapons and hand–to–hand techniques.
5 Deadly Venoms, The5 Deadly Venoms, The (Five Deadly Venoms) (1978)Recommended
Put plot and acting aside: this is classic Chinese martial arts at its best! 5 deadly and unique fighting styles from some of the original martial arts masters. It doesn't get much more fantastic than this.
DVD $19.95
SonatineSonatine (1993)
3 stars (Good Enough) Again taking the dual–role of director/lead, Beat Takeshi is daring and darkly funny (at times bordering on insane). Cut of the same cloth as 'Violent Cop' and 'Boiling Point', Sonatine is violent and memorable.
DVD $24.95 $18.70
Violent CopViolent Cop (1989)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Beat Takeshi takes on role as both director and lead in this violent and sadistic police/gangster story. A little dated visually, this is not Takeshi's best work, but it certainly is bold.
DVD $24.95 $18.70
Life Is BeautifulLife Is Beautiful (La vita e bella) (1998)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Beautiful, touching, laugh–out–loud funny, and emotionally shattering, this is one of cinema's finest. La vita è bella!
Seven Samurai, TheSeven Samurai, The (1954)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) An epic tale of honour, this is one of the greatest films of all time. Beautifully shot, memorable characters, and some wonderful set pieces of action that still look and feel real to this day.
DVD $25 $18.75, $50 $37.50
Female AgentsFemale Agents (Les femmes de l'ombre) (2008)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A decent wartime adventure, more action than drama and more fictional than factual, this is the exciting and original (or at least largely untold) story of undercover female agents in WWII Germany.
DVD $15 $11.25
AuditionAudition (1999)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) A psychological horror/suspense thriller that will have you physically squirming. Eihi Shiina is incredibly chilling: just wait until you hear her sweetly cooing "kiri kiri kiri..."
Million Dollar BabyMillion Dollar Baby (2004)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) The first successful boxing drama in years, this Eastwood film has all the underdog, against–all–odds emotion of a classic, and brave performances by all cast members – especially Swank, who is entirely convincing, stirring both laughter and tears.
DVD $20
ChopperChopper (2000)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Eric Bana is incredible (and barely recognisable) as the psychopathic Mark Chopper Read: murderer, psychopath, compulsive liar, author, and celebrity. A violent and sadistic tale, not for the faint–hearted.
DVD $25 $18.75 | Poster (VG) $14.95
Monster's BallMonster's Ball (2001)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Emotional performances, racial tension, and controversial capital punishment issues – this is a tense affair which will not be for everyone. Heath Ledger puts himself on the map as upcoming star.
DVD $20 $15
Boondock Saints, TheBoondock Saints, The (1999)
4 stars (Very Good) Distinctive flair and action, with Irish anti–hero murdering religious–disciple wise–cracking brothers. We can't help but feel sympathetic to their cause, while quirky Dafoe is on their case, and mysterious Connolly makes a dramatic entrance.
Four BrothersFour Brothers (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) The premise may be rather weak, and the story is held together by the emotional reason behind the brothers' reunion, but this is an entertaining outing with some good on–screen chemistry and banter between brothers.
RoundersRounders (1998)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A fun and gripping drama, mostly based around a series of Texas Hold 'em poker games and hustles, this one is well–scripted and acted, especially the surprise roles by Turturro and Malkovich.
HellraiserHellraiser (1987)
3 stars (Good Enough) Another Clive Barker horror, with some very strange creepy characters and outstanding effects. Forget the story; Pinhead in particular may give you nightmares, and this is what we watch horror flicks for.
DVD $20 $15
CandymanCandyman (1992)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A very creepy tale by horror–master Clive Barker (along with racial and sexual undertones), I dare you to watch this one alone and then stand in front of a mirror, let alone begin to chant: Candyman, Candyman...
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
La Vie en RoseLa Vie en Rose (2007)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Brilliantly acted throughout, and Edith Piaf certainly is an intriguing character worthy of a story, but the way this story is told is often a little too erratic for its own good, feeling like it’s trying to be different and ‘artsy’ without needing to.
DVD $29.95 $22.45
OnceOnce (2006)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A sweet and genuine story, feeling at times almost like a documentary– in part due to the gritty handheld camerawork– with likeable characters and a moving story. Plus a great original musical soundtrack actually performed by the actors.
DVD $20 $15
City of Men (TV Series)City of Men (TV Series) (Cidade dos Homens) (2003)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) City of Men takes on a similar visual style to 'City of God', although with a smaller budget and a less intriguing storyline. Still an interesting and unpredictable world inhabited by a small cast of believable actors.
DVD $19.95 $14.95, $20 $15
TsotsiTsotsi (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A gritty, real–life drama about violent youngsters who live the streets, high on emotion and racial tension, with potential feel–good moments, if feeling a little forced now and again.
TrafficTraffic (2000)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Good script, high production value, well acted, but at the end of the day, Traffic feels like it is missing something, whether it is a true sense of identity, or perhaps a real sense of direction.
DVD $20 $15
BlowBlow (2001)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A decent drug–related drama, mostly well acted, but not as good as other 60–80s crime epics like Boogie Nights or Goodfellas.
DVD $19.95 $14.95
City of GodCity of God (Cidade de Deus) (2002)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Possibly my all–time favourite film, City of God is moving, well–paced, with intriguing characters (especially well–acted by the child actors) and character development, unique visual flair, and a true–to–life Rio feeling. Amazing.
DVD $20 $15
Fast and the Furious 3, The - Tokyo DriftFast and the Furious 3, The - Tokyo Drift (2006)
2 stars (Good Try) With a ridiculous plot, this third in the series has none of the original cast, but manages to bring a sort–of 'new' element: the drift, which successfully carries the series along.
DVD $39.95, $49.95, $74.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
2 Fast 2 Furious2 Fast 2 Furious (Fast and the Furious 2, The) (2003)
2 stars (Good Try) Not as unique as the first, although with plenty of fast thrills, this sequel certainly misses Vin Diesel, but fans will still find something to like about it.
DVD $39.95, $49.95, $74.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Fast and the Furious, TheFast and the Furious, The (2001)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Fast cars, illegal street racing, thumping 2000s soundtrack, bad–boy Vin Diesel, and bad–girl Rodriguez bring you the Fast and the Furious, the first action/racing film in many years to successfully appeal to the young masses.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Fast and FuriousFast and Furious (Fast and The Furious 4, The) (2009)
1 star (Turkey) A disappointing fourth film in the series, this held some promise as a gruntier film, but poor action set pieces, acting, and directing make it just another sequel on the downward spiral.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Smokin' AcesSmokin' Aces (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) A surprise action title with entertaining, although obviously cartoonish characters, Smokin' Aces will have you laughing and cheering on your favourite team(s) of unique assassins, provided that you're partial to some senseless violence.
DVD $10 $5, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Smokin' Aces 2Smokin' Aces 2 (The Assassins Ball) (2010)
1 star (Turkey) A disappointing collection of characters and OTT action sequences that try to re–capture the essence of the first film but fail to do so. A fairly typical action sequel.
DVD $34.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1966)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) This is a classic B–grade roadie about a team of deadly fast women who sure know how to handle themselves. Tarantino was no doubt heavily 'inspired' by this one for his own 'Death Proof'.
Death ProofDeath Proof (2007)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Often a little too heavy on dialogue, and later exploding into non–stop car chase sequence, Death Proof will not be appreciated by everybody. Make no mistake, this is primarily a homage to classic B–grades like Faster Pussycat Kill Kill!
Castle, TheCastle, The (1997)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) An Australian/legal comedy which is both satirically funny and strangely insightful. This is definitely a DVD for the pool room.
DVD $19.95 $14.95
Outrageous Fortune (TV Series) - Series 1Outrageous Fortune (TV Series) - Series 1 (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of, if not THE, best NZ dramas ever made (film or television), Outrageous Fortune is a highly entertaining series with high production values and a well–penned script.
DVD $24.95, $70 $52.50
Flight of the Conchords - Season 1 (TV Series)Flight of the Conchords - Season 1 (TV Series) (2007)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A very Kiwi comedy set in NY, the Flight of the Conchords are unique and hilarious (especially in their first season) and surely deserve the fame they have achieved.
DVD $25 $18.75
Dead Man WalkingDead Man Walking (1996)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Penn is as intense and believable as ever in this tale of death row directed by star of Shawshank Redemption, Tim Robbins.
DVD $20 $10, $25 $18.75
Green Mile, TheGreen Mile, The (1999)
5 stars (Exceptional) Another Stephen King story of an innocent man in prison, this is a highly emotional story with a strong fantasy element. Very long, with many spine–tingling moments, and you may shed some tears by the end.
DVD $14.95
Shawshank Redemption, TheShawshank Redemption, The (1994)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Heralded as one of those films that should have won an award at the Oscars, but for some reason was overlooked, the Shawshank Redemption is a great story of an innocent man in prison, and also portrays the horrors of the system.
DVD $14.95
Prison Break - Season 1 (TV Series)Prison Break - Season 1 (TV Series) (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A unique premise that will keep you guessing with every episode, PrisonBreak held enough promise on the 1st season alone to carry it through 4 (increasingly implausible and ultimately awful) seasons. Watch the 1st season and pretend that's where it ended
DVD $59.95
Ricky Gervais - FameRicky Gervais - Fame (2007)
4 stars (Very Good) This is my favourite Gervais stand–up: a stab at celebrity fame and a number of current–world issues (think obesity and AIDs) with classic Gervais cheek (and arrogance).
DVD $29.95
Ricky Gervais LiveRicky Gervais Live (Animals, Politics) (2003-2004)
3 stars (Good Enough) Although not quite as funny as 'Fame', these are two classic stand–ups shows from Gervais that will have you laughing and wondering if you really should be.
DVD $19.95, $19.95, $19.95
SerenitySerenity (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A feature–length reboot of the single–season TV series Firefly, Whedon takes a bigger budget and crafts a great sci–fi tale complete with action, humour, romance, and conspiracy. If you enjoyed the TV show, or JJ Abrams' Star Trek, check this one out.
DVD $20 $15 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Firefly (TV Series)Firefly (TV Series) (2002)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A funny and mostly original sci–fi series carried by Adam Baldwin as ship captain of Serenity. Highly underrated sole season.
DVD $30 $22.50
Saving Private RyanSaving Private Ryan (1998)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A stunning WWII action/drama about the futility of war, Saving Private Ryan has some of the most realistic and graphic war sequences ever shot. The Normandy Landing scene in particular was groundbreaking and still holds up to this day.
DVD $24.95
Quantum Of SolaceQuantum Of Solace (2008)
4 stars (Very Good) Quantum of Solace is a thrilling ride, directly continuing the story from where Casino Royale finished up and refusing to let go or slow pace until the explosive final scenes. This is far less 'Bond' than any Bond film yet, but still an exhilarating rid
DVD $10 $5, $10 $5, $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Casino RoyaleCasino Royale (2006)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Casino Royale pushes the boundaries of the Bond Series, with a grittier, darker, and newer 007. The result is a brilliant spy/action movie, a great new Bond, and a new direction for future entries. Now how would you like your Martini?
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $25 $18.75
GoldeneyeGoldeneye (1996)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the best Bond films ever, with historical twists, an increasingly dubious sci–fi plot involving satellites, plus a brilliant and very–Bond mixture of tongue–in–cheek humour and OTT action.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Mission: ImpossibleMission: Impossible (1996)
3 stars (Good Enough) A great success in the 1990s, Mission Impossible is already starting to show its age, with action sequences that were once intriguing and original, but have now become standard for the spy genre.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Mission: Impossible 2Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
2 stars (Good Try) John Woo brings us his over the top vision for Mission Impossible with some ridiculous (yet admittedly cool–looking) stunts, twists, and a revamped theme. Fun despite its obvious flaws.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
EntrapmentEntrapment (1999)
3 stars (Good Enough) One of those heist films that seems to show on TV every few weeks, Entrapment is a fun and exciting ride with some unique ideas and a sexy cast. Yes, both Zeta–Jones and Connery.
DVD $29.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Wizard of Oz, TheWizard of Oz, The (1939)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) An all–time classic, with some wonderful moments – including those first steps on the yellow brick road.
DVD $25 $18.75
ScarfaceScarface (1983)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) De Palma's telling of the rise of Tony Montana is uber–violent, ruthless, and stunningly characterised by Pacino. Say hello to my little friend!
DVD $20 $10, $20 $15
Miami ViceMiami Vice (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) A decent DV revamp of the original TV series, although just as implausible, and at times just a little too 80s for its own good.
DVD $10 $5, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Batman and RobinBatman and Robin (1949)
2 stars (Good Try) The classic Black and White Batman and Robin, starring Robert Lowery and Johnny Duncan, which now comes across more comic–relief than anything else. Think Laurel and Hardey in tights. One for the avid collectors only.
DVD $25 $18.75
Batman (TV Series)Batman (TV Series) (1966-1968)Aro Favourite
2 stars (Good Try) A campy B–grade Batman from the original TV series with that most memorable themesong. This has certainly aged, but those who can remember back to the TV series will get a few good laughs.
Batman ForeverBatman Forever (1995)
1 star (Turkey) Carrey as the Riddler is a missed opportunity, Two–Face is ridiculous, and the introduction of Robin is a terrible idea. Skip this film and pretend that another Batman film didn't exist until Nolan's reboot.
DVD $14.95
Batman and RobinBatman and Robin (1997)
1 star (Turkey) Batman only gets worse, with Bat–suit nipples, appalling dialogue and an even worse plot. Schumacher should hang up his boots as film–maker and franchise–killer forever.
Batman ReturnsBatman Returns (1992)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Less dark and atmospheric than the previous Burton Batman, but still entertaining, if a little cartoonish at times. Great performances by all, making you wonder what went wrong with the next few films of the franchise after this...
DVD $14.95
BatmanBatman (1989)
5 stars (Exceptional) A gritty Gotham City, dark and yet strangely punk–era comic, this is one of those fantasy worlds that sucks you in and doesn't let go (see also 'The Crow'). Nicholson is fantastic, providing both comic relief and unpredictable violent outbursts.
DVD $14.95, $60 $45 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Batman: The Dark KnightBatman: The Dark Knight (2008)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) The film has moments of greatness: Heath's chilling and unique take on a psychotic Joker is on par with (although different to) Nicholson's, and Nolan pulls off some visual marvels. The opening scene alone is worth watching the film for.
DVD $14.95
Batman BeginsBatman Begins (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Rebooting the Batman franchise, Nolan does a fantastic job of portraying a gritty and often realistic Gotham city complete with origin story. Just enough fantasy elements, and easily the best Batman since Burton's 1989 film.
DVD $12 $9, $14.95 | Blu-Ray $20 $15
Iron Man Iron Man (2008)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Another superhero surprise, Iron Man shows how effective an origin story can be (think Spiderman, Batman Begins), with the surprise Robert Downey Jnr convincingly playing both multi–billionaire superstar and reluctant hero.
DVD $15 $11.25
Reservoir DogsReservoir Dogs (1992)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Very Tarantino, with sharp–edged pop–reference dialogue, plot twists, and violence aplenty. A low–budget heist classic.
Usual Suspects, TheUsual Suspects, The (1995)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A lengthy but brilliant mystery/suspense story of Keyser Soze, this is definitely one you should see, even if you haven't heard of it before. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled...
DVD $20 $15
TransformersTransformers (2007)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A fun surprise for the summer, Transformers has the standard Bay elements (explosions, cars, blockbuster plot holes), but brings some stunning visual effects and a worthy 21st century film version of the 80s cartoon.
DVD $29.95, $49.95 | Blu-Ray $59.95, $59.95
Transformers - Revenge Of The FallenTransformers - Revenge Of The Fallen (Transformers 2) (2009)
1 star (Turkey) Oh no. The first Bay Transformers was a surprise hit, while this over–budgeted sequel sinks so low that I was seriously tempted not to watch all the way through. Juvenile and overdone in almost every way.
DVD $12 $6, $39.95, $44.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95
Star TrekStar Trek (Star Trek XI (Reboot)) (2009)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) For a serious non–fan of the Star Trek series, I was suitably impressed. JJ Abrams has seriously raised the bar for the franchise, bringing a sci–fi tale which touches on many emotions and impresses the eyes.
DVD $15 $11.25, $34.95 | Blu-Ray $30 $22.50, $29.95
Inside ManInside Man (2006)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) An interesting premise, with some plot twists, good cast, solid performances, and clever heist elements which will no doubt be copied in the future.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Dog Day AfternoonDog Day Afternoon (1975)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A very strange and almost too–funny to be true story of a bank robbery gone wrong. Or right, if public fame is what you're after. Establishes a number of elements seen in more recent films like 'Inside Man'.
DVD $15 $11.25
Taxi DriverTaxi Driver (1976)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) De Niro is brilliant, as is a very young–looking Jodie Foster. Violent and psychotic, there is not much to the story, but De Niro establishes one of the most memorable characters in history. You lookin' at me?
CollateralCollateral (2004)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) The HD video has a unique look, and there are some very memorable scenes (including the crowded nightclub scene), but overall Collateral is not quite as gritty and believable as 'Heat'.
DVD $15 $11.25
Public EnemiesPublic Enemies (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) Mann keeps doing his own thing, and the film is at least unique in that respect. However, Public Enemies never quite lives up to the hype, despite some good performances, action sequences, and believable set pieces.
DVD $12, $29.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
Boat That Rocked, TheBoat That Rocked, The (Pirate Radio) (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) To be honest, there really isn't much here, with rock 'n roll undertones and attitudes never fully realised. But there are still a few laughs to be had.
DVD $15 $11.25
Eagle EyeEagle Eye (2008)
2 stars (Good Try) Beginning with a mysterious and compelling 'Big Brother' premise, this is one of those films which becomes more ridiculous the longer you watch, with initial suspense replaced with OTT sci–fi elements.
DVD $10 $5, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95
BoyBoy (2010)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) If the young Kiwi brothers in 'Two Cars, One Night' didn't make you laugh or steal your heart, they surely will here. This is a NZ indie classic that deserves your attention.
DVD $20 $15, $25
Eagle vs SharkEagle vs Shark (2007)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) New Zealand's 'Napoleon Dynamite', the awkward Jermaine Clement, is the undeniable star of the film, bringing both understated and cringe–worthy humour to a very Kiwi backdrop.
DVD $15 $11.25, $20 $15
Tale of Two Sisters, ATale of Two Sisters, A (Janghwa Hongryeon) (2003)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) One of the scarier films in recent memory, this psychological trip by Korean master Kim Ji–Woon will have you squirming and double–guessing.
DVD $29.95
Tin Drum, TheTin Drum, The (1979)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A very strange and disturbing feature film which will leave you speechless. Not for everyone, but if you do bring yourself to watch, you will find it unforgettable.
DVD $19.95
Tim Minchin - Ready For This?Tim Minchin - Ready For This? (2009)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) This is more Tim Minchin, although coming across less original, smart, or funny as he was in 'So Live', apart from the fantastic beat poem 'Storm', which is one of my all–time favourites.
DVD $39.95 $29.95
IT Crowd, The (TV Series)IT Crowd, The (TV Series) (2006)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Another underrated TV series featuring three main characters who work in IT and mostly appear to have no idea of what they are doing or what is going on in the company they work for. You'll know immediately whether you'll take to this comedy.
Black Books (TV Series)Black Books (TV Series) (2002)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Dylan Moran is perfect as a bookstore owner who hates customers and, well, most people. His odd sense of humour is nicely complemented by Bailey's vacant optimism and Greig's honesty.
DVD $25 $18.75
Danny Bhoy: Live at the Sydney Opera HouseDanny Bhoy: Live at the Sydney Opera House (2007)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the funniest standup comedy DVDs I have seen; Danny Bhoy is really on top form.
Tim Minchin - So LiveTim Minchin - So Live (2007)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Quirky and clever, this is the first of Tim Minchin's tours and well worth watching for fans of musical comedy.
Tim Minchin - Rock 'N' Roll NerdTim Minchin - Rock 'N' Roll Nerd (2008)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Tim Minchin is as much of an interesting character off–stage as on, as documented here in his rise to fame. Some personal and professional setbacks, and an interesting insight to the comedy industry, this is a documentary well worth watching.
Van HelsingVan Helsing (2004)Recommended
1 star (Turkey) A very disappointing vampire/fantasy outing that attempts to draw together several different universes and ultimately fails to deliver a convincing world of its own. For all its promise, the film only gets worse the longer you sit through it.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Blade - TrinityBlade - Trinity (2004)
2 stars (Good Try) Trinity is a disappointing outing that fails to improve on the Blade formula in any way. Reynolds provides unrelenting one–liners for attempted comic relief and Biel unabashedly promotes the iPod. At least Snipes is his usual ass–kicking self.
DVD $14.95, $24.95
Blade 2Blade 2 (2002)
4 stars (Very Good) Not quite as gritty as the original, but bringing more to the table in terms of ideas and action, Blade is back to take out vampires, as well as a new kind of super–prey.
DVD $24.95
Vampire Hunter D - BloodlustVampire Hunter D - Bloodlust (2001)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) D is back with a cool combination of Japanese and Western elements, as well as a blend of futuristic sci–fi weapons and old–fashioned ass–kicking. A very stylish vampire anime.
DVD $29.95
Terminator, TheTerminator, The (1984)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) The first of what was to become a franchise, this sci–fi suspense debut is less action than T2, but shows off plenty of attitude and menace.
DVD $20 $15
Terminator 2: Judgement DayTerminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Suspend all judgment: this is one of THE action films to see, with never–seen–before special effects that hold up to this day.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95, $29.95
Hellboy 2: The Golden ArmyHellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Hellboy 2 expands on the successful elements of the first, bringing a more consistent and visually lavish world this time around. Still not as epic as promised by the trailer, but a notable improvement for the series.
DVD $15 $7.50, $39.95, $44.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95
HellboyHellboy (2004)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) Hellboy certainly has its own personality and charm, although it often comes a little too close to comic for its own good.
DVD $15 $11.25 | Blu-Ray $14.95
BladeBlade (1998)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A gritty and dark vampire world with plenty of bloody and fast–paced action later gives way to OTT plot, acting, and effects sequences which remain stylish, even if largely meaningless.
DVD $14.95
Matrix, TheMatrix, The (1998)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) An absolute must–see actioner, complete with the first–ever bullet–time slow–motion effects, a gritty sci–fi world, dual realities, and philosophical underpinnings.
DVD $19.95 $14.95
Red DragonRed Dragon (2002)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Red Dragon is a return to the same psychological suspense roots of 'Silence of the Lambs', with Ratner eliciting great performances – most notably, Hopkins and Fiennes – and keeping us guessing throughout.
DVD $19.95 $14.95
ManhunterManhunter (1986)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Cox is a very different Hannibal Lector to what we are now accustomed to (thanks to Anthony Hopkins), but this remains a tense psychological suspense story, if a little dated thanks to the classic 80s score and presentation.
Silence of the LambsSilence of the Lambs (1991)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Hopkins is perfectly sinister as Dr Lector in this spine–tingling suspense story penned by Harris. A classic horror/suspense/thriller which should be experienced.
SevenSeven (Se7en) (1995)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) A brilliant feature debut from Fincher, this gritty and dark detective thriller thrusts together an almost perfect cast and has them play out a sinister script that will have you on the edge of your seat – and trembling in its final moments.
Ghost in the ShellGhost in the Shell (1995)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Building on the success of feature length anime such as ‘Akira’, Ghost in the Shell ups the ante in presentation, action, and philosophical underpinnings, making this superior even if not quite as groundbreaking.
DVD $25 $18.75, $39.95
AkiraAkira (1989)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) With incredible hand–drawn animation and a unique sci–fi world, this is the one anime film definitely worth seeing even if you're not a fan of the genre.
Blu-Ray $39.95
CasshernCasshern (2004)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Visually impressive, with an almost half–half mixture of live acting and CG sets, Casshern is a magnificent futuristic sci–fi world with serious style and fast–paced action.
DVD $15 $11.25
MetropolisMetropolis (1926)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) The film that almost ruined a studio, Metropolis may be dated in terms of acting and presentation, but still stands as a marvel of sci–fi achievement in its design, effects, and visual marvels.
DVD $25 $18.75, $39.95 $19.95 | Blu-Ray $29.92 $19.95
Blade RunnerBlade Runner (1982)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A sci–fi classic, Blade Runner's magnificent world of strange futuristic sights is dripping with style and atmosphere. The director’s cut, while slightly more confusing, finally brings us Ridley's original vision.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
ZombielandZombieland (2009)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Zombies, gore, a varied cast (from Harrelson’s “don’t mess with me” craziness to Eisenberg’s geeky everyman), and slick visuals. Highlights include Harrelson’s zombie kill of the week moments and Eisenberg’s survival rules guide.
DVD $14.95 $10
Dead SnowDead Snow (Død Snø) (2009)
4 stars (Very Good) This is a splatter through and through, with little original content and plenty of references to other horror titles. But it’s still highly and violently entertaining, especially with friends. Plus the viral ad campaign was pure gold: “Dead Snow My Ass.”
DVD $29.95
MoonMoon (2009)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Rockwell is brilliant as the lone moon base operator, carrying almost the entire film solo. However, if you’re not a fan of his peculiar performances, or of sci–fi in general, you should probably sit this one out.
DVD $20 $15
Snakes on a PlaneSnakes on a Plane (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) Laugh–out–loud ridiculous, the success of the film comes down to Samuel L's ability to cite fantastically OTT B–grade one–liners with such conviction and attitude that there is nothing you can do but laugh. Is this worth 1–star or 5?
DVD $19.95
Wanted Wanted (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) Timur makes his move to the US with Wanted (to the disappointment of many expecting a 3rd in the 'Day/Night Watch' saga). With some outrageous visual effects and Jolie's sex appeal, this is more Hollywood than Timur's previous films, but still enjoyab
DVD $10 $5, $29.95
Day WatchDay Watch (Dnevnoi Dozor, Daywatch) (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) Timur continues his saga with Day Watch, this time bringing more outrageous special effects, if somewhat less original the second–time around. If you enjoyed the first, definitely check this one out.
DVD $10 $5
Night WatchNight Watch (Nochnoi Dozor, aka. Nightwatch) (2004)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Timur really brings his own visual style to the table in this unique sci–fi blend from Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko. Well–worth seeing for its original universe and visual flair (to be continued in Day Watch)...
Blu-Ray $29.95, $44.95
3 Spike Lee Joints3 Spike Lee Joints (Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Clockers) Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A fine collection of Spike Lee films, this is a a must–buy for fans of Lee's work.
Do the Right ThingDo the Right Thing (1989)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) This racially–charged drama takes place during one of the hottest days of a Brooklyn suburb, the frustrations of ordinary people threatening to erupt into something far more serious...
DVD $39.95
Mean StreetsMean Streets (1973)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Gritty, hard–hitting drama set in a NY Italian hood, this classic of the genre comes together with fine directing, editing, acting, and soundtrack selection.
DVD $29.95
Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, AGuide to Recognizing Your Saints, A (2006)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) With some brilliant scenes and great performances, A Guide to Recognizing your Saints is always emotionally–charged and energetic, if lacking in originality. Well worth a watch, but won't be remembered as a classic.
DVD $14.95
Boyz N the HoodBoyz N the Hood (1991)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Singleton proves that he can portray the 'hood' just as authentically and engagingly as Spike Lee, with notable performances from all.
DVD $20 $15
RizeRize (2005)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Visually compelling and emotionally–charged documentary about the Krumping and Clowning dance movements, this LaChapelle feature is both original and down–to–earth, if lacking in story.
DVD $15 $11.25
Up in Smoke Tour, TheUp in Smoke Tour, The (2000)
4 stars (Very Good) One of the greatest hip hop shows can be viewed from the safety of your living room, minus the live chronic, flashing girls, and other shenanigans. Includes entertaining backstage footage and all of the top 1990s rap songs.
DVD $19.95
Blindspott - The Story So FarBlindspott - The Story So Far (2003)
2 stars (Good Try) Fans of the band will appreciate this comprehensive collection of music videos and backstage footage, but there isn't much else here to draw you in.
Metallica - S & MMetallica - S & M (2000)
4 stars (Very Good) One of the best music concerts that you can watch on DVD, this showcase of original metal band Metallica shows their versatility, grouping them with the San Fran Symphony Orchestra to bring a new dimension to their music.
DVD $49.95, $49.95
Apocalypse Now ReduxApocalypse Now Redux (1979)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) The redux version of the brilliant Apocalypse Now may add to the audio/visual experience, but the lengthy additions ultimately do little to add to the journey. The original (if you can find a copy) is recommended for first–time viewers.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Apocalypse NowApocalypse Now (1979)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the greatest war films ever made, based in part on Conrad's Heart of Darkness, this nightmarish tale tells of the futility of war, compellingly drawing us in to the minds of the men who have been to this hell.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Rescue DawnRescue Dawn (2006)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) An engaging war drama centred on the lives of prisoners held in the Vietnamese jungle, and in particular, Dieter Dengler, and his obsession with escape. More of a drama than action film, this (mainly) authentic tale is a fresh take on the Vietnam war.
DVD $20 $15
Net, TheNet, The (1995)
2 stars (Good Try) Young Bullock stars in a film that preyed on our 1990s internet naivety. Not as good or as much fun as The Hackers, but starring Wolfenstein 3D.
DVD $20 $15
HackersHackers (1995)
3 stars (Good Enough) A 1990s cyberpunk adventure in which hackers Jonny Lee Miller and a young short–haired Angelina Jolie (once married) team up to take on big–corporation conspiracy. Complete with early 90s cyber arcades, prodigy soundtrack, and rollerblading.
DVD $20 $15
Jackass (TV Series)Jackass (TV Series) (2001)
3 stars (Good Enough) By now you know the drill: Knoxville and his crew are here to make you laugh and cringe at their misfortune. A collection of the most outrageous bits from the TV series.
CKY TrilogyCKY Trilogy (1999-2003)
2 stars (Good Try) The Jackass boys are younger and even more immature in this original series of hand–held camerawork and low–budget stunts (predominantly skate–boarding). See where it all began...
DVD $49.95
Jackass Number TwoJackass Number Two (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) The Jackass boys have a knack for upping the ante, which is exactly what they do in this second feature film, bringing more disgusting and outrageous stunts and risking their livelihood for the sake of our laughter.
DVD $24.95
Jackass: The MovieJackass: The Movie (2002)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) These boys may be crude, immature, and at times downright disgusting, but for some reason you won't be able to stop laughing when they get injured and beat–up by themselves and other ridiculous environmental hazards. Watch with the boys and some beers.
DVD $19.95, $24.95, $29.95
Once Upon a Time in MexicoOnce Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)
4 stars (Very Good) The third of RR's Mexican trilogy, El Mariachi ups the ante with more guns, more deaths, more over–the–top acting, and a surprise stunning and hilarious performance from Depp who adds to the original Desperado cast. His food had better be good...
DVD $14.95
DesperadoDesperado (1995)
4 stars (Very Good) Even better than El Mariachi, although on a far greater budget this time around, Desperado will have you laughing from your seat at the ridiculously over–the–top action sequences, complete with flame–throwing and rocket–launching guitar cases.
DVD $20 $15
El MariachiEl Mariachi (1992)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A low–budget actioner from the low–budget king of special effects himself, Robert Rodriguez. RR shows us how to make an entertaining and visually exciting film on a shoestring budget.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A very well–scripted Western drama/conman–comedy, with outstanding chemistry between Newman and Redford, a great score, some great action, and all–time–classic moments that will keep this film on your top list for many years to come.
StickmenStickmen (2000)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A fun New Zealand comedy/drama that at the very least will have you and your mates laughing and keen to get back into the poolhalls again to see if anyone can really pull off 'the drunken master'.
Color of Money, TheColor of Money, The (1986)
3 stars (Good Enough) Cruise is even more of a hard–case than Newman in 'The Hustler', fighting to beat every opponent and prove something to himself – what, we're never sure. Enjoyable poolhall drama with arrogant Cruise on top form, if a little cartoonish at times.
Sting, TheSting, The (1973)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A must–see film for fans of the hustle/conman genre, The Sting makes use of the brilliant on–screen chemistry of Redford and Newman seen in 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'. Complete with a classic soundtrack.
Hustler, TheHustler, The (1961)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A classic poolhall drama, complete with hustles, bluffs, and some fantastic pool shots. All filmed in beautiful black and white, and starring an edgy young Newman who refuses to give in.
Army of DarknessArmy of Darkness (1992)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Awesomely silly horror–fantasy–medieval world in which Campbell tackles the undead with a chainsaw as an arm and boomstick in hand. The effects may have aged, but the one–liners are still great.
DVD $19.95
House of 1000 CorpsesHouse of 1000 Corpses (2003)
2 stars (Good Try) This debut feature film from Zombie may be nightmarish and bloody, but it lacks structure and coherence, the latter half of the film in particular coming across more like a disjointed collection of horror clips. That said, it is strangely frightening.
DVD $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95
Devil's Rejects, TheDevil's Rejects, The (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) A more coherent outing than Zombie's previous, this blend of action and horror will have you on the edge of your seat the whole way through. Provided that you’re not shy of a little… well, a lot, of blood.
HeatHeat (1995)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A gritty and realistic action/thriller classic, with Mann at his best. The lengthy street shoot–out resonates as one of the best of the 1990s.
Infernal AffairsInfernal Affairs (2002)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A seemingly straightforward tale, bar the cat–and–mouse twists and turns of deception and lies, this is a brilliant police/gangster film with superb performances from Lau and Leung.
DVD $35 $26.25
Departed, TheDeparted, The (2006)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Scorsese is back on form with this brilliant retelling of the 'Infernal Affairs' films. While not as focussed as the Hong Kong equivalents, The Departed is arguably deeper, grittier, more violent, and – well, superior.
DVD $15 $11.25
GoodfellasGoodfellas (1990)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the all time greatest gangster films, Scorsese gives us a detailed and emotional insight to the violent, cruel, and edgy lives of young wannabe 'Made Men'. Brilliant performances from all, and a script that captures even the smallest of details.
DVD $15 $11.25
CasinoCasino (1995)
4 stars (Very Good) Scorsese's spiritual successor to 'Goodfellas', this tale is just as violent and cruel, but lacks the brilliant insights and character development of the Oscar–deserving 'Goodfellas'.
DVD $29.95
Leaving Las VegasLeaving Las Vegas (1995)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Cage is simply brilliant in this staggering tale of a man's self–loathing drink–obsessed quest for a life worth living. Vegas is no holiday destination, and 'Leaving Las Vegas' is not for the faint of heart.
DVD $20 $15
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New OrleansBad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Cage brings a raw, dark, and often humorous desperation to his descent into addiction and madness that is reminiscent of his earlier 'Leaving Las Vegas'. Treading a fine line between amoral and immoral, we're never sure whether to love or hate him.
Training DayTraining Day (2001)
4 stars (Very Good) A very well put together tale of crooked cops and honourable street thugs, with Denzel stealing the show as Detective Alonzo Harris, and Hawke playing a convincing rookie.
DVD $15 $11.25
Street KingsStreet Kings (2008)
2 stars (Good Try) Not as good as either LA Confidential or Training Day, but fans of the genre may find something they like if they can get past Keanu's take on the tough–guy cop.
DVD $19.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Dawn of the DeadDawn of the Dead (2004)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A more graphic and frenetic retelling of Romero's classic, Snyder replaces the walking dead with running dead, a modern score, some dark humour, and some very memorable sequences.
DVD $15 $11.25
Dawn of the DeadDawn of the Dead (Zombies, Dawn of the Dead) (1979)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) The Zombie movie to define zombie movies, this Romero classic is a must for zombie and survival movie fans alike.
BraindeadBraindead (Dead Alive) (1992)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) Not quite as great a B–grade splatter as 'Bad Taste', although there are a few cringy and memorable moments, and the occasional Wellington backdrop is a nice reminder of Jackson's more humble beginnings as weekend film–maker.
Lovely Bones, TheLovely Bones, The (2009)
2 stars (Good Try) A film which begins strong, with promises of a great tale, but later getting caught up in special effects and neglecting the elements of drama and emotion that it first struck up.
DVD $20 $15
Inglorious BastardsInglorious Bastards (Quel maledetto treno blindato) (1978)
2 stars (Good Try) One for the Tarantino collection if you must, but not as enjoyable as Quentin's own similar–titled WWII adventure, nor as entertaining as titles along the lines of The Dirty Dozen, or even Kelly's Heroes.
Inglourious BasterdsInglourious Basterds (Inglorious Bastards) (2009)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Inglorious Basterds begins as serious WWII affair starring the incredible Mr Waltz, before becoming more and more Tarantino in dialogue, quirk, and violence. A great ride as always, but don't be fooled into thinking this is a mature Tarantino at work.
DVD $15, $24.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Ginga: The Soul of Brasilian FootballGinga: The Soul of Brasilian Football (2005)
4 stars (Very Good) Great documentary with the same type of visual presentation as the 'City of Men' series, focussed on young Brazillian soccer players and their 'art' of football. Highlights include a young one–legged player with incredible skills.
DVD $24.95
21 Grams21 Grams (2003)
3 stars (Good Enough) Using his unconventional mash–up of interwoven characters and scenes, Alejandro brings us another film that steals the air from your lungs if not your heart from your chest.
DVD $24.95 $14.95
Amores PerrosAmores Perros (Love's a Bitch) (2000)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Not for the faint of heart, this interweaved storyline of violence and emotion, while sometimes a little too raw, packs a punch that is hard to match.
DVD $19.95
Pulp FictionPulp Fiction (1994)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Pulp Fiction is the perfect title for this mash–up of cultural references, intertwined storylines, snappy Tarantino dialogue, and wonderful cast. Now, who doesn't know what a quarter pounder is called in France?
DVD $20 $15, $19.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95 $19.95
Sin CitySin City (2005)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A guilty pleasure painstakingly translated to film with the same visual flair and cartoonish violence of the graphic novels, and almost perfectly cast. Now where did the sequel ever get to?
DVD $15 $11.25
V for VendettaV for Vendetta (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) As with the first Matrix, the Wachowski Brothers have penned an impressively deep and stylistic action flick. Hire it and remember remember this 5th of November.
DVD $34.95 $19.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95 $19.95
Children of MenChildren of Men (2006)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A very human and moving future world, gritty and down–to–earth, and brilliantly captured with impressively elaborate and chaotic single–shot sequences.
DVD $20 $15
28 Weeks Later28 Weeks Later (2007)
3 stars (Good Enough) With a bigger budget comes a film that looks great and has moments of excellence, but overall fails to substantively overcome the greatness of the first.
28 Days Later28 Days Later (2003)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) While not fresh on paper, this frenetic tale of a zombie–infested Britain can only be commended for its impressive scenes of abandoned and post–apocalyptic London streets.
CloverfieldCloverfield (2008)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) The impressive visual effects and relentless first–person viewpoint fail to let go from the start, even if the hand–held camerawork is a bit much at times. The mysterious post 9/11 marketing strategy for Cloverfield was pure genius.
DVD $15 $11.25 | Blu-Ray $29.95 $10, $29.95
District 9District 9 (2009)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) The apartheid message in the film is just a little too obvious to be deeply meaningful, but the visual effects are unique and spectacular, and the acting keeps the alternate–reality grounded and believable.
DVD $15 $11.25
Mary and MaxMary and Max (2008)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A touching tale of the strange friendship between young girl and Asperger's middle–aged man delves into a number of real–world issues with a sweet naievity that can only bring a smile to your face.
Paradise NowParadise Now (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) An ambitious and all–too–real portrayal of life on the West Bank. ‘Paradise Now’ is an unexpected and underrated gem that will linger in the back of your mind for weeks.
Waltz With BashirWaltz With Bashir (Vals Im Bashir) (2008)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) An intense animated picture exploring PTSD, memories of wartime events, and the long–lasting effects of war. The final moments of this waltz will leave you speechless.
DVD $20 $15
This Film is Not Yet RatedThis Film is Not Yet Rated (2006)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A brilliant up–close look at the censorship of film and media, including interviews with some of our time's most controversial film–makers.
Not Quite Hollywood Not Quite Hollywood (2007)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the best film–related documentaries I have ever seen, 'Not Quite Hollywood' explores the otherwise untold tales of Australian exploitation and grindhouse flicks, complete with director and actor commentaries, and a cool visual presentation.
Exorcist, TheExorcist, The (1973)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Still intensely uneasy and at times revolting, this straightforward horror tale relies more on in–your–face scares than down–your–spine chills.
DVD $20 $15
Sixth Sense, TheSixth Sense, The (1999)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) If only we could watch a movie without any knowledge of having seen it before or knowing of the twists to come. An intense and moving first viewing—only sad that we can never capture that final moment of realisation more than once.
Others, TheOthers, The (2001)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Henry James meets Shyamalan in this tale of twists and turns, constantly reminding us that the less we see, the creepier each moment becomes.
Orphanage, The Orphanage, The (El Orfanato) (2007)Aro Favourite
2 stars (Good Try) Heavy on the chilling atmosphere and spooky children, although somewhat too familiar to remain memorable.
Pan's LabyrinthPan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del fauno) (2006)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) An adult–fairytale set in WWII, with unforgettable visual marvels and thick emotion courtesy of a high–performing cast.
DVD $20 $15
City of Lost ChildrenCity of Lost Children (1995)Aro Favourite
3 stars (Good Enough) Visually wonderful, and drawing on many of the same ideas as Delicatessen, though somewhat overdone and lacking in direction.
DVD $20 $15
DelicatessenDelicatessen (1992)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) One of the darkest comedies you will ever experience, and still standing as Jean–Pierre's evil masterpiece.
Le Dernier CombatLe Dernier Combat (The Last Battle) (1983)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) No–doubt an impressive and ambitious debut, although a little too–strange for most, and combining so many elements that it at times loses its way.
DVD $19.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95 $24.95
AtlantisAtlantis (1992)
3 stars (Good Enough) A visual masterpiece, if something more like a lavish screensaver than a feature film.
DVD $29.95 $19.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95 $29.95
Leon The Professional, TheLeon The Professional, The (Professional, The) (1994)
5 stars (Exceptional) Expanding on the Nikita formula, Luc Besson successfully crosses the border to American film–making, keeping his film fresh and free from cliché.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Green ZoneGreen Zone (2010)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A good actioner, if somewhat more shallow than it would have you believe. Yes, there is talk of political agendas and government coverups, but at the end of the day this is another film with too–much handheld camerawork and other standard action elements.
DVD $15 $11.25
Hurt Locker, TheHurt Locker, The (2008)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) 'The Hurt Locker' brings something new to the Iraq war formula with Bigelow's take on a soldier’s adrenaline addiction. A teeth–grittingly tense portrayal of life in a bomb–disposal unit.
DVD $19.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95 $14.95
Letters From Iwo JimaLetters From Iwo Jima (2006)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Eastwood's Japanese take on WWII is a far superior outing to 'Flags of our Fathers', portrayed less as a political drama than a human drama about the futility of war.
Flags of our FathersFlags of our Fathers (2006)Recommended
1 star (Turkey) A disappointing overly long and political American war feature, shown up in every aspect by its companion piece 'Letters From Iwo Jima'.
DVD $39.95 $14.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95 $19.95
Band of Brothers (TV Series)Band of Brothers (TV Series) (2001)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the most brilliant mini–series and WWII dramas ever created, this has all the feel of 'Saving Private Ryan' but with more detailed character development and storyline.
DVD $30 $22.50, $60 $45, $49.95
Pacific, The (TV Series)Pacific, The (TV Series) (2010)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) While commendable that Hanks and Spielberg have finally brought WWII to the Pacific, the series falls down in almost every aspect when compared to the older and more superior Band of Brothers.
Zidane - A 21st Century PortraitZidane - A 21st Century Portrait (2006)
4 stars (Very Good) As close to the inside of a football player's head as you can be taken (and in particular, one of the century's greatest players). This is beautiful and focussed, but only avid soccer fans should apply.
Pink Floyd - The WallPink Floyd - The Wall (1982)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) An incredible experience that defies all description. Simultaneously an extended music video and political message; you have to enter this world to truly know what you're in for.
WoodstockWoodstock (1970)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Another cult and musical classic which deserves to be seen – at least in part – by the entire world. Peace and love and rock and roll.
City of Violence, TheCity of Violence, The (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) Entertaining actioner with some cool fight scenes, ‘A City of Violence’ cuts frantically between gritty and cartoonish, although comes off just a little too kitsch at times.
No Mercy For The RudeNo Mercy For The Rude (2006)
4 stars (Very Good) Another 'Park' is on the scene, with his take on the gritty and darkly–humorous Korean gangster genre. A sweet, violent, and funny incursion made plausible by the brilliant lead actor.
DVD $29.95 $19.95
Batman: Gotham KnightBatman: Gotham Knight (2008)
3 stars (Good Enough) Very similar to the Animatrix, this is a collection of six very different (in visuals and substance) animated films involving the Dark Knight, adding to the already vast Batman universe.
DVD $14.95, $19.95 | Blu-Ray $19.95, $19.95
Let The Right One In Let The Right One In (2008)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) The first vampire flick in years to truly strike a chord, 'Let the Right One In' is compelling, suspenseful, and so realistic and gripping that you might be forgiven for completely forgetting that this is a supernatural tale.
WatchmenWatchmen (2009)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) While a faithful film rendition of the Moore/Gibbons masterpiece graphic novel, with sleek visuals and one of the most impressive opening credit sequences in recent memory, Snyder's Watchmen somehow loses much of its character, essence, and oomph.
DVD $15 $11.25, $20 $15
Watchmen Animated: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the HoodWatchmen Animated: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood (2008)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A neat little addition to the Watchmen universe for fans of the Comic – the Black Freighter being a fictional comic within the original Moore/Gibbons masterpiece. Worth picking up at discount price.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Fistful of Dollars, AFistful of Dollars, A (1964)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A Fistful of Dollars contains some of the most memorable sequences in spaghetti–western history, with both Leone and Eastwood making their mark.
High Plains DrifterHigh Plains Drifter (1973)
4 stars (Very Good) An unforgettably grim and bloody Western played perfectly by Clint Eastwood as the anti–hero, who within the first few minutes has shocked with multiple murders and rape, while somehow remaining likeable.
DVD $15 $11.25, $20 $15
Bittersweet Life, ABittersweet Life, A (2005)
3 stars (Good Enough) Slick, stylish, dark, and at times tongue–in–cheek hilarious, although never quite as deep or affecting as fellow Korean Chan–Wook Park's 'Old Boy'.
DVD $29.95
Old BoyOld Boy (Oldboy) (2004)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Both visually stunning and psychologically disturbing, this gangster thriller from the Korean master of his own genre never fails to impress on first or second viewing.
MementoMemento (2000)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A modern noir/thriller/mystery told simultaneously backwards and forwards, with Guy Pearce a convincing sufferer of extreme anterograde amnesia and seeking self–destructive vengeance at all costs.
DVD $25 $18.75, $30 $22.50
Californication (TV Series)Californication (TV Series) (2007)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Duchovny is perfect as Hank Moody, a writer (loosely based on real–life self–loather Bukowski) unable to write, living a sex–filled but otherwise shallow existence in LA while trying to get his family back together. A show with heart, balls, and swagger.
DVD $39.95, $39.95, $44.95, $44.95
Burn Notice (TV Series) Burn Notice (TV Series) (2007)
4 stars (Very Good) A highly under–rated series of spy–lovers’ Bond meets Borne, kept light–hearted thanks to the undeniable charm of Donovan and Campbell, and the ever–present comradery of Michael, Sam, and Fiona.
DVD $49.95
Entourage (TV Series)Entourage (TV Series) (2004)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A boyish romp of insider's LA, Entourage somehow amounts to more than the sum of its parts, remaining funny and fresh for at least the first few (short) seasons. Entourage is worth experiencing just to witness Piven in his standout role as Ari Gold.
DVD $15 $11.25, $15 $11.25, $15 $11.25, $40 $30
30 Rock (TV Series) - Season 130 Rock (TV Series) - Season 1 (2006)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A TV series which not only grew on me over the course of the first season, but at times had me in fits of uncontrollable laughter thanks to the hysterically unpredictable and dysfunctional interactions between cast members. Tracy Morgan at his funniest.
DVD $15 $11.25, $44.95, $99.95
True LiesTrue Lies (1994)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) A ridiculous wannabe–Bond action film that plays out like a collection of all–time most expensive set pieces. Cameron and Arnie prove that you need more than a big budget, exploding Harrier Jets, and rooftop horse–chase sequences to make a good film.
DVD $40 $30
Knight and DayKnight and Day (2010)
2 stars (Good Try) An ultimately shallow and mainstream affair that still managed to elicit a few unwitting chuckles due to Cruises’ characteristic arrogant boyishness and Diaz’s blonde naivety.
DVD $12 $6, $39.95 $19.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Exit Through the Gift ShopExit Through the Gift Shop (2010)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) This is Banksy through and through, from the dark sense of humour, to the sarcastic portrayal of critics and artists alike. One of this year's films you must see.
RockyRocky (1976)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) The original Rocky hits hard with the honest tale of a simple man seeking more from life than he was dealt. Sly's own character shines through in his fight to make a name for himself in the industry, and in the end he deserves to have done so.
DVD $25 $18.75
Rocky IIRocky II (1979)
3 stars (Good Enough) Rocky II capitalises on the still–fresh success of the first, with Sly still convincingly portraying life's underdog.
Blu-Ray $29.95
Rocky IIIRocky III (Rocky 3) (1982)
2 stars (Good Try) This second sequel fails to add much of anything to the Rocky formula bar a couple of new fighters, including Mr T.
DVD $29.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Rocky IVRocky IV (Rocky 4) (1985)
2 stars (Good Try) The fights may be intense, and Rocky may still be the guy we cheer for in each, but the franchise finds itself on a slippery downhill...
Blu-Ray $29.95, $59.95
Rocky VRocky V (Rocky 5) (1990)
1 star (Turkey) Even for an avid Rocky fan, this one is worth sitting out.
DVD $29.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Rocky BalboaRocky Balboa (Rocky VI) (2006)
3 stars (Good Enough) The concept may seem ridiculous on paper, but Sly delivers Balboa with the same honest and hard–fought raw underdog emotion that Rocky first became known for.
DVD $29.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Kill Bill - Vol. 2Kill Bill - Vol. 2 (2004)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A slightly more mature continuation of The Bride's quest for revenge, feeling at times like a separate film entirely, Tarantino pays homage to classic Westerns, Chinese martial arts, and modern–day superheroes to name but a few.
Kill Bill - Vol. 1Kill Bill - Vol. 1 (2003)
3 stars (Good Enough) The epitome of a teenage boy's (Tarantino's) ultimate martial arts action flick homage: a sexy blonde ninja with a score to settle and a million soon–to–bloodied foes in her way. Starring old favourites Gordon Liu, Sonny Chiba, and David Carradine.
36th Chamber of Shaolin, The36th Chamber of Shaolin, The (Master Killer) (1978)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) A film that any real martial arts fanatic should have already seen more than once. A testament to the capture of real martial arts on film, Gordon Liu proves we don't need convenient cuts, sped–up film, CGI or other Hollywood tricks.
Rocky Horror Picture ShowRocky Horror Picture Show (1975)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) It may be strange and quirky, but this O’Brien classic is a cult phenomenon that no one should miss. For crawling, on the planet's face, are some insects, called the human race. Lost in time, and lost in space... and meaning.
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95
Taste of Cherry, ATaste of Cherry, A (1997)Aro Favourite
1 star (Turkey) A dull and painful slump through one man's depression and lack of will to live. Not worth losing your own over.
Lives of Others, TheLives of Others, The (2006)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A long and ultimately disappointing, over–rated piece of war history. While the characters and acting are brilliant, the film overall is a squandered opportunity of history–telling that somehow struck the highest chord with critics worldwide.
From Dusk Till DawnFrom Dusk Till Dawn (1996)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A Robert–Quentin fanboy roadie–natural–born–killers–zombie–slasher flick that isn't completely sure of itself, and hence fails to fully rise beyond its bloody B–grade pieces.
Planet TerrorPlanet Terror (2007)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Another rare B–grade splatter that takes it all the way, and then pushes a little further. Finally, the Grindhouse is back!
Fight ClubFight Club (1999)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Sadly, if you didn't see Fight Club in the late 90s and before the spoilers, you may have missed your chance to fairly and fully experience the brilliant and now cliché pop–culture phenomenon that it has become.
DVD $20 $15
Choke Choke (2008)
1 star (Turkey) A disappointing rendition of a darkly humorous Pahlanuik affair—although perhaps a film portrayal of the precocious protagonist was always doomed to fail.
DVD $19.95
IntactoIntacto (2001)Aro Favourite
2 stars (Good Try) Intacto called out as a film due to press all the right buttons for a deep and stylistic suspense drama. However, it ultimately winds up as a collection of compelling ideas that fail to live up to their promise in both style and substance.
DVD $19.95
Run Lola RunRun Lola Run (1998)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Viewing more like an extended music–video than feature film, this colourful romp with Lola is brief, thrilling, sometimes unpredictable, and somehow always entertaining.
Bad TasteBad Taste (1987)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of those very rare B–grade splatter films that festers and mutates in the minds of its many cult followers until no longer discernable from a top–tier–production. Simply brilliant, and the included documentary alone is worth the price of admission.
BrickBrick (2005)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) A modern noir and underdog hit, this first feature film from Johnson is complete with dark–comedy deadpan and detective/murder mystery spawned from both Raymond Chandler's witty noir and Anthony Burgess' quirky dialogue.
DVD $20 $15
Twin Peaks - Season 1 (TV Series)Twin Peaks - Season 1 (TV Series) (1990)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) A TV series that gets deeper and stranger the more you watch. Both daring and provocative, Frost and Lynch have earned Twin Peaks a place in TV and cult history alongside other classics such as The Twilight Zone.
Road, TheRoad, The (2009)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) A film so heavy on tension and pending doom (if not of our lead characters, then of all humanity) that it at times threatens to outweigh any pleasure gleaned through its watching. A bleaker post–apocalyptic world has never existed.
Crow, TheCrow, The (1993)
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the grittiest fantasy films ever made, dripping in raw style, attitude, and 1990s grunge, with a little martial arts, rock, and a whole lot of awesome. Cult followers gather around.
DVD $15 $11.25
Crouching Tiger, Hidden DragonCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Not only a majestic and beautiful action film, but a touching love story as well. A wuxia masterpiece, and a worthy spritual successor of 'A Touch of Zen'.
DVD $10 $7.50
Killer, TheKiller, The (1989)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Another stunner from John Woo and Chow Yun–Fat, although a little heavy on the melodrama at times. The plot may be ridiculous, but the action sequences are among the best ever realised.
Hard-BoiledHard-Boiled (1992)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the greatest action films ever made, with John Woo and Chow Yun–Fat at their best. A truly brilliant bullet–fest. Now, if only we could get this remastered...
NosferatuNosferatu (1922)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) One of the all time greatest horror, suspense, vampire, Dracula, and silent pictures ever made. Max Schreck is Nosferatu, and Nosferatu is the precedent for vampire films.
NosferatuNosferatu (1979)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) The original vampyre is back, with Klaus Kinski proving that he is just as sinister, hypnotic, and naturally strange–looking as 1922's (also German) Max Schreck.

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