Angeldust - My Video Collection

My Video Collection

After cataloguing my music collection I thought it was about time I did my films as well.  I have controversially listed all sequels alongside their original counterpart so that series can be viewed as one.  Many thanks to  Amazon for the plagiarised review data & artwork, where available this has saved me an enormous amount of time.

Please select a letter to browse by title:

1-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Sanctum
Sanctum

If there's an undersea adventure with high-tech equipment, macho posturing, and lots of underwater photography, you know James Cameron must be swimming around the vicinity. Add the fact that Sanctum was released to theaters in 3-D, and it's clinched. Cameron served as executive producer to this crazy tale of a cave-diving expedition forced to improvise when a typhoon inundates their New Guinea location. (The film, shot in Australia, is allegedly based on a true event by co-screenwriter Andrew Wight, but it might be safe to conclude that the original incident was a jumping-off point for the high melodrama on display here.) A globetrotting billionaire (Ioan Gruffudd, of Fantastic Four) is underwriting this exploration of a hidden cave maze, which explains why he gets to bring his girlfriend (Alice Parkinson) along. As a measure of their thrill-seeking habits, we are told they met on an Everest climb. The cave-diving boss is a crusty old pro (Richard Roxburgh), who is rough on his underlings and even rougher on his teenage son (Rhys Wakefield); naturally, the cataclysm that follows will be an occasion for some extreme father-son fence mending. As cornball as these elements are, and as generally toneless as director Alister Grierson's ear is with the dialogue scenes, Sanctum does work up some bona fide thrills: the sheer power of water is unleashed at a few memorable spots, as is the panic of losing an oxygen tank at a crucial moment. It's also pretty brutal, with a steep body count and a few grotesque bits of bodily injury. It ought to be easy to dismiss Sanctum as a silly piece of boy's adventure, but--curse you, Cameron!--one must admit that the thing is awfully effective. - Robert Horton, Amazon

Sanitarium
Sanitarium

Three tales based on patients of a mental institution and the stories which led to their crazed states of minds.  Hallucinations, imaginary voices and alternate realities, mixed with the paranormal, the unexplainable and the mystical. Starring - John Glover, Lou Diamond Phillips, Robert Englund and Lacey Chabert
A Scanner Darkly - Animation
                                                                                                                                                                                                       
How well you respond to Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly depends on how much you know about the life and work of celebrated science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. While it qualifies as a faithful adaptation of Dick's semiautobiographical 1977 novel about the perils of drug abuse, Big Brother-like surveillance and rampant paranoia in a very near future ("seven years from now"), this is still very much a Linklater film, and those two qualities don't always connect effectively. The creepy potency of Dick's premise remains: The drug war's been lost, citizens are kept under rigid surveillance by holographic scanning recorders, and a schizoid addict named Bob Arctor (Keanu Reeves) is facing an identity crisis he's not even aware of: Due to his voluminous intake of the highly addictive psychotropic drug Substance D, Arctor's brain has been split in two, each hemisphere functioning separately. So he doesn't know that he's also Agent Fred, an undercover agent assigned to infiltrate Arctor's circle of friends (played by Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder, Rory Cochrane, and Robert Downey, Jr.) to track down the secret source of Substance D. As he wears a "scramble suit" that constantly shifts identities and renders Agent Fred/Arctor into "the ultimate everyman," Dick's drug-addled antihero must come to grips with a society where, as the movie's tag-line makes clear, "everything is not going to be OK." While it's virtually guaranteed to achieve some kind of cult status, A Scanner Darkly lacks the paranoid intensity of Dick's novel, and Linklater's established penchant for loose and loopy dialogue doesn't always work here, with an emphasis on drug-culture humor instead of the panicked anxiety that Dick's novel conveys. As for the use of "interpolated rotoscoping"--the technique used to apply shifting, highly stylized animation over conventional live-action footage--it's purely a matter of personal preference. The film's look is appropriate to Dick's dark, cautionary story about the high price of addiction, but it also robs performances of nuance and turns the seriousness of Dick's story into... well, a cartoon. Opinions will differ, but A Scanner Darkly is definitely worth a look--or two, if the mind-rattling plot doesn't sink in the first time around. -
Jeff Shannon
Scanners
Scanners

David Cronenberg's 1981 horror film Scanners is a darkly paranoid story of a homeless man (Stephen Lack) mistakenly believed to be insane, when in fact he can't turn off the sound of other people's thoughts in his telepathic mind. Helped by a doctor (Patrick McGoohan) and enlisted in a programme of "scanners"--telepaths who also can will heads to explode--he becomes involved in a battle against nefarious forces. A number of critics consider this to be Cronenberg's first great film, and indeed it has a serious vision of destiny that rivals some of the important German expressionist works from the silent cinema. Lack is very good as the odd hero, and McGoohan is effectively eccentric and chilly as the scientist who saves him from the street, only to thrust him into a terrible struggle. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com


Screamers

Screamers is a little known but great Sci-Fi flick about a group of colonists trapped on another planet, at war against an army of small robots that have evolved from their own original designs.  These 'Screamers' are evolving fast & what was little more than a circular saw on steroids is starting to imitate humans.
  This film is directed very much the old fashioned way, but this is what makes it so great.  If this was to be remade today it would be ruined by macho characters, clichés, poor CGI & terrible acting.  Without these features it is an atmospheric & gripping story. NB

Screamers The Hunting
Screamers: The Hunting

In this sequel to the cult classic SCREAMERS, a rescue team is lured by a distress signal to a long abandoned planet where they encounter an army of robotic killing machines whose sole objective is to escape to Earth and destroy the human race.  -  Amazon
Shaun Of The Dead

It's no disparagement to describe Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's zombie-rom-com Shaun of the Dead as playing like an extended episode of Spaced. Not only does the movie have the rather modest scope of a TV production, it also boasts the snappy editing, smart camera moves, and deliciously post-modern dialogue familiar from the sitcom, as well as using many of the same cast: Pegg's Shaun and Nick Frost's Ed are doppelgangers of their Spaced characters, while Jessica Stevenson and Peter Serafinowicz appear in smaller roles. Unlike the TV series, it's less important for the audience to be in on the movie in-jokes, though it won't hurt if you know George Romero's famous Dawn of the Dead trilogy, which is liberally plundered for zombie behaviour and mythology. Shaun is a loser, stuck in a dead-end job and held back by his slacker pal Ed. Girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) is exasperated by his lack of ambition and unceremoniously dumps him. As a result, Shaun misses out on what is apparently the end of the world. In a series of beautifully choreographed and edited scenes, including hilarious tracking shots to and from the local shop, he spectacularly fails to notice the death toll and subsequent zombie plague. Only when one appears in their back garden do Shaun and Ed take notice, hurling sundry kitchen appliances at the undead before breaking out the cricket bat. The catastrophe proves to be the catalyst for Shaun to take charge of his life, sort out his relations with his dotty mum (Penelope Wilton) and distant stepdad (Bill Nighy), and fight to win back his ex-girlfriend. Lucy Davis from The Office and Dylan Moran of Black Books fame head the excellent supporting cast. - Mark Walker
Shawshank Redemption
Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is a testament to Stephen King's writing skills, showing psychological horror rather than the classic ghosts & goblins.  It is great also, to see a film that does one of his books justice.  All to often they are made into 2nd rate, low budget affairs that populate the lower shelves of the video stores, whereas Shawshank Redemption has grown to be one of the best loved movies of its time.  Telling the story of an intelligent accountant wrongly imprisoned for the murder of his wife, it shows how he copes with the pre-historic way he is treated eventually leading to great popularity among the inmates & guards alike. NB


The Shining - 1980

Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is less an adaptation of Stephen King's best-selling horror novel than a complete re-imagining of it from the inside out. In King's book, the Overlook Hotel is a haunted place that takes possession of its off-season caretaker and provokes him to murderous rage against his wife and young son. Kubrick's film is an existential Road Runner cartoon (his steadicam scurrying through the hotel's labyrinthine hallways), in which the cavernously empty spaces inside the Overlook Hotel mirror the emptiness in the soul of the blocked writer settled in for a long winter's hibernation. As many have pointed out, King's protagonist goes mad, but Kubrick's Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is Looney Tunes from the moment we meet him--all arching eyebrows and mischievous grin. (Both Nicholson and Shelley Duvall reach new levels of hysteria in their performances, driven to extremes by the director's fanatical demand s for take after take after take.) The Shining is terrifying--but not in the way fans of the novel might expect. When it was redone as a TV mini-series (reportedly because of King's dissatisfaction with the Kubrick film), the famous topiary-animal attack (which was deemed impossible to film in 1980) was there--but the deeper horror was lost. Kubrick's The Shining gets under your skin and chills your bones;; it stays with you, inhabits you, haunts you. And there's no place to hide... - Jim Emerson, Amazon.com

Stephen King's The Shining - 1997

Stephen King's The Shining is a new adaptation from the author himself, made for American television, that bears very little resemblance to the 1980 Stanley Kubrick version. Which is not surprising since Kubrick practically threw out most of King's novel and presented his own version of the story. Here King redresses the balance in a mini-series that follows his original almost to the letter, and manages to be effectively creepy despite the budget and censorship limitations of the TV format. Stephen Weber takes over the role of Jack Torrance, the caretaker who slowly descends into madness in the haunted Overlook Hotel. His performance is as far from Jack Nicholson as you could get, with his insanity building slowly and menacingly rather than being virtually mad from the get-go. Rebecca de Mornay is superb as Wendy Torrance, struggling to hold her fragile family together amid the spooky goings on. Young Courtlan Mead plays Danny, whose unique gifts give the story its title, as one of those infuriating TV brats who overacts left right and centre. Fortunately, there are enough creepy moments and a fair few frights to hold the whole thing together: the woman in the bathtub scene being a stand out shocker. Sure, there is nothing quite like Nicholson's "Here's Johnny!" moment, but this is the story King wanted to tell and it still shines brighter than most of the other recent screen adaptations of his work. On the DVD: Stephen King's The Shining is a nicely packaged set, with the film spread over two discs complete with a commentary featuring Stephen King himself, instantly making this set a must-have for his fans. There are also several deleted scenes which add some interest to parts of the movie. The transfer is good, considering its TV origins, and the crisp sound captures every spooky moment on this well-thought-out and presented set. - Jonathan Weir

Shikoku - Japanese

I do not know whether my particular copy was slightly faulty, but the picture was very unsteady in places, almost as though the director wanted to make the viewer feel as though he was watching a home video. If nothing else, the unsteadiness of the picture contributed to the unsettling effect of the film.
The film is set in rural Japan, which perhaps sets it apart from other Japanese horror films which I have watched. As a result, the way of life seems unfamiliar to a Western viewer. Although there is a sense in which all Japanese horror films can be regarded as exploring certain aspects of Japanese spirituality, this film does so in a more traditional sense in that Japanese temples play an important role. I have no way of knowing whether the events which take place in the temples are authentic or not. The unfamiliarity of the setting and the religious practices contributes to the viewer's feeling that he is having a new cinematic experience. The heroine is a sympathetic figure. Unfortunately, she is surrounded by people who are not all they seem. Although the basic premise of the film becomes apparent about halfway through, the ending is not clear, so the viewer is sufficiently interested to watch the film until the end. This is psychological horror; it is definitely not a "slasher" movie.  - S K Goffin

Shivers

"If this picture doesn't make you scream and squirm, you should see a psychiatrist--quick!" shouts the film's trailer. This time the hyperbole is right. Shivers, David Croneberg's debut feature and Canada's first domestic horror film, is an ingeniously engineered modern horror that, like George Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968), charts a social breakdown by tearing through our most intrinsic taboos. A genetically engineered designer parasite--part-aphrodisiac, part-venereal disease--created by a modern day mad scientist escapes into a colourless, self-contained apartment complex and goes searching for hosts. This monstrous parasite multiplies and invades the alienated occupants, turning them into a pack of Id-driven sex maniacs. Cronenberg's suffocating vision of modern life turns his budgetary limitations--dreary, bland sets, flat lighting and numb performances--into a severe portrait of society out of touch with its physical and emotional existence. Cronenberg pushed the boundaries of gore in 1974, but more insidious is the way he pushes the boundaries of behaviour: under the influence of this insidious, invasive disease families turn to incest and murder, strangers sexually assault the helpless and finally they band together as a pack of bloodthirsty, libido-driven animals. That taboo-breaking display still has the power to get under your skin. The film has also been released under the titles The Parasite Murders and They Came From Within. Cult horror icon Barbara Steele co-stars. - Sean Axmaker

Shutter Thai Shutter - Thai

Late one night on a country road, Tun & Jane accidentally run down a mysterious pedestrian. Fleeing the scene, they return to their lives in Bangkok but soon discover that things have changed. Nightmares haunt Jane's dreams while Tun, a photographer, begins to see mysterious shadows in his developed photos.  -  Amazon Synopsis
Shutter Island
Shutter Island

It's 1954, and up-and-coming U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston's Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. He's been pushing for an assignment on the island for personal reasons, but before long he wonders whether he hasn't been brought there as part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors whose radical treatments range from unethical to illegal to downright sinister. Teddy's shrewd investigating skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland, more dangerous criminals "escape" in the confusion, and the puzzling, improbable clues multiply, Teddy begins to doubt everything - his memory, his partner, even his own sanity  -  Alfiehitchie
Side Effects
Side Effects

Emily (Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Martin (Channing Tatum - The Vow) are successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily's psychiatrist (Jude Law - Sherlock Holmes) intended to treat anxiety has unexpected and dangerous side effects. From director Steve Soderbergh (Contagion, Magic Mike, Ocean s Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen) comes a riveting psychological thriller where neither the symptoms nor the cure are quite as straightforward as they seem. - Amazon
Signs

Director-writer M Night Shyamalan brings his distinctive, oblique approach to aliens in Signs after tackling ghosts (The Sixth Sense) and superheroes (Unbreakable). With Mel Gibson replacing Bruce Willis as the traditional Shyamalan hero--a family man traumatised by loss--and leaving urban Philadelphia for the Pennsylvania sticks, the film starts with crop circles showing up on the property Gibson shares with his ex-ballplayer brother (Joaquin Phoenix) and his two troubled pre-teen kids (pay attention--all these character quirks turn out to be important). Though the world outside is undergoing a crisis of Independence Day-sized proportions, Shyamalan limits the focus to this family, who retreat into their cellar when "intruders" arrive from lights in the sky and set out to "harvest" them. Just as Unbreakable slowly revealed itself to be Superman re-thought as an intense personal drama, this is The Birds redone as a religious drama of faith lost and perhaps regained. The tone is less certain than the earlier films--some of the laughs seem unintentional and Gibson's performance isn't quite on a level with Willis's commitment--but Shyamalan still directs the suspense and shock dramas better than anyone else. On the DVD: Signs has THX-certified Dolby Digital Surround Sound which reproduces in the home exactly as the scary sounds that creeped you out in the cinema. A selection of deleted scenes are mostly tiny, but there's a self-reflexive joke (wisely dropped but worth preserving) as Gibson wishes his dead wife were here in the crisis because she was so smart: "She always knew how movies would end." A six-part making-of goes deeper than the usual puff-piece, including an interesting alternative to a commentary track as Shyamalan talks through a précis of clips and on-set snippets. A tradition continued from the Sixth Sense and Unbreakable DVDs is an extract from Pictures, "Night's first alien film". It's a teenage camcorder effort in which the future A-list Hollywoodian is menaced by a tiny Halloween-masked robot. Also included are a "multi-angle storyboards" feature, subtitles in a clutch of languages and eerie menu screens. - Kim Newman

Silent Hill

A lot of movies can be described as "dripping with atmosphere," but in the case of Silent Hill it's literally true. Faithfully adapted from the Konami video games by French director Christophe Gans and Pulp Fiction cowriter Roger Avary (both self-confessed video game addicts), this dark and grisly horror-fest is nothing if not a triumph of cinematography and production design, consisting of a minimal and mostly incoherent plot propped up by a mysterious maze of sets that literally seep, drip, and ooze with the atmospheric evil of past misdeeds. Welcome to the abandoned and perpetually foggy ghost town of Silent Hill, where grey ash falls like snow, a devastating coal-mine fire still burns in a hellish underground, and demons of various shapes and sizes make your worst nightmares seem like a walk in the park. It's here that distressed mother Rose (played by Pitch Black heroine Radha Mitchell) has taken her daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) in hopes of discovering the source of Sharon's sleepwalking nightmares. What they find instead is a burned-out legacy of unspeakable evil, as Silent Hill's dark secrets are revealed. As opposing denizens of Silent Hill's meta-morphing underworld, Canadian actresses Alice Krige and Deborah Kara Unger seem to be the only ones who recognize this morbid mess as campy comedy;; Gans (who established his visual flair with The Brotherhood of the Wolf) and Avary take it far too seriously, and the entire movie is utterly devoid of any emotional hooks or plot logic that would make us care about anything that happens. In crafting a loyal big-screen rendition of Silent Hill and its Playstation sequels, they've forgotten that movies play by a different and more demanding set of rules. As a result, they've made an impressive-looking but ultimately hollow horror film that only Silent Hill game-players can truly appreciate. - Jeff Shannon

Silent Hill Revelation
Silent Hill Revelation

Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) and her father, Christopher (Sean Bean), have been evading for years forces of a nature that she does not fully recognize. On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, plagued by nightmares and Christopher's disappearance, she discovers that her presumed identity is false, leading her to an alternate dimension existing in the strange town of Silent Hill, and a cult led by Claudia Wolf (Carrie-Anne Moss) and the insane Leonard Wolf (Malcolm McDowell). - Amazon Synopsis
Sin City

Brutal and breathtaking, Sin City is Robert Rodriguez's stunningly realized vision of Frank Miller's pulpy comic books. In the first of three separate but loosely related stories, Marv (Mickey Rourke in heavy makeup) tries to track down the killers of a woman who ended up dead in his bed. In the second story, Dwight's (Clive Owen) attempt to defend a woman from a brutal abuser goes horribly wrong, and threatens to destroy the uneasy truce among the police, the mob, and the women of Old Town. Finally, an aging cop on his last day on the job (Bruce Willis) rescues a young girl from a kidnapper, but is himself thrown in jail. Years later, he has a chance to save her again. Based on three of Miller's immensely popular and immensely gritty books (The Hard Goodbye, The Big Fat Kill, and That Yellow Bastard), Sin City is unquestionably the most faithful comic-book-based movie ever made. Each shot looks like a panel from its source material, and director Rodriguez (who refers to it as a "translation" rather than an adaptation) resigned from the Directors Guild so that Miller could share a directing credit. Like the books, it's almost entirely in stark black and white with some occasional bursts of color (a woman's red lips, a villain's yellow face). The backgrounds are entirely digitally generated, yet not self-consciously so, and perfectly capture Miller's gritty cityscape. And though most of Miller's copious nudity is absent, the violence is unrelentingly present. That may be the biggest obstacle to viewers who aren't already fans of the books and who may have been turned off by Kill Bill (whose director, Quentin Tarantino, helmed one scene of Sin City). In addition, it's a bleak, desperate world in which the heroes are killers, corruption rules, and the women are almost all prostitutes or strippers. But Miller's stories are riveting, and the huge cast--which also includes Jessica Alba, Jaime King, Brittany Murphy, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Elijah Wood, Nick Stahl, Michael Clarke Duncan, Devin Aoki, Carla Gugino, and Josh Hartnett--is just about perfect. (Only Bruce Willis and Michael Madsen, while very well-suited to their roles, seem hard to separate from their established screen personas.) In what Rodriguez hopes is the first of a series, Sin City is a spectacular achievement. - David Horiuchi, Amazon.com

The Sixth Sense

"I see dead people," whispers little Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), scared to affirm what is to him now a daily occurrence. This peaked nine-year old, already hypersensitive to begin with, is now being haunted by seemingly malevolent spirits. Child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is trying to find out what's triggering Cole's visions but what appears to be a psychological manifestation turns out to be frighteningly real. It might be enough to scare off a lesser man, but for Malcolm it's personal--several months before, he was accosted and shot by an unhinged patient, who then turned the gun on himself. Since then, Malcolm has been in turmoil--he and his wife (Olivia Williams) are barely speaking, and his life has taken an aimless turn. Having failed his loved ones and himself, he's not about to give up on Cole. The Sixth Sense, M Night Shyamalan's third feature, sets itself up as a thriller, poised on the brink of delivering monstrous scares, but gradually evolves into more of a psychological drama with supernatural undertones. Many critics faulted the film for being mawkish and New Age-y, but no matter how you slice it, this is one mightily effective piece of filmmaking. The bare bones of the story are basic enough, but the moody atmosphere created by Shyamalan and cinematographer Tak Fujimoto made this one of the creepiest pictures of 1999, forsaking excessive gore for a sinisterly simple feeling of chilly otherworldliness. Willis is in his strong, silent type mode here, and gives the film wholly over to Osment, whose crumpled face and big eyes convey a child too wise for his years;; his scenes with his mother (Toni Collette) are small, heartbreaking marvels. And even if you figure out the film's surprise ending, it packs an amazingly emotional wallop when it comes, and will have you racing to watch the movie again with a new perspective. You may be able to shake off the sentimentality of The Sixth Sense but its craftsmanship and atmosphere will stay with you for days. - Mark Englehart
Slayer: War At The Warfield

"God hates us all" is the cheery message delivered by heavy metal mongers Slayer during War at the Warfields, and with their emphasis on themes such as violence and death, Satanism and necrophilia, this is clearly not a band that will appeal to fans of, say Kenny G. Still, it's a safe bet that none of the thousands who crammed into San Francisco's Warfield Theatre in December 2001 to scream, thrash, mosh and headbang for this 90-minute show went home unhappy. But then, why would they? Loud, fast, ultra-aggressive, relentlessly anti-melodic music doesn't come any harder than this;; Slayer's energy is undeniable, as is the catharsis they provide their fans. And if the band (at least bassist-singer Tom Araya) seems to take it all a tad less seriously than their young, hollow-eyed, nihilistic adherents (many of whom are interviewed in a 50-minute documentary featured in the DVD bonus material), well, that's show biz. - Sam Graham
Sleepy Hollow

The secret to "getting" Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow is appreciating that it's the film he's wanted to make his whole life. After the intimately expressive Edward Scissorhands, this is his most personal venture. Burton's Gothic style--apparent through all his work--stems from a childhood misspent watching the horror movies of Roger Corman, Hammer studios, and anything featuring his idol Vincent Price. For Sleepy Hollow Burton surrounded himself with his usual collaborators and friends;; the production was almost entirely shot on location outside London to reunite him with key members of the crew he'd used a decade earlier in Batman, and also to capture the atmosphere of Hammer horror on its own turf.Johnny Depp's Constable Ichabod Crane warmly emulates the mannerisms and enunciation of Peter Cushing. In a prologue scene Burton plays out a long-held fantasy by pitting Depp against Christopher Lee. And it is fantasy that categorises the film throughout, from the mythical fireside telling of the Hessian Horseman's origin (a mesmerising Christopher Walken), to the bright spots of colour saturating Crane's childhood dreams (featuring Burton's real-life love Lisa Marie). These moments literally shine out amid a meticulously crafted look for the film, which underwent a bleaching process to tone things down to an almost monochrome hue. The Scooby Doo-like whodunnit plot, concerning family lineage and petty vengeance, is naturally secondary to what Burton is aiming to achieve through photography and performance, which includes expressive cameos from Michael Gambon, Michael Gough, Jeffrey Jones, and Iain McDiarmid. Yet despite all these subtleties, it's also his best action movie: the swordplay betters anything from his earlier work, while the windmill escape and subsequent coach chase is truly breathtaking in choreography and execution. If you find a cheesy grin on your face for most of the film, you've "got" it. If not, see Hammer's Dracula at once! - Paul Tonks
  Solaris - 1972 Russian

Released in 1972, Solaris is Andrei Tarkovsky's third feature and his most far-reaching examination of human perceptions and failings. It's often compared to Kubrick's 2001, but although both bring a metaphysical dimension to bear on space exploration, Solaris has a claustrophobic intensity which grips the attention over spans of typically Tarkovskian stasis. Donatas Banionis is sympathetic as the cosmonaut sent to investigate disappearances on the space station orbiting the planet Solaris, only to be confronted by his past in the guise of his dead wife, magnetically portrayed by Natalya Bondarchuk. The ending is either a revelation or a conceit, depending on your viewpoint. - Richard Whitehouse
Solaris - 2003 US

Solaris is a remake of Andrei Tarkovsky's Russian film (often called the "Soviet 2001"), itself an adaptation of the Polish Stanislaw Lem's novel, and is anything but a typical American science fiction film. Psychologist Chris Kelvin (George Clooney, playing it very cool and introverted) is sent to a space station orbiting the perhaps-living planet Solaris to investigate a loss of communication with Earth, and finds only two survivors: a free-associating neurotic (Jeremy Davies) and a control freak (Viola Davis), along with several corpses and evidence of recent violence. Kelvin is shocked to wake up next to his wife Rhea (Natascha McElhone), who committed suicide back on Earth years ago, and treats her like a body-snatched alien, disposing of the creature by jettisoning her into space. But she comes back again, and Kelvin realises she isn't a soulless monster out to get him but a genuinely self-aware construct built from his own memories. Though warned against getting involved, Kelvin tries to maintain a relationship with the non-human woman, hoping to avoid this time the mistakes he made that led to Rhea's death. Steven Soderbergh, the most versatile and unpredictable director in Hollywood, stages a few big space moments, fascinated by the red and stringy ball of Solaris itself, but mostly sticks to interiors that have a Bergman-esque austerity, with Clooney and McElhone inhabiting their own room and going through deep emotional traumas while avoiding actual outbursts. It may be too interior a film for mainstream audiences, though at a clipped hour-and-a-half it isn't as hard going for non-devotees as the three-hour Tarkovsky version, but there is a lot of real meat here none the less. - Kim Newman

Source Code
Source  Code

In his second movie Source Code--a looping, hall-of-mirrors story about a downed helicopter pilot who must revisit the same passage of time--Duncan Jones restores some of the virtues of traditional sci-fi, in which technology is just a framework for human drama and where the efficient sketching of smart ideas has as much impact as any amount of CGI. Such is the case with Source Code, in which Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is suspended in a digital limbo (the 'source code') by his military bosses, who force him to revisit the same eight minutes on board a Chicago-bound commuter train--right before it explodes. With each attempt to ID the bomber--a satisfying picture puzzle of close detail and shifting perspectives--Colter's growing fondness for the doomed commuters divides his loyalties, drawing him into a battle with the Fates themselves. With shades of 12 Monkeys, Avatar and Groundhog Day, Source Code is also the up-tempo cousin of Jones' debut feature Moon, in which a lonely worker’s right to mortality is also violated by a futuristic organization who, in Moon's case, would like to cut an ethical corner (and the cost of lunar labour). In the space of these two movies, Duncan Jones has proved he's auteur material and, like the recurring eight-minute sequence at its heart, Source Code feels like the explosion of an exciting new talent--right before it explodes. - Leo Batchelor

Spaced
Spaced

Spaced is a sitcom like no other. The premise is simple enough: Daisy (Jessica Stevenson) and Tim (Simon Pegg) are out of luck and love, so pretend to be a couple in order to rent a flat together. Downstairs neighbour and eccentric painter Brian suspects someone's fibbing, and almost blows their cover with their lecherous lush of a landlady, Marsha. Fortunately he soon falls for Daisy's health-freak friend Twist, while Daisy herself goes ga-ga for pet dog Colin. Tim remains happily platonic with lifemate Mike; a sweet-at-heart guns 'n' ammo obsessive. The series is chock-full of pop culture references. In fact, each episode is themed after at least one movie, with nods to The Shining and Close Encounters of the Third Kind proving especially hilarious. Hardly five minutes goes by without a Star Wars reference, and every second of screen time from Bill Bailey as owner of the comic shop where Tim works is comedic gold. The look of the series is its other outstanding element, with slam-zooms, dizzying montages, and inspired lighting effects (often paying homage to the Evil Dead movies). It's an affectionate fantasy on the life of the twenty-something that's uncomfortably close to the truth.

The second series finds the gang at 23 Meteor Street a little older, but definitely none the wiser. Tim's career is hampered by severe hang-ups over The Phantom Menace. Daisy's career is just plain non-existent. There is still a spark of sexual tension between them, but it's overshadowed by Brian and Twist getting it on. Propelling the seven-episode series arc is the threat of Marsha discovering that none of the relationships are what they seem, Mike's increasing jealousy and a new love interest for Tim. That's the basis for a never-ending stream of in-jokes and references that easily match the quality of the first series. Tim has a Return of the Jedi flashback, then déjà vu in reliving the end of The Empire Strikes Back. There are spoofs of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Robocop, The Sixth Sense and comedy rival The Royle Family. There are guest spots from Bill Bailey, Peter (voice of Darth Maul) Serafinowicz and The League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith. Every episode is packed with highlights, but this series' guaranteed geek pant-wetting moments have to be the mock gun battles, slagging off Babylon 5 and learning that "The second rule of Robot Club is: no smoking." Jessica Stevenson won a British Comedy Award for this year. It deserved a whole lot more. --Paul Tonks
Species

There's a kind of perverse marketing genius at work in this cheesy sci-fi hit from 1995 in which scientists create a half-human, half-alien woman named Sil (Natasha Henstridge) who's capable of morphing from a slimy, tentacled creature into a blonde babe with the body of a Playboy centrefold. This makes it easy for Sil to lure gullible guys who are only too willing to indulge her voracious mating urge, realising too late that sex with Sil is anything but safe. As the body count rises, a handpicked team of specialists tracks the alien's killing spree, but their diverse expertise is barely a match for the ever-morphing Sil. Borrowing elements of the Alien movies (including bizarre alien designs by Swedish artist HR Giger) and spicing them up with some tantalising nudity, Species is a wet dream for creature-feature fans--kind of like watching a sci-fi vampire fantasy while browsing through the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. - Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
   Sphere

From yet another derivative science fiction novel by Michael Crichton comes this equally derivative and flaccid movie, in which three top Hollywood stars struggle to squeeze tension and excitement out of material that doesn't match their talents. You're supposed to find awe and mystery in Crichton's story about a team of scientists and scholars who discover a 300-year-old alien spacecraft deep on the ocean floor, but mostly you feel that this is all much ado about nothing. The exploration team consists of a psychologist (Dustin Hoffman), mathematician (Samuel L. Jackson), biochemist (Sharon Stone), and an astrophysicist (Liev Schreiber), and when they enter the alien ship they discover a mysterious sphere inside. What they don't know is that the sphere has the power to manipulate their thoughts and perceptions, and before long the scientists' undersea habitat is a veritable haunted house of frightening visions and creeping paranoia. Who can be trusted? What is the sphere's purpose, and why is it on the ocean floor? Sphere makes some attempt to answer these questions, but the film is a mess, and it leads to one of the most anticlimactic endings of any science fiction film ever made. There are moments of high intensity and psychological suspense, and the stellar cast works hard to boost the talky screenplay. But it's clear that this was a hurried production (Hoffman and director Barry Levinson made Wag the Dog during an extended production delay), and as a result Sphere looks and feels like a film that wasn't quite ready for the cameras. Though it's by no means a waste of time, it's undeniably disappointing. - Jeff Shannon

Spider

Internal madness is hypnotically externalized in David Cronenberg's Spider, a disturbing portrait of schizophrenia. Adapted by Patrick McGrath from his celebrated novel, this no-frills production begins when "Spider" Cleg (Ralph Fiennes, in a daring, nearly nonverbal role) returns to his childhood neighbourhood in London's dreary East End, where a traumatic event from his past percolates to the surface of his still-erratic consciousness. Released from a mental institution and left to fend for himself, he pursues elusive memories while staying in a halfway house run by a stern matron (Lynn Redgrave), unable to distinguish between past, present, and psychological fabrication. The distorting influence of Spider's mind is directly reflected in Cronenberg's cunning visual strategy, presenting a shifting "reality" that's deliberately untrustworthy, until the veracity of nearly every scene is called into question. With an impressive dual-role performance by Miranda Richardson, Spider falls prey to its own lugubrious rhythms, but like the acclaimed 1995 indie film Clean, Shaven, it's a compelling glimpse of mental illness, seen from the inside out. - Jeff Shannon

Spiderman

Marvel Comics fans have been waiting for this big-screen Spider-Man since the character made his print debut in 1962, which attaches impossible expectations to a film that rates as a solid success without breaking out of the spandex ghetto in the way that Batman Returns or X-Men did. Tobey Maguire is ideally cast as speccy Peter Parker, a high school swot with personal problems. The suit and effects take over when he gets bitten by a genetically engineered (i.e., no longer radioactive) spider and transforms into a web-swinging superhero who finds that these super-powers don't really help him get close to the girl next door (Kirsten Dunst) or protect his elderly guardian (Cliff Robertson) from random violence. The villain of the peace is Peter's best friend's industrialist father (Willem Dafoe) who has dosed himself on an experimental serum which makes him go all Jekyll-and-Hyde and emerge as the cackling Green Goblin, who soon gets a grudge against Spider-Man. Sam Raimi gives it all a bright, airy, kinetic feel, with wonderful aerial stuff as Spider-Man escapes from his troubles by swinging between skyscrapers, and the rethink of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's origin story is managed with a canny mix of faithfulness (JK Simmons' as the crass editor JJ Jameson is the image of the comic character) and send-up (after a big introduction, Spider-Man finally appears in a really rubbish first attempt at a spider costume). Maguire and the impossibly sweet Dunst make it work as a hesitant teen romance, but somehow the second half, which brings on the villain to give the hero someone to fight, is only exciting when it wants to be affecting too. --Kim Newman On the DVD: Spider-Man's two-disc offering is nothing out of the ordinary, but fans will find some gems here including Stan Lee's thoughts, a gallery of comic cover art and profiles on the baddies. The two commentaries (cast and crew, and Special Effects) both have long periods with pauses, but the special effects guys are full of insight. The DVD-ROM section offers some of the more exciting features, including three comics transferred onto your computer, page by page, although be aware that the "Film to Comic" comparison is not for the original but for the new comic of the film. As you would expect from a blockbuster superhero film, the sound and vision are immaculate. - Nikki Disney

Spirited Away - Japanese Anime

The highest grossing film in Japanese box-office history, Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away (Sen To Chihiro Kamikakushi) is a dazzling film that reasserts the power of drawn animation to create fantasy worlds. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and Lewis Carroll's Alice, Chihiro plunges into an alternate reality. On the way to their new home, the petulant adolescent and her parents find what they think is a deserted amusement park. Her parents stuff themselves until they turn into pigs, and Chihiro discovers they're trapped in a resort for traditional Japanese gods and spirits. An oddly familiar boy named Haku instructs Chihiro to request a job from Yubaba, the greedy witch who rules the spa. As she works, Chihiro's untapped qualities keep her from being corrupted by the greed that pervades Yubaba's mini-empire. In a series of fantastic adventures, she purges a river god suffering from human pollution, rescues the mysterious No-Face, and befriends Yubaba's kindly twin, Zeniba. The resolve, bravery and love Chihiro discovers within herself enable her to aid Haku and save her parents. The result is a moving and magical journey, told with consummate skill by one of the masters of contemporary animation. - Charles Solomon

Splice
Splice

Clive and Elsa are the best scientists in their field. Splicing together the genes of several animals they have managed to bring into existence a new kind of creature, the protein of which could be highly profitable. But experimenting for a large corporate firm doesn’t satisfy their scientific curiosity. After secretly adding human DNA into their formula Clive and Elsa soon realise they may have made a mistake, a big mistake. A mistake that seems to be aging, growing and transforming at an incredible rate. An uncontrollable mistake that’s about to break loose and rip their world apart into tiny pieces. - Amazon
Stakeland

A young boy (Connor Paolo, Gossip Girl) is about to learn how cruel the world can become. Martin was a normal teenager before the country collapsed in an empty pit of disaster and a vampire epidemic swept across the nation's abandoned towns and cities. It is up to Mister (Nick Damici, Mulberry Street, World Trade Center), a death dealing, rogue vampire hunter, to get Martin to safety. Armed with a trunk full of wooden stakes and a desperate will to stay alive, Mister and Martin make their way through locked down towns, recruiting fellow travelers along the way. Among them are a devout nun (Kelly McGillis, The Accused, Top Gun) and a pregnant teen (Danielle Harris, Halloween, Halloween 2)…  As with his hit, MULBERRY STREET, Jim Mickle creates a dark and terrifying world, although this time it is fully stocked with the most vicious vampires in recent film history.
STAKE LAND is a gritty, post-apocalyptic road movie with teeth! - Amazon
The Stand
Stephen King's The Stand

A deadly virus is unleashed by a military lab, wiping out almost the entire population of Earth. A few terrified individuals set out on a desperate race to find other survivors...
Starship Troopers

A gloriously over-the-top treat, Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers takes the militaristic moralising of Robert Heinlein's pulp classic and sets about undermining it mercilessly. Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) desperately wants to join the Mobile Infantry and kill some Earth-threatening alien bugs. He also desperately wants Carmen (Denise Richards), but only gets to fulfil one ambition in the second of Verhoeven's futuristic satires (also cowritten with his RoboCop scriptwriter Ed Neumeier). Set in a fascistic future where kids must do military service to qualify as citizens, own property or even have babies, the film's dark Vietnam and Nazi-era parallels are all the more disturbing given its deceptively sunny Beverly Hills 90210 teenage cast (though scenery-chewing veteran Michael Ironside steals the movie as tough-talking Lt Rasczak). The CGI arachnids are among the most convincing and dangerous-looking creatures ever seen on screen, and with the movie clocking up the highest number of blanks ever fired on a film set, it's also pretty loud! Verhoeven went on to be Executive Producer of the Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles animated TV series a couple of years later. On the DVD: Starship Troopers in this DVD incarnation can now be played continuously on one side of the disc (the original Region 2 release version was that crime against the DVD format, a "flipper"). You'll also feel really spoiled by the extras here: five deleted scenes (approximately six minutes) pad out Carmen's love triangle problems. There are impressive screen tests for Denise Richards and Casper Van Dien (three-and-a-half minutes). An eight-minute featurette zips by with key interviews and fact flinging. And a real treat is three scene developments with layers of FX work explained by Verhoeven. But what makes this DVD essential is the director's enthusiastic commentary alongside screenwriter Ed Neumeier: dissing astrology, making a stand for feminist issues, saying how he went nude to placate the actors for their shower scene, and drooling with praise for his FX team, Verhoeven makes a fascinating statement that "war makes fascists of us all". After a studio disclaimer, and beginning with his reaction to the film's critique in Time Magazine, this is no-holds-barred fun. - Paul Tonks

  Starship Troopers 2

Allowing for all the low-budget shortcomings that plague any straight-to-video production, Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation serves up 92 minutes of passable SF action. Parlaying his veteran status as an animator, special-effects wizard, and stalwart survivor of the CGI revolution, Phil Tippett (with returning screenwriter Ed Neumeier) makes a woefully uninspired directorial debut with this makeshift sequel to Paul Verhoeven's 1997 blockbuster, retaining the jarhead militarism of Robert Heinlein's original novel while serving up more bugs, an all-new cast of attractive young stars and all-too-familiar plot elements borrowed from a dozen better movies. "Bigger is better" is out of the question under such meagre budgetary circumstances, so Tippett and Neumeier compensate with gruesome bug fights and gross-out effects at regular intervals, some standard-issue nudity and escalating paranoia (echoing Carpenter's The Thing) when a new breed of bugs use human hosts (à la The Hidden) to overtake a stranded platoon of Federation soldiers on a bug-infested planet. Relying on murky confinement to hide nondescript sets, Starship Troopers 2 has three engaging leads in its favour: US TV regular Richard Burgi is solidly cast as the titular hero (he's the military equivalent of Pitch Black's Riddick); Colleen Porch is engaging as the most sensible Federation survivor; and screen veteran Ed Lauter makes the most of his salty role as a battle-hardened general. Unfortunately, they're adrift in a knock-off sequel (shot on high-def digital video) that could never do justice to its energetic predecessor. - Jeff Shannon

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

"I have a bad feeling about this," says the young Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor) in Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace as he steps off a spaceship and into the most anticipated cinematic event ... well, ever. He might as well be speaking for the legions of fans of the original episodes in the Star Wars saga who can't help but secretly ask themselves: sure, this is Star Wars, but it is my Star Wars? The original elevated moviegoers' expectations so high that it would have been impossible for any subsequent film to meet them. And as with all the Star Wars movies, The Phantom Menace features inexplicable plot twists, a fistful of loose threads and some cheek-chewing dialogue. Han Solo's swagger is sorely missed, as is the pervading menace of heavy-breathing Darth Vader. There is still way too much quasi-mystical mumbo jumbo and some of what was fresh about Star Wars 22 years earlier feels formulaic. Yet there's much to admire. The special effects are stupendous;; three worlds are populated with a mélange of creatures, flora and horizons rendered in absolute detail. The action and battle scenes are breathtaking in their complexity. And one particular sequence of the film-the adrenaline-infused pod race through the Tatooine desert--makes the chariot race in Ben-Hur look like a Sunday stroll through the park. Among the host of new characters, there are a few familiar walk-ons. We witness the first meeting between R2-D2 and C-3PO, Jabba the Hutt looks younger and slimmer (but not young and slim) and Yoda is as crabby as ever. Natalie Portman's stately Queen Amidala sports hairdos that make Princess Leia look dowdy and wields a mean laser. We never bond with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's day is yet to come. Jar Jar Binks, a cross between a Muppet, a frog and a hippie, provides many of the movie's lighter moments, while Sith Lord Darth Maul is a formidable force. Baby-faced Anakin Skywalker looks too young and innocent to command the powers of the Force or wield a lightsaber (much less transmute into the future Darth Vader), but his boyish exuberance wins over sceptics. Near the end of the movie, Palpatine, the new leader of the Republic, may be speaking for fans eagerly awaiting Episode II when he pats young Anakin on the head and says, "We will watch your career with great interest." Indeed! - Tod Nelson

Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones

The most densely plotted instalment of the saga so far, Attack of the Clones is a tale of both Machiavellian political drama and doomed romance;; it's epic war film and silly comic-book fantasy combined, as teenage Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) chafes at the restrictions imposed by his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and falls in love with Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman). Renegade Jedi Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) is leading a breakaway federation of disgruntled systems;; while the insidious influence of Darth Sidious is felt rather than seen as his invisible hand guides apparently unrelated events, from Jar Jar's unwitting instigation of a disastrous Senate decision to bounty hunter Jango Fett's revelatory role at the centre of the conspiracy. Along the way the story has fun with the conventions of Chandleresque detective fiction as Obi-Wan explores the seedier side of Coruscant, and incorporates the noble warrior ethos of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in its portrayal of the Jedi order. The portentous tone is lightened by tongue-in-cheek self-referential dialogue and the antics of robotic clowns R2D2 and C3PO. (One niggle for music fans, though, is the cavalier cut-and-paste approach to John Williams's music score.) Like the Empire Strikes Back, Clones is the bridging film of the trilogy and thus ends on an equivocally bittersweet note. On the DVD: Attack of the Clones is an all-digital film, and so looks suitably superb in this anamorphic widescreen transfer, accompanied by a THX encoded Dolby 5.1 soundtrack. Anyone who owns The Phantom Menace two-disc set will know what to expect from the special features: here's another group commentary led by George Lucas, two lengthy documentaries on the digital effects ("From Puppets to Pixels" and "The Previsualisation of Episode II") plus several other featurettes and Web documentaries, notably "Films Are Not Released, They Escape", a look at the sound design. There's also a fun trailer for the R2-D2 mockumentary "Beneath the Dome", trailers, photo galleries and more to satisfy any Star Wars fan. - Mark Walker

Stigmata

Gabriel Byrne plays Father Kiernan, a young Jesuit priest whose degree in chemistry makes him a sort of priest/detective as he investigates weeping Marys and the like around the world. Meanwhile, Frankie (Patricia Arquette), a rave-generation Pittsburgher, is afflicted with the stigmata--holes that appear in her wrists, resembling the wounds of Christ. The young woman's symptoms filter back to the Vatican and Father Kiernan is assigned to the case. The priest is puzzled by Frankie's atheism;; usually the stigmata only appear on the devout (hence the age-old controversy of miracles vs. hysteria). Other manifestations appear on Frankie, and the priest's cardinal (Jonathan Pryce) is brought in, leading to political manoeuvring within the Church hierarchy. The film owes a large and obvious debt to The Exorcist (at one point, Frankie's bed scoots across the room and she levitates into a crucifix position) but to term it an Exorcist rip-off would be to short-change Stigmata. The premise and screenplay are more cerebral than in the l973 film, and the source of the phenomenon is coming from a completely different place. Unfortunately, amid Stigmata's high-octane editing and slick technique, the chills of The Exorcist aren't there, giving the movie a sort of identity crisis: horror movie or intellectual thriller? Several elements of the film challenge basic tenets of the Catholic faith, hence the brief furore that erupted at the time of the film's release;; if nothing else, the internal workings of the Church are shown in a very unflattering light indeed. Byrne excels as the sceptical priest, as does Arquette as the tortured young woman. All told, Stigmata is a rather uneven effort but one with a thought-provoking combination of theology and thrills served up in a thoroughly modern, stylish package. Fans of TV's Ally McBeal will recognise Portia De Rossi in a supporting role. - Jerry Renshaw
Strange Days
Strange Days

Set in the year 1999 during the last days of the old millennium, the movie tells the story of Lenny Nero, an ex-cop who now deals with data-discs containing recorded memories and emotions. One day he receives a disc which contains the memories of a murderer killing a prostitute. Lenny investigates and is pulled deeper and deeper in a whirl of blackmail, murder and rape. Will he survive and solve the case? - Harald Mayr 
Suede: Introducing The Band - Live

Well what can I say? Suede are just as excellent now as they have been from day one, and I'm so glad they decided to re-issue Introducing the Band on DVD. I have had the video from the moment it hit the shops all those years ago, but finding it on DVD was just a treat. Obviously, the picture etc. is a much better quality than VHS and Suede are just simply mindblowing. Packed with many great Dog Man Star hits (DMS album is rumoured to be many a Suede fan's favourite Suede album) as well as out of this world B-sides, this DVD is an absolute MUST for any die hard Suede fan. I would, however, like to see Love & Poison also brought out on this format too.... That would complete the set of Suede's visual releases just perfectly. What I really like also is the fact that you have a great little insight to the content of Lost In TV in the extras section, as well as the photoshoot, Suede assing around (Simon's electric chair bit - quite amusing!) and Suede in Japan. - N Williams
Suede: Lost In TV

Lost In TV is a complete collection of Suede's music videos, arranged in chronological order. It reveals a band that has fallen repeatedly in and out of love with the video medium over the course of four albums. It begins with a low-budget performance clip for their first single, "The Drowners", in which all Suede's members are clearly, and rather endearingly, putting on poses they've been rehearsing and imagining for years. And it ends with "Can't Get Enough", which they couldn't rouse themselves to turn up for, instead allowing the song to soundtrack a short, though undeniably amusing, film about revenge. In between the quality varies with Suede's enthusiasm. Some of the videos here are every bit as awful as the band think, especially the altogether bewildering "Stay Together". Others they should give themselves more credit for "The Wild Ones", for example, retains a haunting quality that was worth any amount of plodding around a freezing Dartmoor. On the DVD: Lost in TV is a comprehensive lesson in how it should be done, exploring all the possibilities of this new technology, rather than taking the usual approach of releasing what is basically a video, adding some desultory, pointless interview footage and charging 10 quid extra for it. Extra features are: a collection of live performances, television appearances and sundry recordings from around the world, among them the version of Elvis Costello's "Shipbuilding" Suede donated to the "War Child" benefit album;; a fine new song, "Simon", exclusive to the DVD;; a karaoke opportunity featuring the videos with subtitled words but no vocals;; and, best of all, the chance to watch all the videos with Suede themselves providing commentary as they go along. Given that Suede seem to regard their videos with much the same horrified embarrassment as viewing an old school photograph, this is richly entertaining, though best avoided by those who prefer their artists to maintain their facades or who are overly sensitive to bad language. Sound options include surround and Dolby Digital. -
Andrew Mueller

Suede - Royal Albert Hall Suede - Royal Albert Hall. 24 October 2010

A live reunion gig organised for the teenage cancer trust charity.  Predictably weaker than earlier live material but instrumental in reforming the band for a new album & tour.
Sunshine

You can never accuse director Danny Boyle of lacking ambition. Sunshine sees one of Britain's most successful directors switching genre once more, as he tackles this gripping science fiction flick about a quest to re-ignite the dying sun. And he nails it, too, adding another plus to a CV that's already covered a kids' film (Millions), a big Hollywood blockbuster (The Beach), horror (28 Days Later), and a pair of British classics (Trainspotting and Shallow Grave). Bursting out of the gate at a terrific pace, Sunshine then doesn't take its foot off the accelerator for much of its near-two hour running time. Set around the crew of the Icarus II who find themselves on a life-saving mission, things soon start going awry, and while you'll find no plot spoilers here, Boyle proves a dab hand at ratcheting up tension on the way to the big finale. If anything, it's the finale to Sunshine that does let the side down, not quite living up to the standard of what preceded it. But such is the strength of the ride to that point that it's hard to complain. Especially when the cast, led by the always-magnetic Cillian Murphy, put in believable performances and get heavily into the spirit of the film. Topped off with cracking effects that belie its modest budget, Sunshine is a real treat, not just for sci-fi fans, but for anyone who likes a strong, tense, thrilling night in front of a movie. - Jon Foster
Super8
Super 8

Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams join forces in this extraordinary tale of youth, mystery and adventure. Super 8 tells the story of six friends who accidentally film a train wreck only to discover that something unimaginable escaped during the crash. Now, the only thing more mysterious than what it is… is what it wants.  - DVD Synopsis

Supernova

The makers of Supernova are apparently counting on the fact that generational turnover renders old formulas fresh again for new audiences. This is the only explanation for a sci-fi thriller that could charitably be called a "homage" to Ridley Scott's trend setting Alien. A medical rescue ship responds to a distress call from a mining colony and finds only one survivor: a strange young man (Peter Facinelli), who comes aboard carrying an even stranger alien artefact. But the plot of this film, which was directed and then disowned by Walter Hill, grows confused as it tries to explain the sinister force that will lead to a star transforming to supernova status, causing a universe-shattering explosion. Some nice sexual tension between James Spader (as the recovering drug-addict co-pilot) and Angela Bassett (as the ship's doctor). Notable mostly, however, for the eerie resemblance, both physical and vocal, between Facinelli and Tom Cruise. - Marshall Fine, Amazon.com

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