Under the Spotlight

Soldier Starring Kurt Russel this futuristic romp resembles Van Dammes "Universal Soldier" in many ways. Set in the far future it concerns the plight of a soldier raised from birth to kill or be killed through indocternation from the age of six, where the movie starts with a brief history.

Sergent Todd (Russell) is made redundent by a new generation of soldier who are the product of genetic engineering and cast off on an alien world. This alien world is a galactic rubish dump which is serviced by giant dumper spaceships,yes you guessed it, its an ask no questions sort of a movie. From here on in Todd, who says about three words in the entire movie, finds friends and discover in an odd way life out side the army. When the bad guys arrive the movie rapidly slithers into "Van Damme" mode again with really rubbish battles and a ludricus ( and convienient ) ending. Gary Busy makes an apperance as Todds captain. The panoramic backdrops are very good and the special effects passable but this movie is for the action hero freak and sci-fi fans may consider consigning this one to the rubbish heap (where ironically the movie is set). Hollywood always used sci-fi as a vehicle for lame stories and improbible plots, this one fits that bill.

StarwarsThis film is the most eagerly awaited film probubly of all time. I was one person who had counted the years and I desperatly wanted to like this movie. However.....I did not. At the opening credits I felt the familier excitment, and up to about a third of the movie I was undicided about my enjoyment of the film but at least it seemed to be going in the right direction. Then it nose dived. A flacid plot went the long way around a short story, a journey made longer by the aweful acting of the young Aniken Skywalker ( or is that Manikin ). Starwars has never been aboout acting and the hamness of it in past movies could be ignored by the frenetic pace of the film. However the terrible acting was only accentuated by the costly visual effects amid a piece meal plot. The effects were fantastic but strangly detached from any reality, even for a sci-fi movie. Extentsive battle scenes lacked depth, speed and atmosphere (i.e. battle of Hoth) of previous movies. These CGI scenes were overly deteiled making focus hard, and very bright giving a false aura to the characters.

The fact is this is not a movie in the vein of the first three. Firstly episodes 4,5, and 6 were good as stand alone movies, episode one does not and lacks because of it. Secondly the movie is made to appeal to a younger audiance. It seems obvoius that George Lucas is striving to introduce a new younger audiance to the series. I was dissapointed, but I cannot say it was a bad film, it was just not for someone of my generation. For children of a younger age group this film will be both thrilling and funny, critics who have panned it flatly should really have taken that into account. For people of my age group ( late 20's ) I think the film was a let down, for those fanatics of that age group I would say "leave it be, it is a childrens film and you are making yourself look creepy!". I would sum up by saying that Liam Neeson was the high ligh, his great physical pressence helped greeatly and will be sorely missed the the next installment.

The MatrixI expected to loath this film but instead was struck by its complex and dark plot. The visual effects are stunning and Keanu Reeves usual wooden acting was not noticible to any degree. The dark premise of the movie was very good and as it progressed a belivable sense of menace was built nicley. The films draws confusing lines between reality and illusion which are convincing. If you can keep in mind whether you are watching the real or illusion you will enjoy this film all the more, although that siad its not an easy thing to do. The Dark future painted in Matrix is truley amazing with incredible designs and settings. The core of the plot owes much to Philip K. Dick and his real life induced illusions which influenced much of his writing ( and I defy anyone who knows Dick to argue against that). I recommend this film highly as a disturbing slice of a very dark future unlike any other film. Just remember what is real.....and what you are looking at.

Deep RisingThis movie is something strange indeed. Set in the near future its a tounge in cheek all action movie which revolves around a heist which runs into unexpected problems. The heist is to take place on a new hi-tec ocean cruiser but by the time the bad-guys get there a monster has already arrived ( RISING from the DEEP! ).Although the vehicle of the movie is sci-fi in essence it is a horrer/action flick. At times you are not sure whether it is serious but the humour is spot on and the stock horror character are right out of a B-movie. The Monster ,which is a squid type thing or a collection of giant eels, is excellent and consistant with top notch CGI, no problems there. If you have not seen the movie yet it is best enjoyed on video with a few beer and mates. The very last scene in the movie is classic, watch out for it. All in all an entertaining low-brow romp.

Mars Attacks This comedy sci-fi is very impressive. The movie is about a massive invasion from mars by cartoon like aliens. Its plot never varies from this and from the beguinning it is an excellent comedy with a love of gore. The amount of cameos (Tom Jones, Danny DeVito, Jack Nichelson to name but a few ) is suprising and all involved aquit themselves well. The high production quality and paceing of the movie carries the viewer along with the film very well. The aliens are entirely CGI and the movie has a retro feel to it drawing on the rich UFO folklore that sprang up in the 50's and 60's. If it was not a comedy it work just as well as a strange action movie. I could find no fault with this one and found it a refreshing break from the usual Hollywood run-of-the-mill sci-fi. One to watch!

City of Lost Children I approached this film with great expectation as I had previously seen the Delicatesen, by the same production company, and greatly enjoyed it. City of lost Children is is a dark tale set in a dark and sureal future. The settings, characters and outlandish retro designs mark it apart from other movies immediatly. It is a french film and after many french sci-fi disasters it is a great success. The film itself revolves around the abduction of children by a scientist, and the quest of a circus freak to rescue his younger brother. The film is littered with strange and disturbing characters all of whom are excellent due to the cleverness of their portrayal ad excellent casting. Scenes throughout the film may remind you of old slap stick films but they serve to add to the sureal atmoshpere. Assasian flees, blind cyborg cults, clones

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