6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A - Multiple Viewing Possibilities
B - Deserves Another Look
C - Once Should Suffice


With Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry
Directed by Bryan Singer
The director of The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil hits the super blockbuster big time with this exhilarating, action packed, style-filled, FX-ridden and long anticipated adaptation of the comic book heros. Man is still evolving, its next evolutionary step leading to mutation, human beings getting special abilities becoming evident at puberty. Certain senate members want mutants contained while an understanding man groups them at a “school for the gifted” to help guide them. A disgruntled mutant groups a bunch of nasty mutants to fulfill his dream of global mutation. Our good guy mutants have to stop them by any means necessary. Highly enjoyable.
4 / B
- PB

With Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patric Stewart, Ian McKellen, Alan Cumming
Directed by Bryan Singer
If you enjoyed the first one, there's no doubt you'll enjoy this bigger and more explosive sequel. The first installment was an introduction to the lead players: Prof. Xavier, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Rogue, and villains Magneto and Mystique. Some of the new mutants include Nightcrawler, Wolverine's equivalent Lady Deathstrike and the two annoying teen heartthrob additions of Pyro and Iceman (briefly seen in the 1st). A dozen mutants should provide apt entertainment. Their triumphant return in fighting for the good image of mutants throw new adversaries in their path and force them to hook up with some old enemies to oppose their common foe. A new anti-mutant surfaces with a military background, intent on wiping all mutants from the face of the earth. This also brings Wolverine closer to excavating his past. Personally, I don't find the escalated scale to improve upon the enjoyable first installment's foundation laying-mood, stylish action, emotion and alienating sense within the heroes and understanding in the villains. Regardless of the budget & hype and the numerous spotted continuity errors thus far, the film is a fine cocktail of explosive entertainment and tolerance comment, but no mind-blower.
4 / B
- PB

X2003 - Experience The Alternative

The Rock- and Alternative Christian movement is just getting bigger. This is not morbid Sunday organ music, that's for sure. This collection of 14 tracks spans a wide range of Rock, Alternative, Grunge, nu-Metal, Punk and Hip Hop. The SA affiliated
Benjamin Gate opens up. Other groups and artists include Bleach, Jeremy Camp, The Elms, KJ-52 with a track Dear Slim - an Eminem plea based on his song Stan. There's Kutless, MXPX, Slick Shoes, Sanctus Real, Relient K and Skillet - an acoustic grunge vibe with electronic flashes. Toby Mac goes an energetic Hip-Hop/Rap route. The tunes are well-produced with no less inferior videos. Some tunes are a bit more lame than others wile most seem less blatantly preachy than expected.
4 / B
- PB

With Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Samuel L. Jackson, Marton Csokas
Directed by Rob Cohen
After the makers' of
The Fast And The Furious made a killing with its DVD release, this one is bound to overtake its multi-million sales figures. With the Brits' world-renowned three digit secret agent being suave, debonair & all of that, you'd expect the American equivalent to be everything but. Meet Xander, an extreme sports freak and general establishment upstart. When normal agents can't seem to infiltrate an organization calling itself Anarchy '99, based in Prague, the authorities turn to Xander - making him an offer he can't refuse. After a couple of high-velocity, high-octane, high-whatever-else-they-can-throw-at-you, our new agent goes to work to uncover a plot that could have dire global consequences if left untended. He obviously does it his way - full of attitude, machismo and unconventional methods. Parachutes, snowboards, high-powered weaponry, sexy cars (&girls) and a whole lot more add to the high-speed eye candy. The girl-on-the-wrong-side who grabs X's interest is in fact Asia Argento, daughter of Italian horror movie director Dario. She is sexy without trying and not over-glamourized, a dark side lingering underneath. Our head honcho bad guy is an adequately slimy mullet trendoid who lives the high life amid his schemes and mayhem. Jackson is the government guy in the background who has X by the balls to fulfill their deal while an assortment of hoods and bad-asses are no match for the super-cool xXx, getting their asses kicked left, right & very center. Rammstein fans will be glad to know that these German musical nutters feature on a club stage, as does the Orbital duo. The action sequences are very slick and superbly executed, breathtaking and sometimes very over the top. The look and design of the up to date underground crime figures and the alternative clubbing population around it has a very "Blade" feel to it (Prague also being the same city as the 2nd Blade installment, by the way). The xXx-tattoo-zoom-out technique gets a little tiresome, but amid the flashy action sequences and loaded soundtrack it doesn't really matter, so just strap in and let them take you on a high powered cinematic trip, whether you belong to the MTV generation or not.
Extra-wise there are quite a few bonus bits thrown in. Besides the feature length director's commentary with some interesting facts and anecdotes (from a director enthusiastic about his craft), you also get some deleted scenes with commentary. A director's diary takes you through the whole shoot. Making-Of featurettes include a look at the film as a whole, but sub chapters focus on the likes of the film's vehicles, its design, its FX as well as its star. The theme tune's video by Gavin Rossdale (of
Bush-fame) gets added. A trailer and weblinks round it off.
4 / B
- PB

© 2006 Flamedrop Productions