Science Fiction and Fantasy Film and TV Reviews by Title: H.

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H. G. Wells' The War Of The Worlds (Brit version): Mark's Take
08/07/2005. This is the first film to do the novel in the period in which it was intended. The acting is stylized; the photography is stylized; the special effects are stylized. All this effectively evokes a period feel on a dime-store budget. This exceptionally faithful adaptation of the Wells novel, but is a film that will appeal to only a very narrow audience.

H.G Wells' The War of the Worlds: Mark's Take
25/06/2005. This is the first film to do the novel in the period in which it was intended, says Mark. The acting is stylized; the photography is stylized; the special effects are stylized. All this effectively evokes a period feel on a dime-store budget. This exceptionally faithful adaptation of the Wells novel, but is a film that will appeal to only a very narrow audience.

Halloween (Frank's take)
01/10/2007. Writer-director Rob Zombie heavy-handedly revisits filmmaker John Carpenter's 1978 classic Halloween, finds Frank, with an audacious blood-spilling banality that pretty much is business as usual given the crude content of slash-and-splash expectancy. To Zombie's credit, he doesn't want to shape the legendary lunacy that made Carpenter's entry a celebrated creepfest. Instead, Zombie's version is actually an inspired albeit uneven take on his particular visionary landscape of senseless slaughter and bouncing breasts.

Hands Of The Ripper (1971)
01/12/2006. DVD Region 2: Network 7952538. time: 85 minutes and extras. Price: £12.99 (UK). Stars Angharad Rees and Eric Porter.

Hanna (Mark's take)
01/06/2011. Hanna has been raised and trained by her father to be a perfect assassin, preparing for the battle he will have with his former employer, the CIA. Director Joe Wright takes a somewhat simple story and makes it complex in the editing and camera work. The action, says Mark, is strong and well filmed, but there really is not much in new ideas or ideas at all. Complex puzzle pieces fit together to make an overly simple and familiar picture. It only seems complex because Wright does not play fairly with the viewer.

Hannibal Rising: Frank's take
01/03/2007. Dr. Hannibal Lecter is perhaps one of the most disturbing, sophisticated iconic sociopaths that modern cinema has ever produced, says our Frank. Whether in the literary arena or on the big screen, Lecter has proven to be a calculating commodity; he's a brilliant freak of humanity that combines the off-kilter ingredients of intelligence and insanity. When audiences experienced the chilling and sensationalistic aura of Oscar-winning Sir Anthony Hopkins's literate lunatic unfolding before our very eyes in the magnificent Silence of the Lambs we didn't realize that the bounds of inhumanity could be so compellingly taunting. Hence, serving up Hannibal the cannibal in any other capacity-particularly the humble beginnings-would be a tall order of expectations to fill automatically.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Mark's take)
01/09/2011. The final Harry Potter film has Harry and friends searching out the last of the Voldemort Horcruxes for his final confrontation with Voldemort. If you don't know what I just said I recommend you bail out right now. The last Harry Potter film is a very substantial fantasy film, perhaps even beyond the level of one of the Lord of the Rings films. With one major omission the series comes to a satisfying and frequently spectacular conclusion.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Frank's Take
01/01/2006. The expansive fourth instalment of the Harry Potter film series has arrived and promises not to disappoint in the latest exploits of the harried Boy Wizard, finds Frank. Director Mike Newell's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire gleefully explores its boisterous realm with skilful exuberance.

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire: Mark's Take
01/01/2006. Harry Potter's fourth outing has enough stylistic changes to keep the series interesting, discovers Mark. There is a new style with fewer sports, less frivolous humour, and a little more darkness. There is even a little romance as Harry, his friends, and the series matures.

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (Mark's take)
01/09/2007. Harry Potter returns in his most complex and political story, not to mention his darkest and least cute one, opines Mark. Harry, Hermione, and Ron have to fight a two-front war against a takeover of Hogwarts and the return of Voldemort. Davis Yates directs. The films get more intelligent and more adult as Harry also does.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone
01/06/2002. Video: Warner Bros: S022658. Time: 146 minutes plus about 10 minutes of alternative scenes. Price: £10.99 - it varies so shop around. Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grant and Emma Watson, not to mention a troop of some of great British thespians.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Frank's Take
01/07/2004. Author J.K. Rowling’s bespectacled boy wizard wonder is back and better than ever. In fact, he’s matured and the subsequent growth of this sorcery student is evident in the burden of angst good old Harry carries around as his magic-in-training mode continues to dominate his colorful yet chaotic existence.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Mark's Take
01/07/2004. Harry Potter is back at Hogwarts and this year he has a crack at the man who betrayed and murdered his parents. But Mark discovers this is a family film, not a children's film. The adults may like it as much as any of the children in the audience, but the series is reaching a point of diminishing returns.

Hawk The Slayer Special Edition DVD (PG)
01/03/2007. DVD Region 2. pub: Network 7952602. 90 minute film plus extras. Price: £14.99 (UK). Stars: Jack Palance and John Terry.

Heavy Rain (PS3)
01/05/2010. pub: Quantic Dream/Sony B002BWONF8. Price £39.99 (UK). Cert 15+.

Hell Girl Volume 1 episodes 1-5: Butterfly
01/11/2008. region 2 DVD: pub: Revelation Films. FUN72601. 1 DVD 125 minutes 5 episodes plus extras. Price: £15.99 (UK).

Hell Girl Volume 2: Puddle
01/05/2009. region2 DVD: pub: Revelation Films. FUN72602. 1 DVD 150 minutes 5 episodes plus extras. Price: £15.99 (UK).

Hell Girl Volume 3: Cherry
01/08/2009. region2 DVD: pub: Revelation Films. FUN72603. 1 DVD 110 minutes 4 episodes plus extras. Price: £15.99 (UK).

Hellboy II: The Golden Army - Mark's take
02/08/2008. Guillermo del Toro makes great horror films like Cronos and Pan's Labyrinth, says Mark. His graphic novel films are just not his best work. Hellboy II's visual images are spectacular and the film is full of fights and action, but there is only a bit of plot and that involves an epic fantasy premise that would have taken multiple films to do well. The characters are flat and the film has no centre. This is a film to watch, but there is not much to think about. The conclusion holds no surprises.

Hellboy: Frank's Take
01/05/2004. Franks discovers that in director Guillermo Del Toro's fantasy actioner Hellboy, there's nothing generic or artificial about the movie's flame-throwing crusader determined to stamp out evil at any cost.

Hellboy: Mark's Take
01/05/2004. Mike Mignola's comic book character Hellboy comes to the screen in high visual style but none too coherently. Our Mark considers that Guillermo del Toro does a better job directing than adapting this story from graphic novel to screen.

Hero (Mark's Take)
02/11/2004. China tries to make its own Crouching Tiger with a story of an enigmatic stranger who has killed a triad of assassins for the benefit of China's first Emperor. The stranger tells the emperor multiple versions of how he killed the emperor's enemies. Visually Hero is stunning. The telling is operatic in style but becomes muddled.

High Tension (Haute Tension): Mark's Take
01/07/2005. This is a French slasher film directed and co-written by Alexandre Aja. In spite of a slight continental feel and a little lesbian relationship, this film is solid cliché from the early days of slasher films. It is one cliché after another, and then at the end the writer plasters on an ending that is logically inconsistent with the rest of the film.

Hollywoodland
01/10/2006. In 1959 a private detective investigates the apparent suicide of George Reeves, television's Superman. This, says Mark, is an interesting film and its weak sequel inter-cut together. They had an original story in Reeves's life and the uncertainties of his death, but it did not need to be turned into film noir. The revelations are intended to be a shocking look at dirty business in Hollywood, but it rarely ever achieves even surprise. As exposes go, this one is pretty tame.

Hoodwinked! (Frank's Take)
01/02/2006. There's always room for a funky-minded fairy tale presented in the form of an engaging animated feature, says Frank. Writer-director siblings Corey and Todd Edwards have a giddy blast retelling the Little Red Riding Hood story in Rashomon-style treatment in the sassy and entertaining Hoodwinked!

House of Flying Daggers: Frank's Take
01/02/2005. Adventurous filmmaker Zhang Yimou mesmerized movie audiences previously with his resonate action-oriented gem Hero. In House of Flying Daggers, he ups the ante and delivers a dynamically polished kinetic drama that enhances this movie genre with its sophisticated ode to romanticism and tradition.

House Of Flying Daggers: Mark's Take
01/01/2005. Beautiful to look at, Zhang Yimou's most recent fantasy martial arts film from China has a cliched plot and a little too much overripe melodrama.

House Of Wax (1953)
1/09/2010. region 2 DVD: pub: Warner Bros 11054. 2 films: 84m & 86m plus extras. Price: under £ 3.00 if you know where to look)stars: Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones and Paul Picerni.

House of Wax: Frank's Take
01/06/2005.  It’s safe to say that this glossy and contemporary take on the nostalgic horror movie House of Wax is not exactly anyone’s idea of an ideal reminiscence that represents this classic boofest from yesteryear. First-time director Jaume Collet-Serra weaves a throwaway thriller that proudly features anemic acting, cheap-minded scares, the obligatory presence of youthful periled pretty people, and a host of thinly veiled horror cliches enough to last a darn lifetime.

How to Train Your Dragon - Mark's take
01/05/2010. A young Viking is anxious to win glory by killing a few of the dragons who ravage his village. When he actually gets to meet a real dragon close up he discovers that dragons are not at all what he thought. Those who enjoyed flying on dragons in 3D in AVATAR can do it again. The plot is overly familiar but still effective. This review includes the new HD trailer for the film.

Hugo (Mark's take)
1/1/2012. There is a phantom haunting the Paris Train Station. Twelve-year-old Hugo lives in the walls of the station and maintains all the mechanical clocks. This film is about him, but also about a lot more. This is much more than a children's film about a little boy. Beautifully filmed in 3D it, turns into an education for the viewer on a subject near and dear to director Martin Scorsese's heart.

Hulk (Geoff's Take)
01/01/2004. pub: Video: Universal 8206736. 132 minutes. Price: £10.99 (UK) - this varies so shop around for the best deal) stars: Eric Banna, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas and Nick Nolte.

Human Target Season 1
1/12/2010. Human Target Season 1 Expanded 3 Disc Set by Bear McCreary. pub: La-La Land Records LLLCD 1150. 3 CDs 63 tracks. Price: $24.98 (US).

Hunter Prey (2009)
1/09/2010. region 2 DVD: pub: Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment KAL8081. 1 DVD 88 minutes with extras. Price: £12.99 (UK))stars: Damian Potier, Clark Bantram, Isaac Singleton Jr, Simon Potter and Erin Gray.

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