From the laser-blasted surface of the DVD came

The Relief of Belsen.

Two weeks before the end of World War II, the British Army discovered the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. 40,000 inmates, most of them women, were living and dying in extreme squalor among heaps of the dead. The Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) also faced a typhoid epidemic that was raging through the camp. The film is based on eyewitness accounts of how they dealt with the crisis.

Initially, the death toll got worse as the RAMC seemed to struggle in vain to cope, but eventually the typhoid was eradicated by washing and delousing the inmates. The next crisis was how to feed people who had been systematically starved by the Germans and whose bodies couldn’t cope with a normal diet. The answer was a mixture used to relieve famine in India, although it had to be adulterated to suit the tastes of the camp’s Eastern European population. 

This is an understated film, verging on being a docudrama and con­cent­rat­ing on how the RAMC dealt with the situation with archive footage of the horrific scenes that greeted the British when they arrived and voiceovers taken from reports and diaries written at the time.


10,000 BC.

I don’t think I’ve seen a single film about prehistoric humans that hasn’t been utter bollocks. 10,000 BC didn’t fail to disappoint in this respect. Much fast forwarding punctuated by occasional pauses and then a complete one long before the film came to an end.

The CGI looked pretty good, but as for the rest…


War, Inc.

I must admit I’d never heard of this one. John Cusack appears to be reprising his role as the assassin from Grosse Point Blank in this satire on America’s disastrous bumblings in the Middle East. As a cover story, he is in charge of the celebrations of the liberation of Turaqistan, but he’s really there to assassinate the Prime Minister, Omar Sharif (no relation).

It’s not really that funny, but then again, there’s no reason why satire should necessarily have everyone rolling in the aisles. The plot is a little flabby and unfocused as the film tries to skewer various targets. The mawkish ending is when Cusack learns that Central Asian pop starlet, Yonica Babyyeah, is actually his daughter.


Ironman.

Evil Middle Eastern sorts kidnap arms manufacturer Tony Stark to force him to build them one of his weapons – in a cave. Instead, he goes MacGyver on a tube of toothpaste and a torch to become Fe Man (well, at this stage he’s only the prototype so he can only have an abbreviated title) and escapes from his captors.

When Stark gets back to civilisation, he vows to change his ways. The board of his company isn’t so happy with this change of direction. Stark also finds he likes dressing in metal and Doing Good™. But bad guys like dressing in metal, too, and it seems Big Suits™ are all the rage.

So if you like boy-on-boy action (now watch me get all sorts of unwanted hits for that one) and have a metal fetish, you’ll love the fight at the end.

It was all right. Probably one of the better film adaptations of a Marvel character in recent years, but the comic is probably better.

Cinema-taped version, but the picture quality was fairly decent. Every so often the soundtrack would cut to Chinese, which, annoyingly, it did at the very end.

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