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LukeW (England)

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Colin [DVD] [2008]
Colin [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Alastair Kirton
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.26

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed zombie film, 22 April 2010
This review is from: Colin [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Ever wondered what it would be like to wander around London and eat people? Of course you have. Who hasn't?

Anyway, for those who haven't considered this, Colin - an ultra low budget British horror - shows a zombie apocalypse through the eyes of one young man. As it's a zombie film, there's a fair bit of gore which is impressive given the finances involved, and there's a decent atmosphere throughout much of it. Shots of almost deserted streets, a steady background soundtrack of screams, gunfire and distant explosions add to a feeling of inevitability. This isn't the zombie end of the world from Shaun of the Dead, and nor is it in Romero territory. This is British horror without any comedy. It's bleak, grey and dispiriting. So far, so good for a horror film.

But...

There are noticeable flaws. The largest is the overall story. The film is in dire need of a more solid narrative, something for the viewers and Colin himself to get their teeth into. Having Colin wander around London for an hour and half while munching occasionally isn't much of a story. This isn't overcome by the huge coincidence of his sister turning up at a certain point. Other scenes go on too long. Namely, the attack in the flat which features a crowd of zombies who spend ages trying to eat a few people, and the growling/bathroom scene which drags on and on before anything happens. Also, the odd scene such as the girl in the cellar could have been expanded upon. As it was, it lacked the bite of real horror it needed for such an ugly moment and fell flat at the end. A final problem is the length. Ten minutes could have been trimmed without hurting the film - too many scenes were simple filler.

Colin does have some pluses and is worth watching. It's creepy enough, carried well by Alastair Kirton, and the gore is impressive. Overall, though, it falls short of the great British horror it could have been.


American V: A Hundred Highways
American V: A Hundred Highways
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £8.47

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, Mr Cash, 16 April 2010
Death, regret, belief, faith, trains...all staples of Johnny Cash's work and all present here on the fifth American album from The Man In Black.

While American 4 is my personal favourite of the series, 5 is a very close contender. Johnny Cash's power and belief, particularly on `God's Gonna Cut You Down', is staggering especially considering his physical state during the last years of his life. While I have no religious beliefs, even I find his delivery on this track...apocalyptic. `Rose Of My Heart', `Free From The Chain Gang', and a cover of Springsteen's `Further On Up The Road' are equally as powerful and moving. If you can listen to this from start to finish without being moved in some way, then I doubt you're human.

In short, the whole album is the sound of a man coming to the end armed with his regrets, but not weighed down by them.

Thank you, Mr Cash. And good night.


American VI: Ain't No Grave
American VI: Ain't No Grave
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £14.99

31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars In my world, this didn't happen, 16 April 2010
As much as it pains me to say it, American 6 should not have been released. Johnny Cash made some of the most honest and unpretentious music of his career with the American albums. He also made what amount to forgettable B-sides, and these B-sides have been thrown together with very little care by people who are either doing it purely for the money or because they think American 5 was not a superb end to a classic series.

This is a weak collection with only the title track and a Sheryl Crow cover showing any promise. Of course, Johnny Cash was extremely ill when recording these songs but even so, they're a poor representation of the man's power and talent. It would have been far better and more respectful to do him the honour of leaving American 5 as what it was meant to be - his final recordings. This release should not have happened. Stick to the first five and let's pretend the music industry hasn't once again proved what a money-hungry machine it is.


Meat
Meat
by Joseph D'Lacey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finger lickin' good, 15 April 2010
This review is from: Meat (Paperback)
Ever wondered about that burger you're eating? Or that bacon butty you had for breakfast? Ever thought about the chicken in your chicken tikka? After reading Joseph D'Lacey's Meat, you might look at your food in a different way.

Abyrne is a town that has grown after an apocalyptic event. It's not the nicest place to live but given that everywhere else is a wasteland, there isn't much choice. The town is run by two groups: MMP who supply work to much of the population (as well as food), and the Parsons who ensure that the town's religion is followed to the letter. While MMP is the more obvious villain given what they do, I found the Parsons and those blindly following their forced beliefs to be equally as vile. In any case, Abyrne is one of the bleakest examples in fiction of what might come after the collapse of civilisation - a mix of physical horror and emotional brutality that has no time to question the state of things or to think for yourself. Remember the bit in Life of Brian when Brian tells his followers they're all individuals? The people of Abyrne would be first in line to state as one that yes, they are all individuals.

Meat is a superb read with plenty to offer. Take the raw horror from it, or the commentary on religion or the pessimistic view of the human race having learned nothing after the end of all things. Meat doesn't shy away from any of this and I am definitely looking forward to more of Joseph D'Lacey's work.

Pork chops for dinner, anyone?


WaZ [DVD]
WaZ [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stellan Skarsgard
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £7.68

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, unpleasant, nasty...I enjoyed it, 15 April 2010
This review is from: WaZ [DVD] (DVD)
WAZ (or `double U, delta, zee' for those not down with algebra) is a look at the dark places of the serial killer/horror world. Remember how seedy and grim Seven was? WAZ goes into similar territory and left me wanting to have a shower. Always the sign of a good film.

Two cops are hunting a killer who tortures their victims and carves WAZ into their flesh. It quickly becomes apparent that the victims are connected and the torture isn't just the killer having fun. The victims have a choice of their torture or the death of a loved one. It's a grim, unsettling idea and one used to full effect in a number of scenes. Don't get the idea that this a bloodbath throughout. There are some nasty scenes but much of the film is concerned with deeper issues than blood and guts. Saying that, I winced a couple of times mainly during a brief flashback and even that was more about the idea of suffering than anything obvious on screen.

There a couple of flaws. The two cops after a killer isn't an original idea especially with one older and one younger. The atmosphere and settings are at times a little too close to Seven and the twist isn't much of a surprise. I can overlook this last issue as I don't think the film is really about twists and mysteries. It's about survival - and how sometimes, that's the last thing we want.

Overall, an unpleasant journey through a world of regret and suffering. As such, I completely recommend it.


House Of The Devil [DVD] [2009]
House Of The Devil [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Jocelin Donahue
Price: £8.48

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric but disappointing retro horror, 14 April 2010
Take one babysitter, add a spooky house in the middle of nowhere and throw in the feel of a load of early 80s horror films and you have The House of the Devil. While not a lift from any one particular film, the ingredients are so familiar that the result feels like a remake of every horror film made pre video ratings. Remember when pirate copies were swapped between friends and people waited for the babysitter to ignore the premise of the title - Don't Go In The...by going in the cellar/attic/basement/woods/cupboard/toilet/shed and so on. House of the Devil is a throwback to those films and should work well. Sadly, it doesn't.

The set up gets things going nicely: college girl Sam needs some cash for an apartment. A babysitting job comes her way and when it's revealed the `baby' is actually an elderly woman in a giant house, most of us would tell Mr Spooky and his equally spooky wife we're not interested. Of course, Sam needs the money and as this is a horror film, we know she'll take the cash and stay in the house. Cue a decent atmosphere that suggests the horrors to come and cue a very well done feel for the early 80s. Unfortunately, this atmosphere, while the film's great strength, is also its biggest weakness. The director and writer seems to be so set on evoking the feel of the time and therefore the feel of the films that inspired him that he forgets to have anything happen for a huge chunk of the film. Sam wanders around the house, dances in an 80s kind of way, watches some 80s news and uses an 80s phone and...that's about it in terms of events. It's got a great feel to it but a film, especially a horror film, should not rely on atmosphere alone.

Just as the positive reviews for Paranormal Activity left me a little surprised, the reviews all over the dvd cover for this film have left me wondering if anything that's slightly different to the recent horror efforts from Hollywood is being received with such high praise simply because it's not a Saw film or a remake of an Asian film.

Watch HOTD for a nostalgia trip or to get a feel of horror films that may be before your time. Just don't watch it expecting anything too impressive.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 17, 2012 8:38 PM BST


American IV: The Man Comes Around
American IV: The Man Comes Around
Price: £6.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sound of a man's soul, 12 April 2010
I came to Johnny Cash's American albums in the wrong numerical order and I'm happy I did. Along with five, American 4 is some of the most honest work I've heard in music regardless of genre, and therefore some of the best. While the first three American releases are good, none touch the fourth.

When I heard the album contained a cover of NIN's Hurt, I was dubious but I'm more than happy to say that as Johnny Cash's version is such a different animal to Trent Reznor's original, comparisons are pointless. It is simply a work of genius - as is much of the album. The Man Comes Around, I Hung My Head, First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and We'll Meet Again amongst others are sung and played with such complete honesty that there's no need to compare them to any of the originals. This album is the sound of a man giving it his best during his final days.

It's not just the music world which was lucky to have Mr Cash in it. Buy this and listen to the sound of a man with nothing to hide.


TimeRiders (Book 1)
TimeRiders (Book 1)
by Alex Scarrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definition of a thrilling story, 5 April 2010
This review is from: TimeRiders (Book 1) (Paperback)
I read a comment by Stephen King about his book The Running Man in which he described it as 'all story'. The same is true of Alex Scarrow's TimeRiders. There's nothing superfluous here. There's just one damn good story.

Three teenagers are rescued moments from their death by an old man who tells them they can either die or come with him to be TimeRiders - a group dedicated to making sure history goes as it should. The kids of course choose this semi-life rather than death and we're off into the world of time travel, of WW2, and of futures and pasts that shouldn't have happened.

It's a superb book in the YA area but with enough intelligence and style to lift it way above the limits of kid fiction. Alex Scarrow proves again that not only is he a superb thriller writer but that YA doesn't have to feature smouldering vampires or vacuous rich kids in New York.

A great history lesson and a great example of what if?


Harry Brown [DVD] [2009]
Harry Brown [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Michael Caine
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Justice? Or just entertainment?, 31 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Harry Brown [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
It doesn't matter what paper you read. If you're a thicky Sun reader, someone who gets their `facts' from the Daily Express, or worst of all, you read the Daily Mail, more or less everybody agrees that Britain is a toilet these days. Who better to clean that toilet than Michael Caine?

Caine plays Harry Brown, an old man living his last years on a housing estate populated by chav criminals. Harry keeps his head down if only to keep it on his neck. He plays chess with his one friend in a manky pub, he avoids a specific subway and he closes his curtains when he sees someone being beaten for challenging the chavs after they set off his car alarm.

Of course, this is a vigilante film and Brown needs a reason to get angry. This reason comes without too much of a surprise and the scene is set for Caine to deliver one or two classic lines and dish out the sort of justice the police either can't or won't give.

One on hand, it's a simplistic film that we've seen before (Death Sentence, The Brave One and of course Death Wish) and it does nothing in terms of looking for a positive solution to our problems. On the other hand, it has no qualms with showing us that some people are irredeemable. As much as we would hope there is some good and potential in everyone, the film has no time for that. The criminals' existence is pointless. They serve no purpose, generate no good in the world and so the world would be better off without them. It doesn't matter that you could argue they had no chance to begin with when given the life they have. It doesn't matter that you could argue the middle and upper classes are responsible for creating the chav underclass that's become so prominent in the last 15 or so years. What matters is the life you lead regardless of the start you get. And if your decisions results in you becoming yet another example of the chavs in Harry Brown, well, don't blame anyone but yourself when Michael Caine shoots you in the head.

Watch it for entertainment or watch it to think about why we're where we are. Just make sure you watch it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2010 3:47 PM BST


Triangle [DVD]
Triangle [DVD]
Dvd ~ Melissa George
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.10

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thinking man's horror film..., 31 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Triangle [DVD] (DVD)
...which isn't to say you have to be a genius to understand the film but it might help if you don't spend your Saturday nights glued to The X Factor. There's a lot going on below the surface of Triangle, and it takes a bit of concentration to keep up. Do so, though, and you'll be rewarded with an intelligent script and a solid performance from Melissa George.

Triangle is a hard film to give a synopsis of without spoiling it but here goes: a small group set out on a sailing trip and quickly hit trouble in the shape of a storm which comes out of nowhere. Drifting on a wrecked boat, they're understandably happy when a cruise ship appears. Although nobody responds to their shouts, they manage to board the ship and look for the crew.

There isn't one. But that doesn't mean they're alone.

So far, it sounds like the set up for a stalk and slash snooze fest, doesn't it? Rest assured, it's miles away from this and miles better than you'd expect given the low budget (some of the CG is a little off). In the same way that The Descent was about so much more than women underground being hunted by things in the dark, Triangle is about regret, guilt and punishment. If you can appreciate that, you're in for a treat.

The only downside for me was the odd moment of heavy symbolism but that's a minor complaint. Triangle is a solid psychological horror with enough violence to please most reasonable gorefans, and enough intelligence to stand out from the crowd.

Just don't ask me to go sailing.


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