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ScottPaul ScottPaul "Scopan" (Surrey, UK)

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Long Weekend [DVD]
Long Weekend [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jim Caviezel
Price: £4.25

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outback, Upfront!, 3 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Long Weekend [DVD] (DVD)
The first interesting, if morosely initial thing about this suprisingly out-of-the-outback blue remake of a 30 year old cult classic is just how many species we've lost since the first pair of bickering animal murderers snarled and sniped their way to a deceptively pleasant little bit of Aussie bush to pitch a tent, soak up sun, argue some more and destroy just about every wild thing that happens by them. Considering this is from a director who came to prominence with the hysterically bad slasher 'Urban Legend' and followed it up with the sadly unpromising (but better) slasher 'Valentine', before becoming more bolder and serious with 'Storm Warning', I was engagingly pleased.

But how does it compare to the original? Well it's brighter, beautifully photographed, with the promise of better attack sequences, yet somehow they don't add up the amount evolved in the first.Thankfully, a little more is done with the 'mystery couple' who, it transpires, have a camper and tent not pitched too far from the bickering duo, but that could disappoint fans of the original who were used to their disappearance completely unexplained and prefered supplying their own explanation, but you could sttill have fun here with improvised explanations. Jim Caviezel, who I don't always get on with, and Claudia Karvan as the warring couple, are less OTT and stilted than John and Briony from the trailblazer, and both are rather less bile-filled which makes them a smidge better to spend time with, but not sympathetic at all to their plight which they entirely brought on themselves. But as a viable remake, it's not so well-bred it'll affect a few changes. Also the threat seems very lukewarm throughout much of the running time, whereas the air billowed thick with dormant threat and each scene seemed to trick-trick-trickle with dread in the highly rewarding original. This movie is too sure of itself, but in fairness, it probably doesn't help the fact many of us seeing it are expecting what we see, knowing the original as we do. Also, annoyingly, considering a kangaroo was the first deliberately assinated, we don't get its mates doing anything, though they are glimpsed once later looking up at the sky. But as remakes go, thank God there's not a masked knife-waver, human cannibal or a cursed Japanese girl hiding behind her hair in sight, and you may get a kick out of it as a novice. It doesn't harm the first one either and there's space on-site for both. But if you can see the original first, do, especially as it's still only £2.99! The end scene with the lorry in this one, though, is far more rewardingly delivered than the workable final from 1978.

But what you do get with this 2008 remake, unlike the first, is an amazingly kind set for the price. There may be no commentary, but an otherwise full disc of extras, where it's nice to see the actors truly aren't as hateful to God's creatures as they make out so well, and for anyone with a taste for the undervalued nature-goes-nuts sub-genre of horror and/or an interest in the natural world, a 'Taming The Wild' featurette is great fun, shot in the natural park where the film was made, and you see many species up close, including shingle-backs (not in the first movie) and very cuddly wombats. I also forgot to mention that the dog, a border collie in this film, is as adorable as the dog 30 years ago. There's an essential 'Making of' where the fateful Dugong is masterfully recreated with silicon (back in 1978 most wouldn't know what they looked like, but the older one was still amazing. The new one looks like an animal planet prefect (but without movement whereas 30 years ago, if you looked hard you'd swear it was breathing, and back then it also seemed more like a suffering avenger of doom), far more frightening than in this film, yet its last scene in the remake does give off a jump, and the loss of its baby and then itself is truly horrifying. There's also Interviews, 'Behind the Scenes', a character 'Death Scene', 'Production Director's Diary' and an embarrassing and mercifully cut scene where Mr Caviezel channels Christopher Walken to verbally abuse a duck (though there's more gulls in the actual scene) for pooing on his head as a teen, thereby setting the scene for how miserable his life has become. Absurd as a US slasher, I agree, but only as discomfiting as the actual truth humans tend to blame animals for merely breathing and being "in their way" all the time!

This movie is searingly presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 and is an effective enough remake, bizarrely called 'Nature's Graveyard' in its homeland, and across Europe. There's room for another movie called this, surely. More to the point, set one in China and the US, even the UK, where we've destroyed even more land and killed even more of its peaceful denizens! I definitely recommend this, even if the extras may reward you more than the movie, but even if you don't enjoy your Long Weekend with it, simply go back 30 years and book the first getaway, as holidays are meant to be compared to each other.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 11, 2012 5:32 PM BST

Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £13.16

2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars In Your Dreams And Mine, She Used To Be Enchanted, 27 Feb 2012
What a hell of a way to apparate after a ten year wait, with this meandering, bombastic, clunking collection. The long-held fear I had over Dave Stewart's involvment is the first proof of dread; his old hand at Eurythmic's over-indulgent approach to commercial music permeates like a bad smell, but he's one part of a bigger promblem-which is Stevie herself. Warning cloud bloomed as soon as I realised the best song by far starts the album 'and 'Secret Love', the briefest tune here, spellbinds instantly with those perfectly placed ingredients bubbling to a full boil, but the contents tip up when the turgid (and apalling second choice for a single) 'For What It's Worth' starts next. Direction-free, lifeless, banal storyline, with terribly weak vocals, she's droning through the motions to get to lunch, or worse, she's alternately eating it already and moaning! I fear senility is finally here.

In fact, it's a real buzzkill, especially with all the lip-service and total overdone acclaim it received on release-a complete outlandish joke for a record baring nothing but clear lame sorcerous proof a long absence from the music wonderlands of old has conjured up nothing but ancient, already used ideas, bar one song that had been knocking about since the 70s anyway! Never has a Stevie album bled so many problems: uninteresting tunes married to sometimes atrocious lyrics, bland arrangments, melodies gone south with the wind, aimless padded out song lengths, and even worse, it's all so damn ordinary-something Stevie never used to be. As if Stewart's dismal production duties weren't damaging enough, even her voice is adding its own ominous fire to the pyre of her career. Those once astounding vocals, such an integral part of artillery, have wafted away, so, contrary to the self-indulgent, over-produced and ill-fitting tone of the album, she's performing so many of these bloated offerings in a voice that really can't be bothered. The soppy, icky 'Italian Summer is senile bilge, but would have marginally improved with a higher key, but plain unspeakable horror 'Cheaper Than Free' has you running for the off-switch, while others toy with slow-building life for a minute or so before dissipating rapidly as the songs blab on to nowhere, like insincere and pious 'New Orleans' and bog-standard embarrassment 'Wide Sargasso Sea'-a piece so wearisome and dry (ironically) that it would be quicker to swim it than listen to it, but a full non-credit to all involved for the album's absolute stinker: the self-congratulatory grating swill of 'Soldier's Angel'. Considering Lindsey Buckingham has never guested on a Stevie album vocally, he's never sounded in iller health, and once again, she isn't sounding too good either, but its criminal undoing is assured with a sung line right out of one her long past, yet far better songs 'The Battle Of The Dragon' which was sadly never a single, add to this that 'Soldier' is basically a rehashed 'Desert Angel' that dated back to 1991, plus several others. Angels, and ghosts too, both turn up again in the racously loud and thudding 'Ghosts Are Gone'-and both are a worn to ribbons theme, and more proof her lyrical conjuration of ingredients have passed their sell-by-date, so cut those ribbon strings before we do you, Stevie.

Having had this album a year now, only a few have tried to echo 'Secret Love's' perfection; the swinging title track (yet its the melody and spirit that win it, not the old hat, unimportant lyrics),'Everybody Loves You', an Eurythmics' 'Miracle of Love' soundalike courtesy of deliberation by Stewart, 'Annabel Lee', yet its drawn-out, repetitious conclusion threatens to drown it, a struggle I never found with similar endings on her 1989 album) and the 'Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)' interpretation of the Twilight series is a deeply-felt, twinkling charmer. But on the whole, one expected a hell of a lot more than waning candlebrights, potion bottles almost empty of ideas, and 'Redone Spells-the easy way'. Frankly a whole host of 80s sparklers (Kim Wilde, Duran Duran, A-ha, Alphaville, Sandra, and most recently The Bangles) have all returned between 2009 and 2011 with absolute crackers of billowing astonishment to far less fanfare, and Stevie seems to be charting this barely woken zombie-like album on reputation and pity alone, as by their standards, Stevie so "wants to burn brightly, wants to burn faster, but then the candle dies". Our love for her will follow, trust me.

A 5.0/10 at best, no patch on her past, including the much maligned but very fine 'Street Angel' from 1994. Drugged up to the eyeballs with enough pills and coke to set downtown LA partying for a decade as she was when that album was released, she still managed to fill it with strong-hooked, memorable and sharper tunes in abundance. This one has barely enough good tunes to fill an EP, nor does it call out for repeat listens beyond very large canyon gaps. Perusing the lavish booklet and cover, clearly one wise owl could impart no wisdom, and one wild horse couldn't help put her pieces of once-amazing songcraft back together. Twit-to-you, Stevie, as there's "just no fire burning, just a soul dying". If ears were spears.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 8, 2012 1:37 AM GMT

Prey [DVD]
Prey [DVD]
Dvd ~ Grégoire Colin
Offered by rsdvd
Price: £2.72

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Prey-ing for an Animal Horror is half-answered, 19 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Prey [DVD] (DVD)
This blood-drenched, earthy, dirty French movie is a faithful watch for everyone pleased that modern horror movies sometimes do sidestep the 'I see dead people' drama/cannibalistic infections/slasher/asbo-brats/torture porn, and a well-made animal-based horror is potentially a horror-fan like me's dream, but it unravels after a good night's temporary companionship, undone by the cheating front cover that promises a combined species grand assault that never happens, little, if any shots of real animals, and a largely unsatisfactory feeling that this meaty piece was taken from the oven and hob too quickly, instead of simmering nicely. Wild Boar are a great choice for the deserved threat to our argumentative and obnoxious animal killers combing the nearby woods for what's killing the resident deer (another ideal threat never used), and the tension mounts for some time, and there is a fair amount of gore and pain on show up to a point, but the attacks are frustratingly barely-seen, and the close-ups recall the less dextrous days of 'Razorback' (which still probably remains the best killer pig vehicle), considering the shortcomings on this one, despite how effects/make-up are supposed to have advanced since 1983, and actually make it look like the men aren't under attack from an animal at all, yet when they're being harrassed, tracked and hunted, you do feel these barely-seen creatures are hunting them with an expert tracking system and you feel fear, excitement, anticipation, and then it kind of wafts away on the breeze. This to me does not snort total success. Nor do the lack of people that really need to suffer animal wrath in every walk of life. Why concentrate on these few? Worse, there's the usual in-breeding, nature-tampering by Man excuse that can't seem to ever grasp the notion that animals have a perfect right to attack us for as many reasons as we do each other and they don't need US to control, excuse and explain away any thought they may have on this score. The biggest threat to horror creativity these days is clearly lack of imagainative risk.

There's no extras on this film to speak of, perhaps unsurprisingly, but 'Prey' (while no relation to the far better US killer Lion movie made some years before) is an enjoyably cooked breakfast while its sizzling away in the undergrowth, but it goes cold quickly out in the open air, so I find myself in the unusual position of being little bothered of a repeat viewing, which I know won't season its rather regrettable deficiencies. Nonetheless I may keep it; it's certainly not bad or even indifferent, as the Nature Fights Back movement of the 70s will never happen again, and most of those movies remain frustratingly out of print. Maybe the slightly earlier, than this, 'Pig-Hunt' is better, maybe it isn't, I don't know, having avoided it so far, but now I wonder if that might better bring home the human bacon.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2012 5:57 PM BST

Boogeyman 2 [DVD]
Boogeyman 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tobin Bell
Offered by orbitingbooks
Price: £3.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boogeyman 2 Bogus For Belief!, 19 Jan 2012
This review is from: Boogeyman 2 [DVD] (DVD)
It's typical of the mass-market that this depressingly bad 'sequel' is better received than the only one to gain a cinema run, which itself suffered from terribly bad CGI work at the creature of the title's final unveling, plus a narratvie slump, but that first film boasted three charming characters, especially in the tasty pairing of hotties Barry Watson and 'Bones's wonderful Emily Deschanel, though both deserve a far classier vehicle next time. A surprise the original made it into the cinema, considering it was an amazingly dour affair, yet managed to beseech enough jolt-induced camera angles, slamming doors and fake scares to actually disquiet you.

The wretched sequel achieves none of this and the director's commentary betrays everything wrong with it in a classic way that only the desperate first-timer can have, proclaiming the usual tiresome love of old-school slasher movies, most of which, even at their worst would be far better than this dreck. After his cheerful disclosure that the studio wanted to completely ditch the supernatural element and return to the tired by-the-numbers slasher movies that have sadly never left us since 'Scream' unintentionally brought them back in all their non-glory, therefore completely destroying this redundant franchise's brittle idea from the start, he blatantly namechecks all the usual slashers, while happily using every scene from them he can, and the obligatory sex scene marked out for two imminent diers is too dire for words. He's amazingly chipper all the way through the chat; he even seems to think the sceneario unfolding in a mental hopsitalover a high school or house is inspired, another astoudingly arrogant puff of misguided self-worth, or did he conveniently miss 'Session 9', 'Boo', 'Shrooms', 'House Of 9' and many others in the past decade, to say nothing of 'Halloween's' worthless sequel from 1982.

Betancourt's lies continue: he he went for "real" actors over the "TV type"-an absolute riot considering naff, unwanted d-movies like this don't call for anything else. None of this lot will become stars, even for this stinker, they're insanely annoying, reminding us their truly worth the dirge they're in, and his mentioning of the slasher long producing stars, like the Bacons and the Depps in the 80s is bull-both those movies were worthy of the money they made (well, one was) and those two stars would have made it anyway, even without them. Incidentally I can't think of one star who'd use any slasher since 'Scream' for a career-ripening ascent. He even rips from the failed 2000 slasher 'Valentine' silly ending of a double-twist killer. Laughingly ghosts are refered to by him and the screenwriter, both saying how where they were filming, ghosts were said to be seen, though they didn't see them. You think?! A shame-they might have made a half decent movie then, but isn't it ironic how this should be brought up, given their die-hard slasher non-credentials favour any other horror appraoch. And both him and his screenwriter get no pluses for getting Jigsaw from the 'Saw' franchise to do a Robert Englund as a psychiatrist. Tobin, try an actual horror film next time.

Just when you think it couldn't get it any worse, Betancourt proclaims he hopes his heroine is a suspect, like it's an amazing thought, rather than the dumbest thing said yet,and mentions Depp again in 'Secret Window' and 'Fight Club'-both films which have nothing to do with this tripe, and its utter paucity of ideas, tension, action and originality. It's completely down to false advertising that I suffered this abysmal bile, as the front cover blatantly embelishes a fantastic illustration of a demonic/spiritually evil being, backed up with the fact a so-called franchise isn't expected to bloody switch sub-genre for its second attempt, whether it's passable entertainment or not. Passed out of a toilet describes this as best, though non-discriminatroy slasher fans-mainly pre-schoolers who've never seen a horror movie,may get a slight thrill from bits of it on one viewing, but anyone with at least a little dignity, whether fans of the unremarkable first offering or not, would be best to send this non-Boogey snot straight into a Kleenex and bin, if they don't want to pass it on for cross-infection, as this particular bug has already re-circulated into far too many airways.

Husk [DVD]
Husk [DVD]
Dvd ~ Devon Graye
Price: £11.99

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go Husky's!, 10 Dec 2011
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This review is from: Husk [DVD] (DVD)
Full marks in blood and corn to this full-strength belter that easily became the best horror of 2010. Ripe with deeply charismatic little-known twenty-somethings, a wonderful premise, the prevading smoke of dread that only billows on thicker with each ticking minute, an atmosphere to die in aswell as die for, plus a deeply unpredictable script and searing direction, this utterly daring and intelligent horror, bravely eschewing the cheap Hollywood asbo-brat/'I see dead people'/slasher/cannibal market that almost entirely legolands the whole genre these days, demands to be seen for more reasons that even I can probably come up with.

All I know is that it's been a massive while since I've felt so deeply about a bunch of charming students who wanted nothing more than a nice drive home and entered a hell-born ritual so accidentally, and rolled with the punches so brilliantly, that I felt nothing but consistent dread. Their bonds with each other are compelling, the unwinding plot that creeps all about you before springing its truly nasty surprise just about embarrasses every Hollywood (and non-Hollywood)horror made around it, and I truly felt I'd been shredded and pulled through a corn-row backwards enduring their hapless hell. So many nice touches to comment on, the most searingly memorable are the ingenious way one could escape the curse, showing more thought than your usual implausibly undying knifer, the most accurate portrayls of zombified people since the 80s (yes they do look dead and don't bite/eat people and turn others like them etc) and the touching friendship between a jock and his geeky mate, plus said jock's feelings for his girl. These characters are as brilliantly drawn as the students from 'The Faculty', and 'Reeker' and there's few films you can say that about these days in the horror genre.

Criminally this was given little push and very few people have seen it. Worse, as it's modern, and daring to vary its approach, it's fallen afoul of a few unfair reviews on here, which makes me wonder what viewers really want from horror today when it sows some individuality. Another rule for old "classics" like 'Alien', 'Nightmare On Elm Street', 'Halloween' and 'Don't Look Now' seems to put them beyond even a slight critical scratching, yet each one has a few stumbling blocks at least, one of which I even hate, and all of them have really bad endings, except for 'Alien' which was fine plot-wise but technically overbalanced with a dodgy last shot. Endings are often the bane of horror films today and, sadly, even promising ones can come unstuck, unless you really feel everything leading up to it was so good you haven't the heart to read it the riot act, though you know it deserves it. Can there really be roomfuls of execs out there who spend hours deliberately tacking on the worst endings they can to these flicks? They deserve being strung up on those poles and left for the crows themselves if so.

As endings go, we may not have pleaded for it, but this final chapter sews up perfectly all that's gone before. This is a bleak film, and deserves respect for such a Damningly there are no extras to speak of, but this After Dark Original (as stated a New Breed Of Fear-which it most certainly is by today's standards!) grows stalks above the truly embarrassing and tiresome guff whose many trailers this movie houses, and it couldn't be further from them in company if it tried. Not that it really needed to. A sequel would be lovely. 'Reeker' got a fine one that complimented the original, digging into its legend more, and there's even better an idea here for germination but we won't get one, as the words 'Blade', 'Hostel', 'Jason' and 'Land Of Dead' aren't attached to it.

Scarecrow horror has yet to disappoint me and every one I've seen so far has been in a field of its own and this grows that extra acre to be absolutely ear-to-ear with the 1988 'Scarecrows' masterpiece concerning war-deserters abandoning a stolen cargo-hold and I can think of no higher praise than that. At the extremely generous price it is, you won't be disappointed and full marks to everyone involved for taking a potent idea out of the soil, heating it, watering it and letting it bloom into a fearfully believable exercise in sustained, achingly performed terror. For once 'Ain't It Cool News' have something right when they proclaim it's "full of gore, tense scares with thrills up to the final frame". I'd add intelligence, heart, brilliant acting and winning emotional involvement. One of the common moans from viewers is watching bunch of kids we can't get on with; feel nothing for. This film couldn't be more opposite all that's wrong with current horror and that is just another hefty recommendation in one long corn-row of them. Go pick it!
Comment Comments (15) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 30, 2012 10:19 PM BST


5.0 out of 5 stars Prostitute's A Hooker Of A Piece., 19 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Prostitute (Audio CD)
Alphaville-as far as the shameful US & UK go, top the board for most undervalued and ignored band anywhere, Kim Wilde taking the female throne with that. After their very strong debut-and even better sophomore set, they stumbled a bit with frankly uninspired single releases from the 3rd album, apart from the excellent anthem 'Romeos' and a jazz and classical based 3rd album, while far from being bad or even average, failed to really thrill. But a gap of four years, they returned in 1994 with this fiercely audacious, daring collection that critics have rated their finest work, and though it's stated there's little of a singles-market draw here, I would disagree. I burnt this album from a Nordic friend and only played it in fits over long periods of time, wiht only a few songs catching my attention-the one day, this album finally went as low as a[] online, I sent off for it and on playing a clearer CD, far moreso than a downloaded one and complete with song lyrics, the tunes exploded into life, memory, meaning and all the subtleties that previously escaped me all sunk in. Not only is it a grower (people be patient-the instant pop of the debut was long ago, and no bad thing either) it's a work of supreme beauty, power, raw intelligence, imagination, vision and accomplishment.

Criminally only two singles got a release-the searing, politician swiping 'Fools', with a typically hook-filled set-up and hugely hummable chorus, and the more laid-back, operatic power of 'The Impossible Dream' featuring a soaring chorus and grandiose saxophone. In a rich menu of differing tastes, many ingredients titilate the palette, from the military doom-march of 'Beethoven' (all images of boot-camps, torched towns and worse)to the pithy, minimalist charmer 'Oh Patti', lyrically ambiguous 'Ascension Day', coming out of the speakers like a bison herd charging, and all these songs merge wonderously together in a natural patchwork of progression.

There's not a dud out of the 16 tracks here, no mean feat for an act never having loaded up an album so generously before. Sinewy and deceptively gentle 'Ain't It Strange', classical-lite Alice In Wonderland based 'All In The Golden Afternoon', elegant 'The One Thing' (shades of Bryan Ferry's 'Don't Stop The Dance' in the chorus and swirling, full-blooded up-tempo 'Apollo' are all further highlights and the latter ends the disc on a massive high. But my big faves are 'Fools' and the album's most amazing piece, 'Euphoria', an epic seven minuter that builds creepily through an incredibly slow-building opening of quiet, if unnerving calm, until Marian comes on, tenor remarkably low, then suddenly achieves the heights-scaling pitch he's known for, his multi-tracked voice coming across like an army of warriors screaming for the blood of their enemies, though in tune. He sounds like he's willing the sinking city he's singing about to rise up from the waves through pure sound alone...and if anyone could do it! The frenzied paranoia of 'Ivory Tower', striking not only for its acceptance of death but for him referencing the many songs he's written for albums previously! and steely 'Iron John' complete my favourite set.

The ones that struggled the most for me to get into fully were the bizarre musical construction 'Parade', though lyrically its stance on the authorities disregard for their dead and dying military hold another spot-on resonance for today) and the rather unmelodious, inflexible, ronotic 'Some People', but they still work. The inlay card is very pretty, as is the dog on the inside. Another dog-a greyhound features on the cover of their next album (US version.) In fact the only really bizarre thing is the album's title.

Very unbecoming for such regal and elegant brilliance. Still, if it's a pleasureable service you'll pay for...!

Hallowed Ground [DVD]
Hallowed Ground [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jaimie Alexander
Price: £5.90

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step Right Up, Come-A Crop-er!, 19 Oct 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hallowed Ground [DVD] (DVD)
Cornfields really are the new hallowed ground (sorry) for fertile new horror. Schools, mental homes, disused unending trucker highways, disowned towns full of cannibals and forests full of the same, all done too often and often moreso with most amentable results. But every since those pesky 'Children Of The Corn' sliced through enormous fields of corn, it seems the one place where a ready imagination plus generous shocks, atmosphere and gore forever grow ripe. This film is pretty excellent, and while I wouldn't place it above the more recent After Dark Original masterpiece 'Husk' nor the 1988 diamond of terror 'Scarecrows' (check both out), it doesn't come too far a season behind. Look out too for welcome appearances by TV and 80s horror movie stalwart Ethan Phillips ('Critters', the Fox Network 'Werewolf' series) as a dodgy priest, plus also Brian McNamara as the sheriff, and previous star of 'Arachnophobia' and regular of many popular TV series like 'NYPD Blue', 'Star Trek', 'The O.C' among others.)

Jaimie Alexander acquits herself with a stong performance as the stranded girl in a small town. She spies a little girl at the petrol station where her car breaks down, a little girl she is destined to meet later, after first being set upon by a blonde reporter, who is herself in town to investigate legends of the townspeople nailing others to crosses to ensure good yearly crop yields. It soon transpires that Alexander's presence was impending to re-raise the long dead preacher, immoblised on a cross in the fields for his crimes. But his followers still exist...and they're expecting him back very soon.

As with any Scarecrow horror I've seen, the atmosphere seeps in from the start, and, like many crop-based horrors, the sunny day means no respite at all from the terror, in direct contrast to most horror films having to be set at night. The billowing fields of corn-rows are as eerie and intimdating as ever, shaking in the breeze, casting shadows all around, and hiding...who knows what. Unsurprisingly the performances are strong, the right side of nutty for the crank-jobs, and easily lends weight a premise that dares to be different, even if won't demand distributor support for putting bums of seats in the current wave of torture porn, bored hoodies and twist-enders.

As day turns to night, the horrific situation impending is more pronounced, and the tension buttons are all cranked up. I should say no more, but see it as another refreshing field of real horror that should be piling into cinemas in the wake of the stuff that chugs up mulitplexes today. The ending itself, such a bugbear in modern horror aswell, is pleasingly apt after such an ordeal. This is one crop ripe for picking, people.

Kim Wilde
Kim Wilde
Price: £10.21

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kim Debuts Tops Of Pops & Rocks., 7 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Kim Wilde (Audio CD)
The 80s-the only decade where music was so much better than the craggy critics that bemoaned it, therefore only a few got their dues and Kim remains the most underrated and unappreciated of all, a somewhat baffling offence, as this was accepted at the time, if a little rudely as the "best Blondie album they never made". Aside from the fact Kim was always better, there's more own-identity here than on many first stabs-and this is no nick, but a full-on piercing. While synth was heralding a great new musical movement in 1981, Kim's debut actually is a far more guitar-driven, student-rock approach than the career-best multi-faceted syth-rock dreams that would become her following three albums. Kim's career got started with the massively overrated 'Kids In America'-in actual fact a most unremarkable song, with a monotone (if effective-ish) verse, an almost lifless, even childish chorus, and this is the song people go on about at the expense of all the other hundreds of far better things she's done!

Intriguingly and correctly, this song doesn't even start the album off-it's midway down the playlist where it fulfills the odd function of belending in with far livelier, importnat pieces, yet sounds far better as part of the team than on its own, where it almost flounders. Yet 'Chequered Love'-all pounding guitar, grandly confident and teasing vocals and snappy lyrics, almost obliterates it completely and cements her and her family instant knack of melding a brilliant hook-filled all-purpose pleaser that carries a huge amount of indvidual validity that should easily appeal to the alternative scene aswell. Even moreso with the tinkling, edgy manic-tripping of 'Water On Glass'-another new wave dream and a unique choice for a single. But Kim proved another completely ignored quality here-she was an albums artists as much as a singles artist. In addition, she actually manages to pad whole albums out with many potential singles, something inaccurately taken for granted by many biggish singles acts, whose LPS don't live up to such runours.

But even better is the instantly diverse approach. Alongside the 45s chart-pleaser format flows evidence of a deeper, darker, more alternative smoke billowing. Lyrically, straightfoward celebrations of youth-('Young Heroes'-sounding far more anthemic than 'Kids' ever did) and busted love-affairs are rather shockingly merged with decaying old cities, beings' souls disappearing through time into sound, and a deeply humourous and dirty tale of a small-town prostitute set to a startling ska-approach for '2-6-5-8-0'. So seamlessly do all these things work together that it may take several listens to appreciate all the many well-cogged wheels turning in place, but that's no bad thing.

While the singles are class (even 'Kids' had a style and lyrics that point to far more impressive approaches on the wicked follow-up album), the risky about-turn to shiny pop impresses most. Side One's most standout track is the icy freeze of 'Everything We Know'-and it's a reggae track-yet without any hint of sun at all. Brave, impressive, risky, and brilliantly done, manipulating a style as easily as any of the male groups were doing back then. The ska song already mentioned is another style seamlessly worked into the setlist, but the last 3 songs are truly the stuff of career-building edifices. Indeed the slowly building, instantly atmopsheric strains of beautiful ballad 'You'll Never Be So Wrong' is the album's absolute template moment-pictures in your mind are conjured up instantly from Kim's voice-and it's her best vocal on the album-not bad for someone barely 20! It's a devastating haunter that etches in the mind as it fades off, pointing the way to the grand new-wave and spacious ballads to follow through the years ('Just A Feeling', 'Can You Hear It', 'Sing It Out For Love', 'Fit In'). Proof there is vast substance and depth behind the so-called sex siren pop singer look. Not surprised this was pulled from being the 'Kids' b-side (showing that song up even more then!) and given its due place on the album (as would 'Can You Hear It' two years later interestingly, though that was in better company being backed with 'Love Blonde'), and the eerie, delicious oddity non-worded chorus song 'Tuning In Tuning On' replaced it, but ends the album too, again exhibiting a direction that could go anywhere. A unique spoken passage ends it, something 'Dream Sequence' would use two years later in another song surprise.
The other impressive last tune is the first ever song Kim recorded-the aggressive, straight-talking 'Falling Out'-featuring great vocals and the second song to mention a gun-who could ask for more? The attitude would get even angrier and justified on the superlative first two tracks on her next album "Select".

This album comes with the two b-sides, the charmingly vivid Western-lite 'Shane' and the boppy but barely brilliant 'Boys'-it's not bad, but unsually unimportnat for an 80s Kim tune, and the last immature-sounding song she'd do for the 80s thank God, but why this became a double-A side in lieu of many terrific b-sides through the years I'll never know! Together with 'Kids', it's the least smart thing on here, but still good and easily faces up to other people's 1981 singles. The single 'Water On Glass' has a better ending than the one opening the album. The sleeve notes are detailed and appease and annoy in equal measure, becoming more unbearable reading with each following album release, as we realise just how underappreaciated, misguidedly received and ill-marketed and barely supported this poor woman quickly became. Well we know the truth-we've ears for that, and a general amount of common sense, regarding just how far from artistic vision,musical variety and boundary-pushing creativity we've now come.

The Queen of music is not Madonna, it is not some desperado tart who flashes it cos it takes attention away from the dubious product she's actually pushing-apart from herself. Stastistics mean nothing, something selling bucket-loads doesn't add up to quality. The world of music never did-and never will-start with a TV show for alcopops for kids parties and dodgy karaoke dread, though they may end it. This album proves who is the real Queen and her subjects know it and remain loyal, desite their shoody treatment by her ongoing labels. And if this albums proves that (it does), the follow-ups it only prove it more. Christ Kim's lovely rear must be smarting like hell, she's been on that throne so long. And still no takers!

Drowning Mona [DVD]
Drowning Mona [DVD]
Dvd ~ Danny DeVito
Price: £2.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Drowning In Laughter!, 4 Oct 2011
This review is from: Drowning Mona [DVD] (DVD)
This typically barely seen dark, wonderfully tasteless, cynical and quirky comedy was one of the funniest movies of all in a year of wretched over-acclaimed bilge ('American Pie', 'The Waterboy', 'Big Momma's House', 'Meet The Parents'-and yes I DO mean that). It's a deliciously warped murder mystery, not without charm either, involving a roster of deliberately nitwit suspects so hilariously feeble-minded that they can't help looking guilty...something expected when everyone learns just how hateful the much-loathed victim.

Great comedy players turn in gleefully wild performances when the situation call for it, but are intriguingly on edge in many scenes. So much for her death setting them free. To know Mona, as a nasty, bullying Bette Midler nails her so well, was to hate her, so naturally the question fast becomes not who would want to see her dead, but who wouldn't?! It's a shocking pleasure to see two slasher scream queens (Neve Campbell, Jamie Lee Curtis) in one film together (a thing barely commented on-an oddity in itself), and you can add Midler to this cauldron, as she played the perfect witch in 1993's 'Hocus Pocus', someone often accused of being a witch herself.

There's fun casting all the way through-Casey Affleck, William Fichtner, Mark Pellegrino, Kathleen Wilholte-who does a very funny song regarding the dead woman, proving no one had respect for her, and look for an early hialrious role by Will Ferrell, owner of a funeral home-his comment that "people have been more upset losing change in a slot machine, than over this woman" is one of many classic lines from people in this, and a number where ad-libbed, especially by Casey Affleck, a gifted comedian who puts his brother utterly to shade.

It is strange that De Vito's sheriff really can't understand anyone's problem with Mona, nevermind anyone who'd want to kill her, but while he tries to uncover the truth, it seems more likely the town just wants to know who to thank and wouldn't you?

The trailer for this movie is priceless and put together brilliantly, and unlike many comedies that put their best bits in the trailer, this movie more than pads out the running time with chortles, tickles, big laughs and a fair amount of surprises. The answer to the mystery is neat enough and the generous extras, including featurette, deleted scenes and director's commentary showed just how much fun everyone had making it. Writer Peter Steinfeld aptle called his script "a white-trash Murder On The Orient Express"-a fair enough summary. It's also interesting to note that all the stars in this-and many are well-known names were all people director Nick Gomez wanted for his first choice, and he was so pleased they consented to make this little movie, but I'm not too surprised cos many of these stars come across as far more genuine that all the typical so-called A-lister buck-chasers. Just a shame they should always have to do so in a barely-known comedy that burns the laughter stripes easily from the multiplex trash that almost always pass for comedies whilst putting bums on scenes.

And it has nothing to do with Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler. Three high-strikes in itself.

I'd advise getting this copy though, the other one with the darker cover and duller-looking title has had all the extras taken off it!Boo! At the bottom of that river is where studios and distributors that do this should end up.

The Bridge
The Bridge
Offered by MMT-UK
Price: £7.46

5.0 out of 5 stars What A Crossing!, 30 Aug 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Bridge (Audio CD)
After launching into the world (especially the US)with one of the biggest-selling debuts around, the smart foursome then assuredly jumped away from the club-throbbing mainstream and the sometimes basic approach of the first year of music, to imbue a grand sophomore piece with all the values a great album needs-strong songwriting, tuneful and often suprising musical arrangments, varied lyrical approaches, all with a hefty dose of integral risk. In fact this would be the only album where all four contibuted songs, particularly the girls, and is the last time Lynn would be so heavily involved. Indeed her strongs are among the most brilliant: the shadowily confessional 'Strange Ways' lauches with a grand flameco-like flourish and sinews proudly, the enigmatic, riveting 'Just'N'Image' emblazons and the atmosphere of the lilting 'Whispers In Blindness' makes for divine listening and just shows what a underrated and impressive writer and musician she is, but little sister Jenny delivers her strongest pieces too, centrepiece being the masterful 'Ravine', a deeply moving account of her reaction over being assaulted with a knife whilst with her mother by a crazed fan, supposedly after her sister.

Jennie also impressively creates an audibly windswept tone with 'Wave Wet Sand' and gorgeous ballad 'Experience Pearls'. Almost all songs on this, their best album ever, scream single, and the ones used, the lightweight but cheery 'Lucky Love', storming 'Beautiful Life' and plaintive skin-tingler 'Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry' (here in its sadly abridged version cos of extra song, the Jonas sung 'You And I'), which is even more impressive in it's full version (at 6:33 their longest song ever). It's present on THE UK version of the album, and happily also that way on their first and best greatest hits package 'Singles Of The 90s'-track it down. Of the lesser known singles in too few territores, the Mid-Eastern tinged 'My Deja-Vu' is a pleasingly jaunty grower, while another Abba-referenced tune (in lyrics anyway, but about-turn musically), is the achingly beautiful, honeyed yet torn 'Angel Eyes'-one of the best tracks they've ever done period.

Of the rest 'Edge Of Heaven' is another elegant diamond, and of several showcasing Lynn singing the first verse and Jenny the second; an approach which must have started with 'The Sign' back in 1993. 'Perfect World' cleverly eschews its sentimental idealism (likely embodying Abba's 'Happy New Year')and 'Que Sera' being the longest grower for me alongside 'You And I', yet on one listen both were streets ahead of the weak spots on their other albums. The closing 'Blooming 18' is a smart embodiment of attitude, detailing the growing pains of teen girls. There's also an acoustic version of 'Lucky Love'-nice, but not needed, when the extra time could have been used easily to complete the rest of 'Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry'.

This great album sadly fell upon deaf ears on release in the UK, but while notching up an impressive 5 million worldwide, was always going to be seen as a comedown in sales. Profit and statistics be damned, this has THE full organic artistry and glaring songwriting talent on show that the first album only hinted at. Despite two fair-selling singles, this album wasn't plundered for them- a real shame, as their starter set had the weak 'Don't Turn Around' pulled for a single, plus the US Version of their debut, which has the most songs on, is badly marred by two ugly, pointless, tuneless, reptitive dirges ('Fashion Party, 'My Mind) and a mindless Frankeinstein re-imagined 'Waiting For Magic'. It's morosely easy to see why "The Bridge" should slump in the UK, but not ho wildly it missed the Top 10, especially as truthfully weak 2nd albums by acts like Paula Abdul and the far better Cathy Dennis achieved Top 10 placings with theirs, though thankfully then fell out swiftly, but for some reason, record buyers do not like change, and the UK 'build-them-up-knock'em-down' clearly was in play. However it did well in the US, which cared not about their weakest album, the commercially-vomit inducing, label executively mutilated 'Flowers' when it was put out there under a different and stupid title.

This was a great price and no AOB fan should be without it and I would urge anyone unsure of them that this is agreat place to start, purveying as it does a mass versatility they would never be able to show again, despite still putting out some good songs. Lynn's growing absence from 1996 onwards, plus the ever-interfering profit-mongering, creativitiy-stifling squeezes of their record companies would finally do for them. But at least for that musically unremarkable year of 1995, Ace Of Base did the album they wanted, no constraints, and for that we should all remain happily Based by Ace.

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