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Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.)
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Memphis Belle [DVD] [1990]
Memphis Belle [DVD] [1990]
Dvd ~ Matthew Modine
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £3.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hip hip, hooray..., 23 Nov 2014
This review is from: Memphis Belle [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
World War II and as the battle for the skies rages, the youthful crew of B-17 Bomber Memphis Belle embark on their 25th and final mission...

David Puttnam co-produces with Catherine Wyler and Michael Caton-Jones directs this poignant and gripping WWII story. The crew of "Belle" are made up of a youth inflected cast of actors headed by the likes of Eric Stoltz, Sean Astin, Billy Zane and Matthew Modine, while John Lithgow and David Strathairn provide the mature acting weight on the ground hoping that the boys come back safely.

In truth it's all a bit too predictable, but never insultingly so, though research into the real exploits of the brave heroes involved reveals that Hollywood has, well, been Hollywood. Tech credits are a mixture of the brilliant and the poor, but when it involves the aerial sequences the film is stunning, and the makers do a sterling job of making "Belle's" final flight suspenseful and emotionally potent. 6.5/10


Flatliners [DVD] [1990]
Flatliners [DVD] [1990]
Dvd ~ Kiefer Sutherland
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £9.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The arrogance of medicinally inclined youth!, 23 Nov 2014
This review is from: Flatliners [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
I remember coming out the theatre after having seen Flatliners in 1990 and being really annoyed. The premise of the story is so superb and was ripe for a terrifying horror film, but Flatliners then, and now, is not terrifying, but that actually doesn't matter.

In 1990 some of the more bright young acting prospects were off making Memphis Belle, the other half that was made up of potential Brat Packers like Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt and Kevin Bacon, were joining director Joel Schumacher for this delve into life after death experiments.

The tyro medical students, led by a darkly egotistical Sutherland, begin inducing their own deaths to see what awaits once the flatline has been reached. Seems great at first, but as the students push the time limits of being dead still further, what comes into their real worlds is actually not welcome.

Pic is never close to being frightening, but the thematics involved are chilling and the big message at its heart is loud and clear. At times it's an uneasy blend of supernatural dalliances and medical science, but the breezy cast hold engagement, while cinematographer Jan de Bont's misty lenses are perfectly in the realm of the ethereal. 7/10


The Crawling Eye (REGION 1) (NTSC) [DVD] [1958] [US Import]
The Crawling Eye (REGION 1) (NTSC) [DVD] [1958] [US Import]
Dvd ~ Forrest Tucker
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £2.27

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Crawling Eye., 21 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Crawling Eye.

The filmic adaptation of a 1956 UK TV serial of the same name, The Trollenberg Terror is a whole bunch of fun and not deserving of the stinker reputation it has in some sci-fi loving circles.

Action is set in Trollenberg, Switzerland and concerns a creature from outer space that has taken residence in a radioactive cloud atop of the Trollenberg mountain. As the bodies start to pile up and various climbers go missing on the mountain, the United Nations send a boffin to help the local scientists to hopefully solve the mystery.

The effects work has been the source of some disdain, and in truth it's poor but not the worst from the 1950s pantheon of "B" schlockers. The back projection scenes are crude, but again in keeping with the fun aspects of the genre and era. However, Jimmy Sangster's screenplay is tight and produces brainy conversations and strong sequences.

Horror comes by way of headless bodies turning up and that once sane people turn into maniacs as "the terror" weaves its magic. On the normal human side the narrative is given a boost by Janet Munro's (excellent) telepathic darling, something which troubles the visitors greatly and puts her in grave danger. The psychological aspects of the story mark this out as a genre piece of worth.

Elsewhere director Quentin Lawrence does a study job with what is available to him, Forest Tucker is the hero in waiting, playing it reserved like, and Warren Mitchell proves good foil for Tucker and the Terror! It's not a great film, but it is a good one, let down in some tech departments for sure, but strengths elsewhere make up for its flaws. 7/10


The Trollenberg Terror [DVD]
The Trollenberg Terror [DVD]
Dvd ~ Forrest Tucker
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Crawling Eye., 21 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Trollenberg Terror [DVD] (DVD)
The filmic adaptation of a 1956 UK TV serial of the same name, The Trollenberg Terror is a whole bunch of fun and not deserving of the stinker reputation it has in some sci-fi loving circles.

Action is set in Trollenberg, Switzerland and concerns a creature from outer space that has taken residence in a radioactive cloud atop of the Trollenberg mountain. As the bodies start to pile up and various climbers go missing on the mountain, the United Nations send a boffin to help the local scientists to hopefully solve the mystery.

The effects work has been the source of some disdain, and in truth it’s poor but not the worst from the 1950s pantheon of “B” schlockers. The back projection scenes are crude, but again in keeping with the fun aspects of the genre and era. However, Jimmy Sangster’s screenplay is tight and produces brainy conversations and strong sequences.

Horror comes by way of headless bodies turning up that once sane people turn into maniacs as “the terror” weaves its magic. On the normal human side the narrative is given a boost by Janet Munro’s (excellent) telepathic darling, something which troubles the visitors greatly and puts her in grave danger. The psychological aspects of the story mark this out as a genre piece of worth.

Elsewhere director Quentin Lawrence does a study job with what is available to him, Forest Tucker is the hero in waiting, playing it reserved like, and Warren Mitchell proves good foil for Tucker and the Terror! It’s not a great film, but it is a good one, let down in some tech departments for sure, but strengths elsewhere make up for its flaws. 7/10


Would You Rather [DVD] [2013] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Would You Rather [DVD] [2013] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Jeffrey Combs
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £11.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Truth or Dare?, 21 Nov 2014
It’s difficult to know if David Guy Levy’s film is taking the rise out of the current horror market’s propensity for torture porn, or if it is as it seems, a lazy exploitation flic pandering to an undemanding audience?

Eight strangers with financial problems are invited to the mansion of rich nutter Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) to partake in a game, the winner of which will get their utmost requirements met.

What starts out as a promising piece soon descends into a boorish reliance on shock tactics as the guests are required to do “unspeakable” things to each other. There’s some wince inducing moments, even times when the picture dares you to contemplate how you would react in similar circumstances. Yet it all feels so lazy and cheap, with some poor acting and cringe worthy dialogue dragging the piece down still further. A twist in the tail works well, but by then you may feel jaded to the point of not caring. 5/10


Red Light [DVD] [1949] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Red Light [DVD] [1949] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ George Raft
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £11.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Army Chaplain Slain!, 20 Nov 2014
Red Light is directed by Roy Del Ruth and adapted to screenplay by George Callahan from the story This Guy Gideon written by Don Barry. It stars George Raft, Virginia Mayo, Raymond Burr, Harry Morgan and Gene Lockhart. Music is by Dimitri Tiomkin and cinematography by Bert Glennon.

Something of an oddity, Red Light finds George Raft up to his neck in religion, revenge and a smouldering Virginia Mayo. After his brother, a chaplain, is murdered, he sets off to find the killer, whom can be identified by a message scrawled in a Gideon Bible. Find the Bible, find the killer.

It is brought into the film noir sphere of things via Glennon’s photography, which kicks in at the hour mark and runs concurrent with the murky thematics in the narrative, Frisco a rain sodden place of sleaze. Other than that it plays more as a crime drama, albeit one with some decidedly spicy killings and another top villain turn from Raymond Burr. Tiomkin’s musical cues are strange and not always in sync with what is happening on screen, while the biblical hermeneutics and various plot contrivances irk rather than perk.

See it for Burr and Glennon’s work, or if you fancy a weird blend of noir and ethical religio redemptions! 6/10


State Of Grace [DVD] [1991]
State Of Grace [DVD] [1991]
Dvd ~ Sean Penn
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Westies., 20 Nov 2014
This review is from: State Of Grace [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
State of Grace is directed by Phil Joanou and written by Dennis McIntyre. It stars Sean Penn, Ed Harris, Gary Oldman, Robin Wright, John Turturo and John C. Reilly. Music is by Ennio Morricone and cinematography by Jordan Cronenweth.

Terry Noonan (Penn) returns to Hells Kitchen after a number of years away and finds his best pal, Jackie Flannery (Oldman), is a major player in the Irish/American mob being run by his elder brother, Frankie Flannery (Harris). With a love interest rekindled and a secret he dare not reveal, Terry is soon caught in a maelstrom of danger and tested loyalties.

It got lost in the slipstream of Goodfellas, but although it’s not in the same league as Scorsese’s critical darling, State of Grace is a splendid slice of neo-noir gangsterism. The plot is made up of standard genre tropes, divided loyalties, betrayals, kinship, revenge, rivalries, territorial machismo and etc, all of which of course comes laced with spitfire dialogue and sparky violence.

The strengths come with the performances of the lead cast members, the visual flourishes via Cronenweth and Joanou and Morricone’s classical score. Penn and Oldman are forces of nature, the former a ball of emotional turbulence, the latter a hopped up maniac with killer tendencies. Harris as the daddio main man is a moody and malevolent presence, as is Joe Viterelli as mafia boss man Borelli. Wright seems a little out of place in this material, Turturo isn’t used nearly enough, but Reilly scores well with a limited role and Burgess Meredith pops in for a superb cameo.

It doesn’t have originality on its side, but it’s a mightily strong film regardless, with the human drama drawing one in as the tech skills impress across the board. 8/10


The Last Victim [DVD]
The Last Victim [DVD]
Dvd ~ William Forsythe
Price: £3.82

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dear Mr. Gacy., 20 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last Victim [DVD] (DVD)
The Last Victim (AKA: Dear Mr. Gacy) is directed by Svetozar Ristovski and adapted to screenplay by Kellie Madison and Clark Peterson from Jason Moss' memoir novel The Last Victim. It stars Jesse Moss, William Forsythe, Emma Lahanna, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and Patrick Gilmore. Music is by Terry Frewer and cinematography by Larry Lynn.

John Wayne Gacy, the mere mention of his name brings shivers, his legacy that of the rape, torture and murder of 33 young men between 1972-1978. Serial Killer films have always been popular, they tap into the psyche where fascination resides. Unfortunately more often than not the films don't contribute much in the way of provoking interesting discussion or adding insight to the killer who is the topic. In fact some skirt the line of tastelessness and exploitation to the point of making the adult viewer a trifle sheepish having just watched them. The Last Victim is thankfully a different beast.

Jason Moss was a criminology student who was fascinated by serial killers. Choosing to use that for the major part of his thesis, he would go on to form a dangerous relationship with the incarcerated Gacy. Posing in profile to that which Gacy was attracted to, Moss began with letters, then phone calls and eventually a meeting with the beast himself. Jason Moss would kill himself in 2006, the significance of which, dates and state of mind etc, are not covered here. This is purely about the naiveté of youth, dangerous fascination and the perils of letting a bona fide monster inside of your head.

It's not a blood soaked film, it's very character driven, the horrors more of the human mind. Boosted by an intense performance from Forsythe as Gacy, the pic is always compelling, though some poetic licence has been taken to advance the plot dynamics. The flashbacks used are well tied into the narrative thrust, tension is well orchestrated by Ristovski and Frewer's score is unobtrusive but still orchestral and eerie. One of the better serial killer movies available to the intrigued audience, but not because of any stalk and kill tactics and portrayals. 7/10


The Babadook - Blu-Ray (2014) (Region A, B, C Aust Import)
The Babadook - Blu-Ray (2014) (Region A, B, C Aust Import)
Dvd ~ JENNIFER KENT
Offered by Atomic Movies
Price: £25.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ba Ba-Ba Dook! Dook! Dook!, 19 Nov 2014
The Babadook is written and directed by Jennifer Kent. It stars Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall and Hayley McElhinney. Music is by Jed Kurzel and cinematography by Radek Ladczuk.

Amelia is a single mother still haunted by the violent death of her husband, she is trying to deal with her young son Samuel's fear of a monster in the house. Initially tolerating it as a flight of fancy, the arrival of a book in the youngster's bedroom called Mr. Babadook, signals the start of a sinister presence that she herself can begin to fear as well.

Australia has been producing some great horror films in the last couple of decades, The Babadook is one of the best of the bunch. Jennifer Kent made it as a 10 minute short back in 2005 called Monster (2005), itself a super piece of horror film making, now in full feature length form (Kent's first), the vision and intelligence explodes off the screen in every frame.

The premise at the core is not exactly fresh, but Kent manages to make The Babadook its own entity, skilfully steering away from formula jolts and terrors. Which in this day and age of horror retreads, sequel frenzies and blood for blood's sake, is most refreshing. This is a big character piece, a two hander of incredible emotional power, a mother and son dealing with their own demons before the eponymous Mr. Babadook enters the fray. We care about this pair of troubled souls, so much so that as we start to feel the dread, get the tingles down the spine, our hearts are also aching for them. The two performances of the actors quite simply magnificent.

Mr. Babadook is a pop-up picture book that suddenly arrives into their lives. The creature is a sort of cross between a German expressionistic nightmare and Jack the Ripper. The book itself is creepy enough in its own right, more so as it starts to take on a more terrifying tone - and Amelia proves unsuccessful at getting rid of the thing - the picture starts playing its ace psychological cards. The monster is kept mostly to the edges of the frames, or just popping up for a quick glance in unexpected places, this is a great move and suits the narrative perfectly.

The tech credits are top notch. A key aspect to getting the most out of The Babadook is to make sure the sound is loud, for the sound mix is tremendous and can bring pounds of goose-flesh rising up on your arms. Ladczuk's photography is at one with the themes pulsing away in the story, the colours paled and cheerless, enhancing the fractured psyches of mother and son, but Mr. Babadook is a jet black presence in this landscape. All told the art design from the book to the house and the creature is excellent.

Umbrella's Australian All Region Blu-ray Release has a super transfer and does justice to the sound mix. There's over an hour of interviews, which are a mixed bag of informative chat and back slapping, a 12 minute behind the scenes making of and some trailers. The bonus is the 10 minute short, Monster, The Babadook in its infancy but no less scary for it.

The Babadook is a superlative horror film for adults, like when Polanski met Kubrick and they decided to pay homage to Fritz Lang and George Melies. Yes it's that good. 10/10


The Freshman [DVD]
The Freshman [DVD]
Dvd ~ Marlon Brando
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £2.69

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fresh or Ripe?, 16 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Freshman [DVD] (DVD)
The Freshman is a sort of comedy drama sprinkled with self aware barbs at film analysis. It’s a great opportunity to see Marlon Brando relaxed and fully playing up the self-parody angle. Plot finds Matthew Broderick as Clark Kellog, a film student arriving in New York who through unfortunate circumstances ends up working for a man who is not too dissimilar from Don Corleone!

Writer and director Andrew Bergman spoofs the Mafia via screwball scenarios and satirical scripting, though the latter is done to death and grows tiresome at the mid-point. Penelope Anne Miller and B.D. Wong get choice support roles and deliver the goods, in fact the casting across the board is spot on, and the tech credits are firmly in the plus column. It’s all pleasantly executed and moves along at a brisk pace, but a little less satire and more straight laced character comedy wouldn’t have gone amiss. 6/10


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