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Adam Greenwood (Nottingham)

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BANSHEE'S CRY (A Ghost Story)
BANSHEE'S CRY (A Ghost Story)
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great and spooky read!, 18 Jan. 2014
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I finished reading this great story this morning and absolutely loved it! Sinister, engaging, mysterious and shocking in equal parts, this is a story that is sure to stay with you and haunt your dreams long after you have finished reading!

Price: £0.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow...*shudder*, 4 Nov. 2013
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Another chilling tale from the rising star of the horror world! This story really did not go where I was expecting but left me deeply unsettled and with several questions that I'm not sure I want answered! In the past I have compared Mark's style to Stephen King but this tale reminded me far more of Roald Dahl's brilliant adult short stories collected in such volumes as "Tales of the Unexpected". If you're looking for something genuinely scary that doesn't follow the typical Halloween Horror tropes, then this is the story for you! Highly recommended (but read with the lights on and NOT just before bed!)

WAY OF THE WITCH ('Witch Saga' Series - Part 1)
WAY OF THE WITCH ('Witch Saga' Series - Part 1)
Price: £1.45

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly unsettling!, 26 Jun. 2013
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A darkly intriguing story, very much in the style of early Stephen King so fans of his will love it! What appears on the surface to be a nostalgic tale of growing up in rural America has a dark undercurrent of menace, made all the more disturbing by the fact that the full story behind the goings on is never truly explained. Is there a dark, supernatural threat hanging over the two boys or is it their inner unhappiness and fear projected outwards onto an innocent subject? I understand that this is the first of three books with the same story told from three different perspectives so perhaps the truth will be revealed or perhaps it never will or perhaps some mysteries are best left unanswered... A wonderfully creepy book, charming yet all the more disturbing for it! Highly recommended!

Ghosts of Sherwood [DVD]
Ghosts of Sherwood [DVD]
Dvd ~ Martin Thorn
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £1.74

2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun and enjoyable as long as you accept what it is and what it's not!, 25 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Ghosts of Sherwood [DVD] (DVD)
Okay... First things first - what I was expecting was a professional movie on an impressively low budget, possibly tongue in cheek, similar to such recent Scandinavian greats as Rare Exports and Troll Hunter. What I got was actually more like as very earnest student film made, it would seem, with virtually no budget at all. That being said, and given what it is, it was actually very good!

While the acting wasn't the best I have ever seen, it was at least forgivable. It sounded like a lot of the dialogue was dubbed but their lips were matching the words so I assume it was re-recorded after filming with the actors lip-syncing their own lines. I understand this is done quite a lot in mainstream movies too but probably something in the way it is done makes this less noticeable. There seemed to be very little thought gone into the casting beyond the four leads (Robin, Marian, Sheriff and Little John), throwing up such oddities as the wicked old witch being played by an obviously young woman, giving the whole thing a "school play" kind of feel but again, after the first half hour or so I stopped noticing and just enjoyed the story.

The story itself, I thought, was very intriguing and well-written. I would say that the writer was a fan of the 80s "Robin of Sherwood" series. There were a few odd elements which seemed to have been put in just for the sake of it, resulting in some of the scenes which were clearly supposed to be emotionally charged just seeming a little odd. Otherwise, the story was engaging and quite original although I could have done with a little less throwing magic potions at the monsters while saying nonsense words - such things may work in video games but no so much in movies. I won't say much more about the story in case people want to watch it for themselves.

The costumes seemed most likely to be whatever the actors (sourced from local re-enactment groups perhaps?) already had so there was quite a mix from impressive and historically plausible to some that were not far off a Robin Hood Halloween fancy dress costume but I did not find this as distracting as I thought I might. The forest where most of the action took place was beautiful and the camera-man made good use of it with some lovely shots. The Castle, on the other hand, was mostly a ruin and looked like it, rather than a real, active castle. It reminded me a little of 70s Jesus Christ Superstar movie where the actors played out the scenes in the ruins. This, I'm afraid, spoiled my enjoyment a little.

When the promised zombies put in an appearance, their make-up is very impressive for the non-existent budget. There are occasional scenes with proper "zombie makeup" in close-up but mostly the are just made up to look corpse-like, with blackened skin from the congealed blood. They were surprising effective which is why it was a little odd to see a few later on wearing "monster masks" with orc-like features! Oh well... There was very little in the way of special effects but the two scenes that made use of them were very well done indeed. One involved a very graphic decapitation and the other involved a zombie ripping off a victim's arm and then eating parts of it. I'm tempted to say that any budget they had was used on these scenes alone which was a bit of a pity but I guess they were fun to do!

So, in conclusion, I really did enjoy this movie and will be watching it again. If you are expecting a professional horror movie then you will be disappointed but if you approach it from the point of view that it's made by amateurs with little or no money you will find it to be a very enjoyable and entertaining way to spend pass a couple of hours.
Comment Comments (35) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 18, 2013 3:58 PM BST

Jesus Christ Superstar - Live Arena Tour 2012 [Region 2/4/5] [DVD] [2012]
Jesus Christ Superstar - Live Arena Tour 2012 [Region 2/4/5] [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Tim Minchin
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £4.87

4.0 out of 5 stars More concert than story, but still great!, 25 Dec. 2012
Watched the DVD of the arena tour of "Jesus Christ Superstar" this morning. Quite a lot to pack into one review so I'll break it down a little.

First, the over-all production: Similar premise to the late 90s production, with a modern setting portraying Jesus as a charismatic cult-leader among the disaffected but with some significant differences.

Instead of the "alternate present" shown in the 90s production, with Nazi-esque Romans etc, this production is set very much in urban England of our present day. The Romans wear Police riot gear and when Jesus is arrested he is seen in the infamous Guantanamo-Bay orange jumpsuit. A nice touch but it had been done before in "The Manchester Passion". While I liked the approach over-all, it did seem to create a few plot-holes and strange moments such as Herod being a TV host who even urges viewers to text their vote for whether Jesus is "Lord" or "Fraud" and invites them to tune in next week when he'll be interviewing One Direction, and yet is still the King and apparently wields great power. Is this a satirical observation about the power of the media and celebrity culture? I'm really not sure! The Priests, while clearly powerful and menacing, have nothing about them to indicate their religious role - they come across more as powerful bankers or businessmen. Finally, of course, is the climax where Jesus is crucified on a piece of scaffolding. Totally necessary for the story but a little odd in the context they've given it.

I think this is an inherent problem with bringing a story from a very different time and place into a modern setting, you have to gloss over or hope people don't notice or think too deeply about the anachronisms. I think this is why alternate presents work so much better, like the wonderful movie of Richard III set in a fascist, late 20th century England or, indeed, the 90s production of Superstar. It was modern enough to understand the relevance of the story to our lives but still too place in a world where the story was plausible.

So, on the over-all "look" and style of the production, I'd say a mixed bag. I liked where they were coming from but just wasn't quite sure it really worked. Okay, now onto the characters.

When I first heard Mel C had been cast as Mary Magdalene, I must admit I was sceptical as to whether she could pull it off. Having seen her performance, I think I was right to be so. Credit where it's due, her voice is far more beautiful than I expected it to be but she is no actor. When it came time for her to sing "I don't know how to love him", a moving, passionate and very character-driven song, she sat and belted it out beautifully but with very little emotion. It reminded me of recordings stars make on "Songs from the Shows" albums, where songs are taken completely out of context and loose a lot of their "soul" as a result. While not at all unpleasant to listen to, her numbers just came across as "Mel C's Hits from Superstar" rather than the words and thoughts of her character.

Ben Forster, who won the role of Jesus in a reality show, puts in a very good performance but does seem a little out of his depth at times. Perhaps it is the sheer scale of an arena tour that lacks the intimacy of a more conventional musical production but again I found him hard to connect with as a character. He has a great voice and I'm sure he will make some great studio CDs over the next few years but, like Mel, he is not really an actor.

Far and away the star of the show was Tim Minchin as Judas. He was dark, intense and very believable, managing not to burst into angry tears every few minutes like the 90s chap did. He really did come across as someone who was struggling to know what to do for the best. The 90s production had a lot of sexual tension between Jesus and Judas, especially from Judas' perspective, leading the audience to wonder if he betrayed Jesus ultimately because Jesus had chosen Mary over him. This is not in the lyrics but very much in the performance and direction. This production, however, had none of that. Neither was Judas portrayed as a man angry at the world as he came across in the 70s movie. In this production he is a very human, plausible character. It is never really clear what drives him to act as he does but that fits quite well with the script as Judas really doesn't seem to know himself! Definitely the best actor in the cast and the character I felt most invested in.

King Herod, discussed earlier, was played to perfection by Chris Moyles. He's clearly enjoying himself but putting a lot of work into his performance, unlike Rick Mayle in the 90s who seemed to be somewhat phoning it in. Yes, he plays King Herod as Chris Moyles but that fitted perfectly with the production.

Pilate is usually one of my favourite characters in this show so I was looking forward to see how he was portrayed and I must say, on the whole, I liked the result. He came across as rather dastardly at times and, while he was in no particular hurry to condemn an innocent man, I got the feeling he wouldn't loose much sleep over it afterwards. He came across as a man who was basically decent but not averse to getting his hands dirty in the pursuit of political expediency, most likely what the real Pilate was like. He didn't see anything to be gained by condemning Jesus but, ultimately, he didn't care.

Returning to the comment earlier about sexual tension between the characters in earlier productions, I think a little of it wouldn't have gone amiss here. Again, possibly it's a result of the lack of intimacy caused by the scale of the production, but the characters didn't seem to particularly care about each other, for better or worse, and that made it quite hard, as a viewer, to care about them and invest in them emotionally.

So, to sum up, I'd say it's a spectacular production with stunning visuals and some great vocal performances, just don't watch it for the acting! 8/10

Love Never Dies [DVD]
Love Never Dies [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ben Lewis
Offered by b68solutions
Price: £2.09

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful production of a wonderful show, 13 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Love Never Dies [DVD] (DVD)
Watched the new DVD of "Love Never Dies" last night. Fantastic production but very different from the concept album that I'm very familiar with and also different from the London production I saw a couple of years ago.

Great casting of The Phantom and Christine, perfect for portraying who they have become in this story but I was none too sure about Meg Giry, supposedly Coney Island's "Ooh La Lah Girl". Raoul and Madame Giry seemed about right and the freaks who serve as narrators of a sort throughout the story were wonderful.

While I was a little disappointed with their take on "Devil Take the Hindmost", in which The Phantom did not seem to be goading Raoul quite enough, I thought their interpretation of "Beneath a Moonless Sky" and "Beauty Underneath" were amazing!

Fabulous sets and costumes really seemed to capture the essence of the story and the subtle updatings of The Phantom's wardrobe made more sense, I thought, than the London production where he seemed to be dressed exactly the same as he was in Paris ten years previously - a very different time and place.

Some interesting changes to the plot cleared up some of the less plausible aspects of the original story and filled in a few plot-holes while only managing to create one new one which I thought was fairly good going. I was interested to see that some of the lyrics remain the same but are now sung by different characters in different contexts whereas others seem completely re-written, retaining only the tune and the basic theme of the originals. There was also much more use of refrains and "samples" from the original "Phantom of the Opera" to which this is a sequel. The London production did this too but with different pieces at different points in the story and to a much lesser extent. In the original, the only repeated tunes are "Little Lotte" and "Twisted Every Way" where Christine reflects on her situation.

Over all, I would give this production a 9/10 with the only things preventing it getting full marks being the casting of Meg which made it harder for me to get involved with her part of the story and The Phantom's lack of relish during "Devil Take the Hindmost". I would definitely recommend this DVD and now I'm off to watch it again!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2012 1:21 PM GMT

The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire
The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire
by Raven Dane
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest things I've read in...well...EVER!!!, 22 Aug. 2010
When the first few pages of a book make you laugh out loud so people on the bus start looking at you funny, you know you're in for a treat! If you have ever even slightly enjoyed or been mildly amused by anything by Terry Pratchett or Robert Rankin then you will just LOVE the Unwise Woman! Buy this book and enjoy it - just don't expect to do so discretely!

Blood Alliance (Legacy of the Dark Kind)
Blood Alliance (Legacy of the Dark Kind)
by Raven Dane
Edition: Paperback

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best one yet!!!, 27 Jan. 2009
I'm only 70 pages in and I'm hooked! I couldn't wait until I'd finished it to leave this review (maybe I'll put another one later! hehe) Having read and very much enjoyed Raven's last two books, I can honestly say this is the best one yet! My two favourite characters (Azrar and Diego) take centre stage in this tense horror/thriller set in the near future. I'm off now to read some more!!!

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