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Richard Mann "Main Mann" (Southampton)

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Dead Set [DVD] [2008]
Dead Set [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Jaime Winstone
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £8.77

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly not awful and almost brilliant. *Minor Spoilers*, 7 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Dead Set [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
The very idea of this series/ film honked. A fictional Big Brother where a coincidental zombie invasion during an eviction night leaves the housemates obliviously bickering within their fan-proof abode.


The fact that Channel 4's uber-MILF Davina McCall was playing herself led to strong indicators that this would be a cheesy Halloween Trick or Treat embarrass-athon or Shaun of the Dead without the laughs.

As it is, this is one of the best pieces of zombie fiction I've ever seen and is sometimes utterly scary and horrifying with some of the darkest of dark humour. Andy Nyman alone makes this worth watching as the vile BB producer.

The editing is fast paced and jerky and while some people have moaned about this, I personally feel it gives the show the chaotic and panic stricken look that it is striving for. These zombies are powerful, sprinting undead and even one coming after you is bad news let alone a ravenous horde.

The cast are both unlikeable and endearing in equal measure. Davina McCall was always irritating so it's fun to see her get her throat ripped out and then chowing down on someone's intestines. Kelly (Jaime Winstone) is no angel and is cuckolding her loyal, sweet boyfriend with the office Romeo. However her bravery makes us overlook this. And Patrick (Nyman) is one of the most memorable villains in zombie movie history. He has NO redeeming features whatsoever and just to hammer this point home the script has him throw a guy in a wheelchair into the path of a zombie.

Writer Charlie Brooker was apparently looking for the kind of feel that Keifer Sutherland's "24" has and to some extent the show succeeds with mini-plots branching off from the main thread. It's also like Spooks in some degree as it kills off the likeable characters as easily as the bad ones with the same gleeful abandon as everyone's favourite MI5 drama. It was sad to see likeable stud Danny's fear stricken face as he's chased into the studio and poor Claire is the first victim of Patrick's advanced self preservation skills.

Some of the scenes really grab you by the throat, especially (and most surprisingly) those involving the zombified Davina McCall. The bit where she pounds down the corridor after Patrick is scary as is her relentless vigil outside the door (albeit as a zombie too stupid to use the handle to open it). Kudos too for the scene where an ever increasing pack of ravenous ghouls stampede through the Channel 4 studios while Mika's jolly pop tune "Love Today" blasts over the soundtrack as the blood spray hits the monitors.

The finale is utterly depressing and the final images stay with you for a long time (despite the "subtle as a fist" message). Once you see what the Live Feed is looking at it catches in your throat and WILL haunt you.

The only black marks are the prolonged scene with Patrick and Pippa in the Green Room (the bucket scenes were removed in fan edit DVD Dead Set Serious) and those two stupid cops. I can tell you now as a former UK police officer that these two are as far from modern bobbies as you can get (the racism is delivered as if it's second nature and modern cops are NOT allowed to behave like that, you can be dismissed in the modern force for ONE comment out of turn, regardless of whether anyone is offended at the time or not). As firearms cops they are a joke and considering it's so dangerous to be outside these two are a mistimed and ill conceived attempt at light relief.

My DVD didn't have the "Pippa and her mother"scene so I would like to know if this was good. It was apparently cut to give Space's reaction to seeing her more emotional impact.

Just to put the icing on the cake it has Ray Winstone's daughter in it who's almost as badass as her dad.

Scary, downbeat and fun.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2011 12:07 AM GMT

Saw V [DVD]
Saw V [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tobin Bell
Price: £4.83

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth it if only for the shock ending., 5 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Saw V [DVD] (DVD)
While these films are heavily criticised beyond installment 3, I like the movies and have always found them entertaining with unexpected plot twists.

The movie apparently had a lower budget than previous entries due to diminishing returns on the sequels but they do an adequate job and the denoument involving Strahm and Hoffman is a complete surprise and well handled.

The thing I like most with the later entries is that they add further information and twists to the previous entries that we didnt' know about, but without patronising the fans or making this seem implausible.

A pity that the game "players" are so vapid but Costas Mandylor is as villainous as you could want from a badass detective cum serial killer and it was interesting to see what events made John Kramer into such a monster and shaped his outlook on life.


Captivity [DVD]
Captivity [DVD]
Dvd ~ Elisha Cuthbert
Offered by Global_Deals
Price: £3.50

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nasty and vile and I'm a SAW fan, 5 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Captivity [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of the most barfsville movies for a while with a convoluted and nonsensical plot and characters that act the exact opposite way that real people would (e.g. if someone threatened to throw acid in your face for rule breaking would you continue to be petulant?).

The woman getting burned by the shower head full of corrosive liquid is one of the most horrible things I've ever seen with no purpose but to appeal to torture porn afficionados while the blended offal sequence isn't even necessary.

I love the SAW movies but this is, as my mother used to say, "violence for violence's sake" and if that's your bag then go ahead. Otherwise leave well alone.

The Young Ones - Series 1-2 [DVD]
The Young Ones - Series 1-2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rik Mayall
Price: £9.99

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who said "Lawks-a-lawdy my bottom's on fire!!!" ?, 5 Mar. 2011
Oh yes, this still raises a laugh 28 years on.

Anarchic students sharing a poxy, cold, depressing flat in London while virtually never attending to their studies. The setting for many mishaps and surreal adventures punctuated by guest appearences from bands of the day (which at the time was annoying and only included at the insistence of BBC to get a higher budget, but now...well, where else can you see the rare 4-piece line up of Motorhead performing Ace of Spades, The Damned singing Video Nasty or Madness twice?)

Even now I can still quote lines from this virtually verbatim and we used to have Young Ones parties in the 80s where someone with rich parents (i.e. who owned a VCR) would show all 12 episodes over a Saturday afternoon.

The weird humour, subliminal flashes (the one from a Western is the end of Carry on Cowboy) and talent of the 5 main players makes this a show that ranks alongside Monty Python's Flying Circus for longevity of quality.

Some touches were quite subtle (the Narnia piss take was years ahead of its time or the reference to Lord Scarman from the racist copper) while others were so OTT it defied belief (Vivyan's pregnancy, the flood episode, Neil covered in snot).

This presentation has the full versions of the songs that were cut from previous entries (including Subterranean Homesick Blues as Neil goes to join the police) and has the full "Bigoted Bobby" sketch which was hilarious then and should never have been edited (he's talking to a white guy and he's wearing sunglasses...OK!!!)

The University Challenge sketch is still funny, if only for having Vivyan kick Dr House in the head.

Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 16, 2013 2:12 PM BST

Sea of Glass
Sea of Glass
by Barry B. Longyear
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting after 22 years., 5 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Sea of Glass (Paperback)
I read this in my late teens and it's got some haunting prose throughout.

While veering off towards the end you can forgive Barry Longyear for this as it is written from the main character's perspective and he is clearly off the rails by the novel's finish.

Some scenes still haunt me (the revenge on the orphanage guard, Thomas sharing the bed of a teenage female mentor who takes advantage of him and the downbeat ending to name just three).

Well reccomended but very heavy.

Logan's Search (Logan Series, 3rd Book)
Logan's Search (Logan Series, 3rd Book)
by William F. Nolan
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beyond appalling., 5 Mar. 2011
I loved Logan's Run, liked Logan's World but this THING is an insult to its predecessors.

Logan is taken to an alternate universe and...sorry, I'm getting upset just typing this.

Cack in the first degree.

Logan's World
Logan's World
by William F. Nolan
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Run, but miles better than the Search., 4 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Logan's World (Paperback)
William F Nolan penned this sequel alone... and it shows as the magical touches and intoxicating atmosphere of Logan's Run are missing.

Some of the prose is childish and there are a couple of horrid continuity errors (Logan lost his Gun went it went "Wild" at the end of the first book so how come he's got it in a box?) There is also some clumsy writing on display here that pulls the "Saturday Matinee cliffhanger" trick in order to get Logan out of danger (the coincidence with Charming Billy is ludicrous & too far fetched and why is Mary-Mary 2 in this?)

The Borgia riders are menacing baddies and the scene where Logan confronts them with nothing except murder on his mind is chilling. It's also nice to see Logan's badass side and, to be fair, it's believable that he would become this ruthless considering what he lost and thought he'd lost. The scene where he gives his "word" to Lucrezia Borgia is about as cold as you can get.

While not a complete failure it seems Nolan wrote this solely as a way to bring back a character he loved and he knew was loved by others, but without the careful plotting and attention to detail of the predecessor.

Not bad and would probably have made a better TV show than that load of crap with the hovercraft and REM.

Whatever you do, stay away from the final book Logan's Search (Logan Series, 3rd Book)as that really does scrape UNDERNEATH the barrel.

Logan's Run
Logan's Run
by William F. Nolan
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Total muscle, no flab and completely captivating., 4 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Logan's Run (Hardcover)
I first read about half of this when I was 10 and was unable to keep up with most of what the book was trying to say. Bits that stuck in my mind though were the Cubs led by Charming Billy, the homeless girl Mary-Mary 2 and Logan's fight with Doc in the Face Change parlour.

Moving on 10 years and I bought another copy. This is an excellent novel that lives in the memory long after you've read it. The memories stuck because you could imagine the scenes as if they were real.

Kudos to both co-authors of this novel for creating such a vividly rich world of sight and sound with virtually no padding or flannelling. The book is short because the story is told straight, no need for tireless exposition and the talent of Nolan and Clayton is so great that they have us envisage the world of the Sandmen with just a few pages.

Way ahead of its time when published this is a frightening portrayal of a future ruled by the very young where machines take care of most things and life is dedicated to pleasure.

The Nursery where Jess crash lands and the intervention of children to save her before a terrifyingly clinical Auto Governess ruins the party is as good as anything Steven King has written and the attention to detail is so great that at one point Logan acknowledges that his futuristic and horribly lethal firearm will prove useless on the tiger that is hunting them. The Runners are scared of Sandmen for good reason. Not because they will kill them but because they will almost certainly use the projectile called the Homer which burns out all your nerve endings before it kills you. The ulimate deterrent to those who defy the system.

With a twist that was completely unexpected and a believable character arc of Logan from self-seeking anti hero to empathic hero this book should be the template for anyone who wants to write a book that entertains without waffling.

The film was rank, the TV show stupid and while the first sequel (Nolan only) Logan's World had it's moments the 3rd book was appalling (Logan in an alternate universe?!!). This book however is the pinnacle of creative and entertaing sci-fi and is sci-fi Rock and Roll to Asimov's Classical music.

Mary-Mary 2 stamping her foot at the feral Cubscouts is evocative while Deep Sleep's worst nightmare of a "Wild Gun" still sends shivers down my spine.

and am I the only one that fancied the gypsy Graygirl?

The Sharpe Series (4) - Sharpe's Trafalgar: The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805
The Sharpe Series (4) - Sharpe's Trafalgar: The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805
by Bernard Cornwell
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where Cornwell Jumped the Shark...or Murdered the Manservant.*SPOILERS*, 4 Mar. 2011
I've lost my faith...

The early Sharpe books were exquisite reads and merged Cornwell's flair for detail and magnificent grasp of military detail and history with Richard Sharpe a ruthless yet adaptable hero. It was with some trepidation that I began Sharpe's Trafalgar but was hooked early on as Bernard seemed to have got his zest back (after the "You're still under contract so shut up and finish it"-Sharpe's Devil).

Then he went and Jumped the Shark with a totally inappropriate and sadistic murder of by Sharpe.

Heroes have to be people we can look up to. Be it James Bond or Sharpe there has to be a core of our own level of morality amongst their actions. We all know Sharpe can be a right swine. He murdered a rapist (but it was in the heat of battle and the woman was under his protection), he summarily executed French soldiers (but they'd raped and murdered women and children), he left men behind (but they would have slowed the rest of his troops down) and got deserters castrated and murdered (as a lesson to his other men and to prevent his entire regiment clearing off).

There were always very clear and rational motives behind Sharpe's actions. He did what he did for higher motives than blood lust or pure revenge unless it was in the heat of the moment. He shows little malice to Harper after he tries to kill him in Sharpe's Rifles, he lets justice take its course with Obadiah Hakeswill (who'd murdered his wife!) and showed some remorse after hacking a Frenchman down who was trying to surrender (he had after all, just survived storming a breach).

The cold blooded and inappropriate killing in this made it clear that Cornwell was simply trying to add one really juicy scene to a book that was after all, set on a ship and would feature no real action until the Battle of Trafalgar.

This was so out of character for Sharpe (not only does he break the man's neck-slowly- he deliberately dislocates both his arm prior to this and tells him what he's going to do before he does it).

The victim was a weasel. But the ONLY thing he'd done was tried to blackmail his Master's wife. A woman Sharpe was having an illicit affair with anyway. He hadn't laid a finger on her or threatened her physically.

This OTT murder would probably have been in context of the character if Cornwell hadn't found some inexplicable urge to "pep" it up with the torture.
Sharpe was never a sadist. He killed willingly and sometimes with pleasure. But never without a reason and never for shallow, selfish reasons.

The bottom line is that he tortured and murdered a man for trying to extort money from a woman who was herself acting imorally.

I met Bernard Cornwell at a book signing in 2003 in London and presented him with my written thoughts on this. Gentleman that he was he wrote to me a short time later to say that "Sharpe does misbehave sometimes".

Sorry Bernard, you've lost the plot. Sharpe was NOT the man portrayed in this novel (and don't try and fob me off with saying this is set before most of the other entries in the series, that only makes it worse).

I've noticed that there's a book after this one. I won't be reading it.

28 Days Later
28 Days Later

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deleted scene!!!, 4 Mar. 2011
This review is from: 28 Days Later (Audio CD)
This is a fairly decent soundtrack BUT is worth buying for completists as it has a deleted scene on the CD-R bit of our heroes singing in the back of the Hackney cab as they drive up to Manchester (cut for being embarrassing apparently).

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