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Reviews Written by
Mitun (Edinburgh, Scotland)

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The Frozen Ground [DVD]
The Frozen Ground [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nicolas Cage
Price: £6.72

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tempting Thriller, 5 Jun. 2014
This review is from: The Frozen Ground [DVD] (DVD)
'Frozen Ground' is a serial killer thriller that released in 2013 to mixed reviews and flopped at the box-office. It performed slightly better when released via the Video on demand front in the United States with the simultaneous theatrical showing. The film is based on the real life serial killer, Robert Hansen who between 1971 and 1983, murdered between 17 and 21 women near Anchorage, Alaska.

The plot shows a cop (Nicholas Cage) investigating numerous disappearances of females and attempting to apprehend a serial killer.

The movie has a sombre atmosphere and the connection to real life events makes the viewing interesting. Strong performances combined with tension keeps you engaged. However, the suspense never explodes due to a somewhat slow pace and boredom that tries to creep in when given the opportunity. The sub-plot involving a kidnapped victim (Vanessa Hudgens) further affects the proceedings. The latter stages are more appetizing and exciting. The ending is satisfying, but felt really rushed and unstimulating.

John Cusack as the serial killer is restrained. His character development is poor causing the effectiveness of his role to lack. Still does what he can with one of his better acting assignments in recent times. The star of the show is Nic Cage who returns to form after a number of forgettable movies. Cage starts off slightly reserved, however comes to life as the story progresses. Typical Cage fireworks can be witnessed when he faces off against Cusack, enjoyed it.

Scott Walker's direction is at times erratic an never attempts to deviate from the formulaic route.

'Frozen Ground' fails to defrost becoming a simple thriller. Memorable, I wish it was.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2014 4:47 PM BST

Prisoners [DVD] (2013)
Prisoners [DVD] (2013)
Dvd ~ Hugh Jackman
Price: £3.00

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gyllenhaal Stuns Jackman, 5 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Prisoners [DVD] (2013) (DVD)
'Prisoners' is a mystery thriller that released in 2013 to critical acclaim and box-office success.

The story focuses on the search of two abducted young girls and the hunt for the kidnapper.

The movie is an intense and dark viewing right from the start. As the story progresses, the tension and suspense are heightened proving to be powerful viewing. The character development is excellent, making it hard to figure out the kidnapper.The problem arises in the second half with the plot becoming stagnant with events going round in convoluted circles. Things do get back on track later, but by that point the running time feels too long. So, I was looking forward to the ending that promised to compensate any shortcomings. Although there is an unexpected twist, the finish was just missing the killer punch. An emotionally complex story deserved a much stronger and effective ending.

The performances from the two lead men stand out the most and is the highlight of the movie. Hugh Jackman as the desperate father comes up with an emotionally charged portrayal. One of his career best and most convincing performance. Jake Gyllenhaal is brilliant as the obsessed Cop, acting out a compelling character with finesse. He actually steals the film from Jackman and should've been nominated for an Oscar. Paul Dano as the mentally challenged suspected kidnapper is creepy and effective. The rest of the cast including Maria Bello, Mellisa Leo, Terrence Howard and Viola Davis are wasted with not much screen time.

The direction by Denis Villeneuve when it comes to suspense and the acting is worthy. Where he falters is in the execution of the third uneven act.

'Prisoners' was a promising mystery that is only liberated by the powerhouse cast of Gyllenhaal and Jackman.

Salamander: The Complete Season One [DVD] [2012]
Salamander: The Complete Season One [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Filip Peeters
Price: £16.45

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Premise that Burns Out, 5 Jun. 2014
'Salamander' is twelve part Belgian spy-crime television series that was shown on BBC4 in the United Kingdom. The series has been a ratings success and a second season is in the works.

The story shows a Police Inspector Paul Gerardi (Filip Peeters) investigating the robbery of 66 safe deposit boxes at a private bank in Brussels. He then begins to unravel a political conspiracy.

The series is interesting and compelling as the story progresses. However, predictability and a slow pace sets in. There are gripping moments and twists but not riveting enough. As the ending neared, it felt like the makers ran out of a story and the ending was weak.

If compared with its Nordic counterparts, The Killing (Danish: Forbrydelsen) and The Bridge (Danish: Broen; Swedish: Bron) you see the massive gap in quality.

Our lead actor, Filip Peeters is strictly okay. He seemed a bit one dimensional with the same facial expression throughout. He is still likeable I guess. The supporting cast are the backbone with strong performances all round.

Season one is attractive enough to see it through, which I did. I'm gonna wait for the second season to give Salamander a second chance as there is potential in the series to get better.

'Salamander' has a started off with a rocky yet watchable beginning. Hopefully there is a promising future.

The Call [DVD] [2013]
The Call [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Halle Berry
Price: £4.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Call Connects a Thrill Ride, 4 Jun. 2014
This review is from: The Call [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
'The Call' is a crime-thriller film that released in 2013 to mixed reviews. Made on a budget of $13 million, the film became a surprise hit, earning more than $68 million.

The story focuses on an emergency services telephone operator (Halle Berry), she answers a call from a female (Evie Thompson) who has been abducted by a serial killer (Michael Eklund).

The film starts of as a generic thriller but boy does it get better, it was like getting hit by a sledgehammer. The suspense and tension are fantastic in one of the most exciting cat and mouse games of recent times. The tale, which is surprisingly creepy, is packed with thrills and twists. The running time of about ninety minutes, was time well spent. The only questionable factor is the final act that becomes a bit predictable and off track. Fortunately, it's only a minor glitch.

Halle Berry as the main hero, sinks her teeth into the role and flourishes with solid acting. Michael Eklund in a villainous act is scary. Abigail Breslin as the victim becomes hard to bare with her constant wailing and screaming.

The direction by Brad Anderson is impressive as he maintains the momentum and ups the ante by each scene. One of the best gripping thrillers of 2013.

Please don't miss The Call.

The Last Stand [DVD] [2013]
The Last Stand [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Price: £3.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Return of the Last Action Hero, 4 Jun. 2014
This review is from: The Last Stand [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
'The Last Stand' is an action film and Arnold Schwarzenegger's come back vehicle that released in 2013. The reception upon release from critics was deservedly mostly positive. The box-office performance was moderate and below expectations.

The story follows an aging quiet town sheriff and his deputies who must apprehend a dangerous criminal that has escaped from Police Custody.

I am a massive fan of Arnie's who for me defined the action movies in the 80's and early 90's with the classic groundbreaking, Terminator 2: Judgement Day. I was mega excited to hear the announcement of his return to films. Even more exciting was that he was teaming up with cult Korean director, Kim Jee-woon who has made crackers like A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life and I Saw the Devil.

The outcome exceeded my expectations with solid entertaining non-stop action, enjoyable R-rated violence, stylish shoot out scenes, loud explosions and funny one liners throughout. The ending is great as well with Arnie being involved in an engaging gritty fist-fight that gave me the goosebumps.

Schwarzenegger means business as the Sheriff and his charismatic return as an action hero is a fantastic watch. Yes, he is old and even he acknowledges it, but he still kicks serious crap out of bad guys. Apart from Arnie, my pick of the lot are Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzmán who provide the comic relief. Guzmán actually owns a few scenes with his overall likeable performance.

The direction by Kim Jee-woon on his American debut is first rate and that's with toned down violence compared to his Korean flicks. He couldn't have done any better. I thoroughly enjoyed his action-fest.

'The Last Stand' is a hair-raising guilty pleasure for Arnie fans. He is back as promised.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2014 4:53 PM BST

The Counsellor [DVD]
The Counsellor [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brad Pitt
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £1.98

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Style over Substance, 4 Jun. 2014
This review is from: The Counsellor [DVD] (DVD)
'The Counsellor' is a thriller film that released in 2013 to such a divided response from both critics and the audience. The film managed to do good business at the box-office though.

The movie tells the story of The Counsellor (Michael Fassbender) whose arrangement of a drug deal goes seriously wrong.

I was really intrigued to watch the film due to the big star cast, divided response and Ridley Scott, one of my favorite directors. The stylish setting and cinematography are beautiful and hook you to the story straight away. The classy dialogue exchanges only make the viewing more appetizing. Addition of violent scenes do no harm. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie is a let down with no character development, suspense or sense of direction. The story is hard to follow and the ending is an abrupt big disappointment.

The performances by Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem are good. For some reason, I didn't like the performances by Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz, which seemed amateurish and unconvincing.

The direction by Ridley Scott does grab your attention and raises curiosity initially. Thereon, the feature becomes depressing, the pace slows and falls flat with no content.

'The Counsellor' is a self-indulgent premise that doesn't make any efforts to be liked.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones [DVD]
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones [DVD]
Dvd ~ Andrew Jacobs
Price: £3.99

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horror Fun continues with enough Scares and Twists, 4 Jun. 2014
'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones' is a supernatural horror film that released in 2014. It is the fifth installment in the Paranormal Activity film series. The film was met with a mixed response, however succeeded at the box-office and became a hit.

The plot revolves around two friends, Jesse Arista (Andrew Jacobs) and Hector Estrella (Jorge Diaz). They discover, after the death of a neighbor that Jesse has been marked by demonic witches for possession.

I have seen the previous four installments in the series and enjoyed all of them, a guilty pleasure they are. On this occasion, different tactics are employed, with success I must add. More emphasis is placed on the build up of suspense and tension as opposed to the normal false scares. There is a different fresh setting with a dash of humor that works. Last but not least, the performances of the lead actors come across as real adding an edge to the horror.

The sustained suspense and tension works wonders as the frights, which there aren't many compared to previous outings, become more effective. I found this feature to be more creepy than scary and still enjoyable. The film ends with a good twist.

The acting by the lead actors is the best I've seen in all outings. The characters seem real making the horror solid and spooky.

The direction by Christopher B. Landon makes the movie a cinematic offering than the normal strict found footage format. There is considerably less annoying amateur style camera work that always gives me a headache. His different approach has for me re-energized the franchise.

'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones' is a horror event in the series that leaves a serious mark!

Empire State [DVD] [2013]
Empire State [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Dito Montiel
Offered by streetsahead
Price: £3.75

2.0 out of 5 stars Stagnant State, 4 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Empire State [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
'Empire State' is a crime drama film, based on a true story that released direct to video in 2013. The reception has been poor on release.

The movie shows two friends (Liam Hemsworth and Michael Angarano) being responsible for the robbery of an armored truck company. They are ultimately investigated by an NYPD detective (Dwayne Johnson).

The feature had a promising cast and an interesting true story to go by. Unfortunately, what we see is a generic and boring heist thriller. Nothing really exciting happens for the full duration. Just one basic scene after the other.

Performances by Hemsworth and Angarano are the only notable and just about competent aspects of this movie. Mr. Johnson has only 10-15 minutes of screen time and there is nothing to rave about.

Dito Montiel's direction is uninteresting and the film is as predictable as it gets.

'Empire State' was released direct to video for a reason. However, I would wait out for the television release.

Getaway [DVD]
Getaway [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ethan Hawke
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £3.00

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Monotonous Car Chase even with Numerous Gear Changes, 4 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Getaway [DVD] (DVD)
'Getaway' is a car chase action film that released in 2013 to widespread panning by critics and flopped at the box-office.

The plot revolves around Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) who in order to save his kidnapped wife must follow instructions from a mysterious voice (not that mysterious actually). He is involved in a car chase during the process.

The main problem with the movie is its main weapon, the car chase scenes, which are exhausting and boring. Yes, the customized Shelby Mustang car is cool, Ethan Hawke is more than watchable and the final twenty minutes are not that bad. These things apart, there isn't much. The plot is ridiculous and boring.

Selena Gomez (deservedly nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for worst actress) is annoying and so is the mysterious voice of Jon Voight.

Courtney Solomon is a director who has made pointless cinema with a dull script.

My advice, Run Away from this Getaway!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2014 4:42 PM BST

Paranoia [DVD]
Paranoia [DVD]
Dvd ~ Liam Hemsworth
Price: £3.80

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Contrived Corporate Thriller, 3 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Paranoia [DVD] (DVD)
'Paranoia' is a corporate espionage thriller film that released in 2013, becoming a critical flop and a box-office disaster. The film is based on a novel of the same name authored by Joseph Finder.

The story follows Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) who is employed by Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) as a corporate spy in an attempt to infiltrate the business secrets of his rival, Augustine "Jock" Goddard (Harrison Ford).

The movie starts off interesting with an impressive star cast. The idea was smart and it was an easy watch. The problem was the predictability and no suspense throughout. I was expecting some form of tension, which was probably forgotten during the convoluted events. The ending is satisfying though.

The big star cast and the interesting subject hyped up the movie, as a result the basic end product fails to fulfill the potential. The movie is watchable and actually enjoyable if all high expectations are lowered.

Acting by everyone is what was expected. Oldman and Ford are a treat to watch.

The direction by Robert Luketic is rather predictable, even though he tries hard to introduce convoluted twists to make this a competent thriller. In the end, the script is the main let down.

'Paranoia' is an inaccurate name for the film as there is an absence of what the title suggests, Paranoia.

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