Wednesday 31 December 2014

Flavours of the Month: December 2014...

Tis the season to be merry, get wellied-in and watch the telly ... festivities, Blu-Rays galore, and a new obsession.

Click "READ MORE" below for the looks, sounds, vibes & flavours of my December 2014...

Sunday 28 December 2014

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Last Bastion of 2014 Edition...

The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies:
What's it about?
Trilogy-closing entry in Peter Jackson's elongated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Hobbit" in which Smaug unleashes his fury, Thorin Oakenshield wrestles with a King's madness, and a war is unleashed. Dwarves, Hobbits, Elves, Wizards, Orcs, Men, and the like having a massive ruck, put simply.
Who would I recognise in it?
Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Lee Pace, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Billy Connolly, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, and practically all the others still surviving from the previous movies.
The shortest of all the Hobbit (and Rings) movies, the oft-talked-about problems with stretching a novella into a trilogy of films become most obvious. Despite including material from the appendices, the fact that the film opens with the burning of Lake Town (as teased at the end of the second movie) says a lot about the awkward mid-production decision to turn two films into three. The opening, as spectacular and entertaining as it is, still feels more like the last fifteen minutes of The Desolation of Smaug instead of the opening of The Battle of The Five Armies. However, despite the occasionally mangled sense of pacing, TBOTFA gives more of what you want out of these films. If you enjoyed the previous movies you'll enjoy this, but it could be argued that it is also the least of all six films (Hobbit and Rings). Although, being the least in this company still makes for solid entertainment and captivating world-building...

Click "READ MORE" below to continue the review and read about Hatchet 3 and The Inbetweeners 2...

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Caged Women (Leandro Lucchetti, 1991) DVD Review

Find more movie reviews here.

“Well here we are Miss, the asshole of the world, and only God knows what the hell you're doing here.” When you think of exploitation cinema your mind primarily jumps to the 1970s and 80s, but rarely does it venture into the 1990s. The 'women in prison' genre had been around for decades, but saw it's heyday in the wake of Jess Franco's 99 Women (1969), so Leandro Lucchetti's 1991 film Caged Women is quite a late entry. The nineties were a lean time for horror and exploitation filmmaking, and it was also about this time that the Italian film industry, that had been so full of life, began to crumble.

“You take care of your ass and I'm gonna take care of mine.” Opening with a woman running through the jungle in rags – replete with slow motion topless sequences – only to be hunted down, things get off to a grim start. Meanwhile, Janet Cooper (Pilar Orive, braless and wearing the hell out of some Daisy Dukes) arrives in a remote South American coastal town completely unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Checking herself into the nearest hotel, a skeezy joint with a rough and tumble bar, Janet wastes no time in washing up for some adventure...

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots…

Monday 22 December 2014

"Celebrityville" update 22/12/2014...

After a few delays - such as having surgery to remove my gallbladder - I've finally been getting underway with "Celebrityville". First of all I got cracking with the short story ("The Great and The Good") that will tie-in to the main narrative (and accompany it in the book), but now I'm well underway with the primary text...

Click "READ MORE" below to continue the update...

Friday 12 December 2014

Double Bill Mini Musings: Big Guns and Grotesque Bets...

The Expendables 3:
What's it about?
Barney Ross and his gang of Expendables take on an old enemy from their past, but to do so they need to add some new blood to their line up.
Who would I recognise in it?
Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Davi.
Even in its "extended/uncut" form the violence is conspicuously bloodless, and yet the body count is sky high. This second sequel isn't lacking in action - and certainly not in the half hour climax - but you can't help but shake the feeling that it's somewhat compromised. In chasing a younger demographic in the frustrating PG-13 rating (the UK rating system is much more varied and forgiving), the violence has had the sharp edges smoothed off. People still get blitzed in every which way you could possibly think of, but that extra punch seen in the first movie is missing. Even with the new (and young) additions - of which Ronda Rousey reigns supreme - to the cast, was it truly worth annoying your core target audience by chasing the tween dollar? However, that sticking issue aside, if you enjoyed the other movies you'll enjoy this one too - it's a no-brainer...

Click "READ MORE" below to continue this review and see some brutal bets...

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Sleaze Fiend Magazine Issue #2 now available!

The second issue of Sleaze Fiend Magazine (for which I'm one of the staff writers) is now available to buy!

From the deliciously dirty minds who bring you the Exploited Cinema podcast, Sleaze Fiend Magazine is all about exploitation cinema and is most definitely not for sensitive souls or the easily offended. However, if you dig grindhouse cinema, out-there entertainment, bizarre curiosities, and independent zines, then you'll want to check it out.

Click HERE for more info.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Short Night of Glass Dolls (Aldo Lado, 1971) Review

Find more giallo reviews here.

“Don't leave me like this! Help me! Help me!” In amongst the quiet cityscape of Cold War era Prague, a street sweeper swats a crow away from a piece of rotting fruit, only to discover a dead body dumped in the undergrowth. The corpse is that of Gregory Moore, an American journalist working for a foreign paper in the city, and he isn't dead. Somehow he's been paralysed and shows no clear signs of life to the indifferent pathologist and, as he lies there waiting for his autopsy, he must recall the events that lead him to this terrible potential fate.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots…

Friday 5 December 2014

"Celebrityville" is getting there...

Planning out "Celebrityville" (my second book) is coming along very nicely indeed. Today, after a few weeks away due to another project I was working on, I finalised the layout of the story. The break was good though, as I could spread out the index cards for all the major beats of the story (something I talked about in an earlier post) and see it all with a fresh pair of eyes. I plugged a few plot holes and motivation gaps, so the events and pacing of the story is locked-in. Next up I'll be doing a rough map of each chapter (where it starts, where it ends, the basic beats of what happens when, and who says what to whom and why) ... and then it'll be time to getting my fingertips waggling.

Click "READ MORE" below for a teasy little tease...

Double Bill Mini Musings: Strange Cameras and Stolen Culture...

Time Lapse:
What's it about?
Three friends discover a bizarre camera, in the home of their recently deceased neighbour, which can take photographs of future events.
Who would I recognise in it?
Danielle Panabaker.
The film wastes little time in convincing its protagonists in the existence or mechanics of this strange photographic device, preferring to get the setup done quick and then take time with what comes next. There are familiar themes relating to time travel, such as using it for greed or the mind-twisting workings of the concept itself, but the film still feels more fresh than you might initially expect. The characters aren't necessarily the deepest or most complex, but their wants and needs are clear, and the performances help bolster their curious predicament as believable. Inevitably things take darker and more troubling turns, and while some twists are relatively predictable, the climax is deliciously satisfying. Good.

Click "READ MORE" below for the art of war...

Monday 1 December 2014

Heartbreaker Edition: The Walking Dead 5x08 memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Well that's that until February and as expected it packed a punch.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: I've just got something in my eye...

Click "READ MORE" below for the rest of this week's memes **EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD**...

Sunday 30 November 2014

Flavours of the Month: November 2014...

Zombies and nasties and reporters galore, rocking and writing and editing and more ... just some of the flavours of my November 2014...

Click "READ MORE" below for the full run down of what the looks, sounds, vibes & flavours of my month have been...

Monday 24 November 2014

Official Term Edition: The Walking Dead 5x07 memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Only one more episode to go in this half-season, but in the mean time have three new memes.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: Without fail...

Click "READ MORE" below for the rest of this week's memes...

Friday 21 November 2014

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Nasties, Grudges, and Battles...

Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide Part 2:
What's it about?
Jake West's follow-up documentary to 2010's examination of the 'video nasties' era in British film history. This time the fall out is covered, including such appalling events as the Hungerford massacre and the sadistic murder of James Bulger being linked to Rambo II and Childs Play 3 respectively. Other topics of discussion include the restriction of VHS cover art, former BBFC Director General James Ferman's fall from power, and the underground trading market which specialised in movies that were banned in the UK.
Who would I recognise in it?
Various commentators who appeared in the first part.
"Draconian Days" is a fascinating companion piece to 2010's "Moral Panic, Censorship, and Videotape" and, much like its predecessor, has an awful lot of important things to say about freedom of speech, artistic expression, and censorship. We may not see sights like that of schlocky horror movies seized by the police being burned on pyres, but censorship today is still prevalent - albeit in far more insidious ways. Then it was about shielding the eyes of children from fake exploding heads, today it's the chilling aggression of social media when it comes to issues of political correctness. What hasn't changed is how some people claim offence on the behalf of others, how some people spit righteous fury without seeing - or allowing others to see - what is apparently causing offence, and how the vocal opinion of an outraged minority can (perhaps unjustly) shift the line in the sand. Both parts are extremely important documentaries and point out how, regardless of political hue, our entire political establishment were gunning for these movies. Funny then that these same flicks can now be found on shelves all across the nation, available to all (who are old enough to purchase them) and there hasn't been a mass corruption of society at large ... who'd have thunk it, eh?! Great.

Click "READ MORE" below for old bruisers and young warriors...

Monday 17 November 2014

Road Safety Edition: The Walking Dead 5x06 memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Only two more episodes to go after this week's change of scenery, so in the meantime have 5 brand new memes.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: I wonder what he'd make of Jackson Pollock...

Click "READ MORE" below for the rest of this week's memes **EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD**...

Friday 14 November 2014

"Sleb" eBook FREE for a limited time offer!

Got a Kindle? Dig thrillers set in the absurd world of celebrity? Like FREE stuff? - well for the duration of Friday 14th & Saturday 15th November 2014, visit your local Amazon website and you can get my book "Sleb" for FREE and download it onto your Kindle anywhere in the world!

Don't have a Kindle? Download the Kindle App (which is also FREE) to your phone, tablet, or computer, and enjoy yourself some crazy celebrity chaos!

Sleb on Amazon US
Sleb on Amazon UK

Want to know more about "Sleb" - click HERE for info galore!

Monday 10 November 2014

Creeper Edition: The Walking Dead 5x05 memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

A mullet-tastic fifth episode in the new season ... time for 4 brand spanking new memes.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: Try and shake free from that image.

Click "READ MORE" below for more memes **EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD**...

Thursday 6 November 2014

Double Bill Mini Musings: Chainsaw Brides and Flesh Addicts...

Rec 3: Genesis:
What's it about?
A beautiful wedding reception is torn to bloody shreds after an infection turns the guests into undead ghouls possessed by fallen angels.
Who would I recognise in it?
Leticia Dolera.
Ditching the found footage format of the first two movies inside twenty minutes, the bulk of the film unfolds in a traditional cinematic style while retaining the 'religious zombies' angle that helped define the franchise. The central characters - Groom Koldo and Bride Clara - bring a 'love conquers all' vibe to the gore-soaked proceedings, with Clara kicking a particularly impressive amount of arse, at one point wielding a chainsaw in her blood spattered wedding dress. Suffice to say, she's a heroine you'll be rooting for from the get-go as she attempts to find her broad sword-wielding husband amidst the carnage. Everyone else is cannon fodder, and the film lacks the nerve-shredding frights and infection paranoia of the first two films - opting for more of a gung-ho action horror vibe - but it's plenty of fun for the duration. Good, albeit on the lower end of the scale.

Click "READ MORE" below for Michael Fassbender rodgering his way through New York...

Monday 3 November 2014

Lollipop Edition: The Walking Dead 5x04 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

A little holiday from Team Rick this week, but the memes keep coming - have 8 brand new ones! Finally we were able to find out what that bit at the end of the Comic-Con trailer was all about...

Click to Enlarge: Ominous systems of protection ... creepy.

Click "READ MORE" below for the rest of this week's memes **EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD***

Friday 31 October 2014

Flavours of the Month: October 2014...

Gangsters, jokesters, rockers, zombies, and celebrities ... just some of the flavours of my October 2014.

Click "READ MORE" below for the full run-down...

Monday 27 October 2014

Machete Edition: The Walking Dead 5x03 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: Maggie don't dig spoilerifics...

Three episodes deep and all of this week's memes are spoilers for the episode, so take mind of Maggie's warning before you step forth for four brand new TWD memes. It's surprising just how tricksy the editors of the TWD Comic-Con trailers are ... they're masters of misdirection.

Click "READ MORE" below for stuff and thangs **EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD**...

Friday 24 October 2014

Double Bill Mini Musings: Super Soldier Punch-ups and Fruit-based Technology...

Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning:
What's it about?
Fourth film in the official Universal Soldier franchise. A man wakes from a coma to avenge the death of his family, leading him towards an underground group of former government soldiers: clones who may or may not be brainwashed.
Who would I recognise in it?
Scott Adkins, Jean-Claude Van-Damme, Dolph Lundgren.
The link to past movies is fairly loose at best, and Van-Damme and Lundgren are both barely in the movie. I was pleasantly surprised by the third film (also directed by John Hyams), which reignited the franchise with gusto. With Luke Deveraux reborn as a dangerous - perhaps even murderous - Colonel Kurtz-a-like, it takes a little getting into, but with a focus on the revenge-driven motives of Adkins' grieving widower/father, Day of Reckoning hooks you in. The direction and photography are impressive, the budget can't have been particularly big, but they get a lot of bang for their buck. The blood-soaked explosions of detailed choreography are all-the-more impressive in wide shots that are, for action movies, held for quite a long time. Adkins' and the army of stunt performers are afforded ample screen time to show off their bone-crushing credentials in battles that are oftentimes as wince-inducing as they are effectively brutal. Climaxing with a gory, bullet-riddled, punch/kick/stab/shoot 'em up that clearly takes thematic and stylistic inspiration from Apocalypse Now, we're again reminded of just how tenuous the links are to origins of Universal Soldier. The story and plotting could have used some work, but the stunning action and razor sharp directing successfully paper over any narrative cracks. It's time for the franchise to now cut ties with Van-Damme and Lundgren, reaffirm the UniSol back story, and move forward with Adkins as the new carrier of the franchise - that certainly seems to be the intention. Good.

Click "READ MORE" below for the Apple man's biopic...

Monday 20 October 2014

Gags & Grossness Edition: The Walking Dead 5x02 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

We're only on the second episode of season 5 and things have already taken a turn for the grisly and gross. Read on for seven brand new memes plus two bonus memes for last week's episode.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: Daryl is not amused...

Click "READ MORE" below for many more memes from this week's episode **MAJOR EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD**

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Quadruple Bill Mini Musings: Big Hair, Old Boys, Frat Parties, and the Apocalypse...

American Hustle:
What's it about?
Based on (some) truths, this comic drama about a con man, his partner/mistress, and their FBI handler is a crazed caper situated at the arse-end of the coked-out 1970s. When one con too many brings the pair down they decide to join forces with the FBI to catch bigger fish and ensure their freedom - but things soon get out of hand.
Who would I recognise in it?
Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Michael Pena, Shea Whigham.
Not quite deserving of all the hype and attention at various awards shows, it's nonetheless a thoroughly entertaining crime comedy with high-strung drama, loud clothes, and the most outrageous hairstyles this side of 70s science fiction movies. Opening with the world's most preposterously convoluted comb over, the tone is set from the get-go, and rarely slacks off when it comes to wild-eyed chaos. It's as subtle as it's time period and just as fun. Not to be taken too seriously, it boasts game performances and a whacked-out sense of grandeur. Good.

Click "READ MORE" below for hammers, bongs, and asteroids...

Monday 13 October 2014

Tastes Like Chicken Edition: The Walking Dead 5x01 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Season 5 is here and things kicked off in explosive, gore-drenched fashion. Here's 10 brand new memes to celebrate the occasion.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: Officier Friendly loves a chuckle...

Click "READ MORE" below for 9 more memes **WARNING: EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD**...

Monday 6 October 2014

Piecing together your story's jigsaw...

I'm diving into the planning process of my second book - Celebrityville - and so I thought this would be an opportune time to talk a little bit about initial ideas and linking up the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that will become your story.

The events of Celebrityville will take place before those of my first novel - Sleb - and will stand as the first part in a continuing series set in that absurd universe with those curious stars, obsessives, haters, and all-round warped individuals.

Click "READ MORE" below to continue...

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Flavours of the Month: September 2014...

Jaw dropping WW2 television drama, neo-giallo style, transgressive fiction, surgery, and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag have been some of this month's flavours.

Click "READ MORE" below for the looks, sounds, vibes & flavours of my September 2014...

Saturday 27 September 2014

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Mucky Movies, Hollywood Wannabes, and Remorseful Buyers...

Don Jon:
What's it about?
The titular porn addict meets a 'ten' (a romcom obsessive), but his penchant for mucky movies comes between them.
Who would I recognise in it?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johanson, Julianne Moore, Brie Larson, Tony Danza.
JGL's debut as writer/director is not only confident, but it's efficient. The premise is clear, the set-up is pin sharp in its directness, and the presentation is immaculate and lively. Jon's life is one of routine, whether it's confessing his same old sins and repenting for them while pumping iron, or doling out road rage and cleaning his apartment ... or 'losing himself' in his favourite online past-time. JGL is wise not to condemn nor condone the actions and outlooks of his central characters, instead allowing the viewer to observe their respective lives and revelations (or lack thereof) objectively, and yet never at a distance. As debuts go - and characters studies in general - this is a particularly strong outing. Great.

Click "READ MORE" below for a so-called comeback and a mixed bag of tricks...

Thursday 25 September 2014

Yellow (Ryan Haysom, 2012) DVD Review

Find more giallo reviews here.

“One Hunter. One Killer.” During the 1970s and 80s it was boom time for Italian cinema, and one of its most popular and enduring creations was the “giallo” film. “Giallo” means “Yellow”, which was the colour of the covers for lurid murder mystery paperbacks. A few cinematic highlights of the genre include: What Have You Done To Solange?, The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, Tenebrae, and The Case of the Bloody Iris. Such was the effectiveness of giallo, they went on to inspire the slasher film. Come the 1990s however, the giallo movement ground to a halt, but in recent years there has been a resurgence of the form – the 'neo-giallo'. Films such as Tulpa, Sonno Profondo, and The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears have shown that there is still a distinct taste for killers clad in black leather, gleaming razors, and beautiful victims.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots…

Thursday 18 September 2014

Double Bill Mini Musings: Neo-Giallo Curiosity and Wacky Belly Laughs Galore...

The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears:
What's it about?
A curious mystery-cum-horror in which man returns from a business trip to discover that his wife is missing and their apartment is locked from the inside.
Who would I recognise in it?
From Bruno Forzani and Helene Cattet, who previously gave us the giallo-tinged Amer, this is a dream-like experience, much like Dario Argento's Inferno, where the hallucinatory and fragmented presentation seeks to disorientate viewers as much as entice them. The directors ramp up their sensory approach to eleven, crafting a film which boasts astonishingly exquisite visuals and haunting aural soundscapes. The architecture of the apartment building is put to grand use, particularly in a kaleidoscopic introduction that suggests darkness and danger lie in wait, and sequences akin to the photographic approach of La Jetee stun the viewer. Many of the visual and thematic touchstones of gialli are present - the black leather gloves, the razor, the mix of sexuality and violence, the gorgeous soundtrack (cherry-picked Tarantino-style from a selection of 1970s Italian scores) - so fans of the genre will be in heaven. This all said, the narrative is hard to follow, fractured as it is by diversionary vignettes and sparse plotting. It would be fair to say that, similar to Amer, there isn't quite enough content to fill the running time, but this also feels like a film that will benefit from multiple viewings. Populated by curious characters - such as a detective with a deeply dark voyeuristic past - it's certainly not for everyone. Some have decried it, and it's predecessor Amer, as pretentious art-house guff, but this is too dismissive. It's niche market, absolutely, but it's one of the most richly textured cinematic experiences in a long, long time. There has been somewhat of a resurgence in the long lost giallo genre in recent years, and The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears is a grandiose highlight in the Neo-Giallo movement. Good.

Click "READ MORE" below for newsreaders doing battle...

Monday 8 September 2014

"The Making of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead" by Lee Karr - book review...

"George A. Romero's name is synonymous with many things, but above all else it is synonymous with "zombies". Building on voodoo legends and the allusions of literary work such as Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, Romero birthed the flesh-eating ghoul – the zombie – which has, particularly in recent years, become a cultural icon. Zombies were once a niche subject matter, appealing only to horror nerds and gore hounds, now it's as if everyone and their grandmother is getting in on the act. However, even with the proliferation of walking (sometimes, curiously, running) corpses, Romero's place in cinematic history – and his importance to the zombie movement – is secured. It is with the help of the fans that milestones in the story of the undead do not end up forgotten and, on the specific subject of Day of the Dead (1985), Romero's third zombie film, it is Lee Karr who has penned what will surely stand as the definitive word..."

You can read the rest of my review by visiting Homepage of the Dead - click HERE to continue.

Sunday 7 September 2014

"Sleb" is into the quarter finals!

Good news on this Sunday morning - the screenplay version of "Sleb" has reached the Quarter Finals of the Screenwriting Goldmine Awards Competition 2014! Click HERE to see the list of Quarter Finalists.

Click "READ MORE" for, well, more...

Sunday 31 August 2014

Flavours of the Month: August 2014...

Dark conspiracies, comedic priests, talking dogs, sardonic comedians, hard-boiled cops, and underground zombies ... just a few of the things that have been flavouring my August 2014 ... read on to see what else.

Click "READ MORE" below for the looks, sounds, vibes & flavours of the past four weeks...

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Fisticuffs, Thunder, and Grue...

The Raid 2:
What's it about?
Grandiose sequel to the smash-hit Indonesian action film in which Rama is convinced to go undercover and infiltrate a criminal gang to help bring down the underworld that they control.
Who would I recognise in it?
Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian.
Gareth Evans ups the ante in every single regard with his astonishing follow-up. The action is bigger, bolder, more complex, and on a far larger scale - here the chaos and the beautifully choreographed violence spreads across an entire city. The one criticism of the first movie was that the plot wasn't exactly deep, and Evans makes up for it this time around. It's not earth-shattering, but it's played out with strong conviction and motivation, with Uwais afforded the opportunity to pull the audience in via his character's inner turmoil as well as his flying fists. Visually and aurally the film is stunning, and it even boasts a memorable supporting cast (e.g. Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man, who are screaming out for their own spin-off movie). From the outside the two-and-a-half-hour run time seems excessive, but as the film develops - becoming evermore breathless and tense with each passing minute - its final trick is illustrating just how you make an epic that keeps the audience hooked. Great.

Click "READ MORE" below for gods and viruses...

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Super Bitch (Massimo Dallamano, 1973) DVD Review

Find more DVD reviews here.

“We've got a job that needs a specialist.” The 1970s were a dangerous time in Italy. Sometimes dubbed 'the Years of Lead', and rocked by the likes of the Red Brigade, tough criminal actions begot tough police responses. It was from this raging inferno that the 'poliziotteschi' genre was born, featuring hard-boiled coppers akin to Dirty Harry and his ilk, but with a uniquely Italian swagger to them and their violent actions. These Euro cop flicks thrived alongside the scintillating violence of the more enduring gialli movement, with thrills and excesses to match. Massimo Dallamano finely crafted a superb giallo in the form of What Have You Done To Solange? and mixed the trappings of those gory murder mysteries with the poliziotteschi in What Have They Done To Your Daughters?, but with Super Bitch – aka Blue Movie Blackmail – it was all about crooked cops and drug smuggling.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots…

Saturday 9 August 2014

"Sleb" is now available in paperback print format!

In the words of Professor Farnsworth - "Good news everyone!"

My debut novel "Sleb" is now available to purchase worldwide via Amazon in Paperback Print format (in addition to the already available eBook version).

392 pages of darkly humorous celebrity-based thrills and spills in the lavishly chaotic life of besieged starlet Roxie Black. I've seen the proof copy first-hand and it looks fantastic - glossy cover, clean white pages, and sharp print make it a lovely looking book indeed. The dimensions are the traditional paperback 5x8 inches.

Click "READ MORE" below to continue...

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Cretins and Coppers...

Return to Nuke Em High Volume 1:
What's it about?
The latest 'Tromasterpiece' from director Lloyd Kaufman which returns to the titular high school where these days it's genetically modified food, rather than nuclear waste, that's turning goody-two-shoes students into punked-out cretins.
Who would I recognise in it?
Lloyd Kaufman and some other familiar faces from the Troma entourage.
The main problem with Volume 1 is just that - it's half a movie - there is no real three act arc over the duration of the first film, and so it all cuts off just as things are really beginning to escalate. We'll have to wait until Volume 2 to see the chaos unfold and for the story to be resolved, but for now it's frustrating to just get what is essentially half of a three hour movie. On the plus side, recent Troma flicks have boasted higher production values while maintaining their over-the-top independent spirit and style. Not for the faint-hearted or easily offended, it's a screaming-mad, dial-up-to-eleven, full-frontal assault of bad taste, nudity, gore, and Kevin The Wonder Duck. Not their best - mostly due to cutting us off half-way-through - but far, far, far from their worst. An enjoyably tasteless Troma romp. Good.

Click "READ MORE" below for coppers both dead and alive...

Thursday 31 July 2014

Flavours of the Month: July 2014...

July 2014 has been dominated by GTA V's electro sounds, hard boiled detectives, and crime busting coppers. Horror rockers, horror soundtracks, and horror flicks - plus plenty more.

Click "READ MORE" below for this month's looks, sounds, vibes & flavours...

Saturday 26 July 2014

The Walking Dead Season 5 Comic-Con Trailer Analysis...

Find Walking Dead memes here.

Finally, the season five comic-con trailer for TWD is here and although shorter than previous trailers for previous seasons, there's still a lot of stuff we can learn from it – so let's dig into it!

Some Key Notes:

The quest for Washington – it looks like the rather shady Gareth of Team Terminus will be joining forces with Team Rick to help get Eugene to D.C. so they can save the world … maybe.

So much for that 'Sanctuary For All' crap.

Bob seems to successfully plead for their lives.

Is he really all bad, or does he just put on a mean face?

Are the residents of Terminus cannibals? A lot of indicators point that way (the likes of Rick, Bob, Daryl, and Glenn bound and gagged with their throats over a trough, the train cars full of people etc), but is the blurry sight of a man hacking at a body preparation for dinner or a crude form of surgery? We've not seen them eat any definitive human flesh yet, so who knows, maybe their diet isn't so outré after all?

Hacking away at a leg - fixing an injury, amputating, preparing a cutlet for roasting?

Unfamiliar faces - cannon fodder set to be slaughtered? For food? For intimidation? Both?
Is the guy nearest the camera Sam from episode 4x04 "Indifference"? - credit to Moon Knight for that one.

Daryl and Glenn in a sticky situation ... with amateur butchers?

Click “READ MORE” below to see what else the trailer had in store for us (trailer spoilers ahead)...

Monday 14 July 2014

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Ghosts, Pirates, and Boozers...

The Borderlands:
What's it about?
British 'found footage' style horror film about three representatives of the church going to a small village parish to investigate signs of apparent divine intervention. Is it just attention-grabbing trickery, or is there something truly otherworldly happening?
Who would I recognise in it?
Gordon Kennedy, Robin Hill, Aidan McArdle.
Found footage films are so played-out right now, and ghost stories have become rather over-saturated lately, however The Borderlands is one that's worthwhile seeing. Using mounted cameras in the two main locations, as well as head cams, the actors are freed of the shackles of hand-held documentary filmmaking that often feel woefully contrived in other films when the shit hits the fan. Furthermore, with characters that are actually believable with personalities worth paying attention to, and a genuinely chilling atmosphere, the horror works. Building up gradually over the course of the film, it's not interested in loud noises and jump scares - which is most pleasing - instead using suggestion and slight movements to get those hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention. Well worth checking out - in spite of a glut of spooky/ghosty/haunted housey and cheapo 'found footage' flicks out there, The Borderlands manages to find slivers of gold amidst the muck. Good.

Click "READ MORE" below for piracy thrills and boozed-up chums...

Wednesday 9 July 2014

"The Racket" at the Portsmouth International Film Festival...

"The Racket" (on which I was Editor and Script Consultant) is appearing at the 2014 Portsmouth International Film Festival 2014 (9th to 11th July) and it has received two nominations!

Best War Film & Best Editing in a Documentary Short

View the full list of nominations here.

Find out more information about The Racket here.

The Frightened Woman (Piero Schivazappa, 1969) DVD Review

Find more Shameless Screen Entertainment DVD reviews here.

“You have a very odd way of spending your weekends.” Piero Schivazappa's The Frightened Woman (aka Femina Ridens, or The Laughing Woman), is an artful examination of sexual politics and the war between the two sexes from a time when the sexual revolution was at its peak. With stunning visual arenas from famous names such as Niki De Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely, it combines cutting edge sixties fashion and design with dangerous games of submission and control.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots…

Friday 4 July 2014

Baba Yaga (Corrado Farina, 1973) DVD Review

Find more Shameless Screen Entertainment DVD reviews here.

“Our meeting was pre-ordained.” Corrado Farina's Baba Yaga (aka The Devil Witch / Kiss Me Kill Me), is based on the comic strip by Guido Crepax, and Slavic folklore. It is the tale of a free-spirited young photographer who falls under the curious spell of a strange woman who increasingly holds sway over her mind and her possessed camera.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots…

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Venus In Furs (Massimo Dallamano, 1969) DVD Review

Find more Shameless Screen Entertainment DVD reviews here.

“A pleasure that is so great it can be painful.” Massimo Dallamano's Venus In Furs (aka Devil in the Flesh), not to be confused with Jess Franco's Venus In Furs (also 1969, aka Paroxismus), is based on the 1870 novella of the same name by Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. It was released in the dying days of the swinging sixties – in Denmark and West Germany, at least – but it wasn't distributed in Dallamano's native Italy until 1973, at which point it was quickly confiscated and cut to ribbons, such was the perceived danger of it's carnal sights. The age of the Internet may have dulled some of the film's softer titillations, but even 45 years later its darker passages of voyeurism, submission, and sadomasochism can still inspire shock, even repulsion.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots…

Monday 30 June 2014

Flavours of the Month: June 2014...


South Park Season 16 - seasons 15 and 16 definitely had some dud episodes in their mix, but as I said last month, re-watching these shows on their own terms (rather than with the expectation that you have, perhaps unfairly, when new episodes air) does bring a new sparkle that you didn't see the first time around. One of my favourite episodes from season 16, and the series in general, is the Halloween episode in which Randy buys the local Blockbuster rental store and everything goes a bit 'Shining'.

Fargo - this limited-run 10 episode story from FX and MGM has been a real gold mine. I was unsure how it would work upon first hearing they'd taken the Coen brother's movie and turned it, somehow, into a television show, but after the first couple of episodes I was hooked and it just kept getting better. It wasn't really an adaptation at all, it was a spiritual successor. Unpredictable, truly stunning, filled with characters that you genuinely care about (or fear), and all written by Noah Hawley with such an easy flair and eye for gentle dark humour that he makes it seem effortless. Clearly a lot of thought and craft went into all aspects of making this show and it paid off in spades. A bright shining highlight for 2014 television drama.

Click "READ MORE" below for the other flavours of this month...

Monday 23 June 2014

"Sleb" is now available to buy!

"Sleb", my first novel, is now available to buy worldwide via Amazon for Kindle, or the Kindle App (for Apple, Android, and Windows Phones, Tablets & Computers - the App is free to download).



Or visit your local version of Amazon and search for "Sleb Nick Thomson", but please note that "Sleb" is currently only available to read in the English language.

Want a taste? View the video trailer for "Sleb" here:

Music by Alex Vegas.

Or preview the first three chapters when you view the Amazon links.

Click "READ MORE" below for more information on "Sleb"...

Sunday 22 June 2014

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Sharp Claws, Big Explosions, and Saucy Lists...

The Wolverine:
What's it about?
After the devastating events of X-Men 3, Logan/Wolverine retreats into a life of solitude, only to be drawn out again when an old friend calls him to his death bed in Japan. Soon, Wolverine finds himself in all sorts of trouble when the Yakuza come calling just as his powers seem to be fading.
Who would I recognise in it?
Hugh Jackman, Hiroyuki Sanada, Famke Janssen.
Better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but still not up to the level of X1, X2, First Class, or Days of Future Past. It's a solid effort, but the middle portion does sag with uneven pacing, and the final act rumble feels pasted in from out of nowhere. However, a tussle on top of a 300mph bullet train is a decided highlight, and the increased focus on Logan's inner turmoil adds a nice sense of weight to proceedings. The plot does get a little bit overcomplicated in some places, and stretched thin in others, for a two hour running time, but it's a big improvement over the previous stand alone spin off. Good, for the most part.

Click "READ MORE" below for big dumb fun, and nostalgic naughtiness...

Wednesday 4 June 2014

"Sleb" cover art...

"Sleb" is nearing completion. There are final draft tweaks to make, but I've been busy working on some of the additional tasks relating to the project recently - getting the synopsis just right, for example, but also - the cover art.

I've also alluded to doing a special little something to help try and spread the word of the book once it has been released...

Click "READ MORE" below to finish that thought...

Sunday 1 June 2014

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Mutants, Codgers, and Radioactivity...

X-Men Days of Future Past:
What's it about?
In a bleak near-future, the mutants are being hunted down and exterminated by "The Sentinels", and in a last-ditch effort to change the course of history, they send Wolverine back in time to 1973 (via some weird mental transference kind of thing) to fix the future by changing the past.
Who would I recognise in it?
Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, and more.
Jam-packed with mutants and time travel craziness, DOFP is a busy movie. Taking place some time after the events of X-Men 3 in a horrific future world torn apart by human-on-mutant genocide, the action switches over to 1973 - picking up several years after the events of X-Men First Class - and then a whole bunch of stuff happens. Suffice to say, the plot is complicated - but in a good way - and filled with its fair share of fun/mind-bending time travel convolutions. Like the plot, the cast is full, so full that many characters only make cameo appearances or have very little to do. However, while some fan favourites may get shunted to the sidelines, it does help add a sense of a wider 'mutant community' and an entire world of mutants populating the X-Men universe. The script is richly textured, although perhaps a little over-stuffed (making the not-overly-long 131 minute running time feel hefty), and the tone is mostly balanced, but surprisingly dark at times. The action sequences are thoroughly enjoyable, but the stand-out moment is owned by Quicksilver, who steals the entire movie with one superbly realised sequence inside the Pentagon. It's a big, big movie - sometimes an unwieldy one - but it's successes far outweigh it's minor problems. On the cusp between good and great.

Click "READ MORE" below for a rude octogenarian and radioactive horror...

Saturday 31 May 2014

Flavours of the Month: May 2014...


Twin Peaks - finishing off season two. There were about eight episodes after the reveal of Laura Palmer's killer where the show went off the rails and didn't have a new main story and threat to pick up the ball. Various subplots and side stories didn't really work, so for those iffy episodes only parts of them are working. It stopped being strange, it got safe and even a bit plain. That said, in the last few episodes it swung right back up again and found the groove for a grand finale. Good news too about the imminent release of 90 minutes worth of deleted scenes from Fire Walk With Me.

South Park Season 13, 14 and 15 - when South Park hits a home run, it really goes all out, but then you end up (unfairly) expecting every episode to be like the one where the Internet goes down, or the Facebook episode, or the World of Warcraft episode etc. However, watching these episodes for a second time on their own terms really frees them of any first-watch expectations you originally had. What was a tad underwhelming the first time becomes a rather good run of episodes with some forgotten gems hidden away.

Click "READ MORE" below for the other looks, sounds, vibes & flavours of my May 2014...

Wednesday 28 May 2014

YouTube Finds: May 2014...

Every now and then I like to share a few videos that I've rather enjoyed in the previous several weeks, and being that blogging has been a bit light recently, here's some YouTube videos that tickled my fancy of late:

Celebrites Read Mean Tweets:

Does what is says on the tin.

David Lynch: Making "The Big Dream":

I love the man's work, and this is a pretty cool ten minute look at the creative process behind the scenes of Lynch's latest musical effort.

Click "READ MORE" below for other nifty vids...

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Double Bill Mini Musings: Wolves & Ghosts...

The Wolf of Wall Street:
What's it about?
Martin Scorsese's latest epic about the outrageous life and times of stockbroker Jordan Belfort in the late 1980s and early 1990s - sex, drugs, money, power, women, mayhem, and corruption.
Who would I recognise in it?
Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Jon Bernthal, Jean DuJardin, Joanna Lumley, and others.
Scorsese's film is his most brash and outlandish for quite some time, and deals directly with despicable people doing reprehensible things. Terence Winter's whip smart script invites us into this world and manages to elicit different reactions from different people, or a multitude from one individual viewer. Deep down, who doesn't want money and power and sex? The condemnation creeps in when, slowly, the excesses take over and the protagonists' sense of reality skews into obscene territory. These characters - based on real people - do horrible things and never know when enough is enough, but you can't examine that world, or tell that story, without showing it as it is. You can't - and shouldn't - censor it. You can't deal with villainy without meeting the villain, you can't show excess without having a little fun, you can't illustrate a huge downfall without going to extreme lengths.

Click "READ MORE" below for more Wolf of Wall Street, and The Conjuring...

Saturday 17 May 2014

Bad Girls Behind Bars (Blue Underground Boxed Set) DVD Review

Find more exploitation DVD reviews here.

The 'women in prison' sub-genre goes back as far as the 1930s, but it wasn't until Jess Franco's 99 Women (1969) that the template changed. A formula was established that was to be followed for many years – and many films – to come. Innocent girls thrown into a depraved hell hole of a prison, often in a stifling foreign climate, only to be tortured and seduced in equal measure by both guards and fellow prisoners. Sadistic wardens (often times female) would treat their guests of the state like slaves, and many WIP films involve prostitution or trafficking sub-plots. Toss in plenty of bare/sweaty/soapy female flesh, prison riots, escape plans, and cruel injustices resolved with furious vengeance, and you've got the essentials of the genre.

The locations would change (islands, jungles, Los Angeles, East Germany, etc), and the tone would shift (action fest, sexploitation, Naziploitation etc), but common themes remained true across the board. Repetitive, perhaps, certainly sleazy, these films fought with sexual politics head-on. Simultaneously exploiting attractive women while also unleashing them to seek their bloody satisfaction; there are few good men in the WIP arena. These are the sort of movies in which, when the women do wear clothes, they might as well not have bothered as their breasts always find a way to get maximum screen time. Bombastic, low budget, sometimes shocking, occasionally grotesque, it's a wild-eyed world of hot bodies, cold steel, burning passions and animalistic insanity.

Read on to discover the delirious depravities of 99 Women, Women Behind Bars, Bare Behind Bars, Sadomania, and Amazon Jail.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots…

Monday 12 May 2014

"Sleb" update...

I've reached the end of the story!

80,301 words.

I edit as I write, so I've essentially completed the story while also sitting at third draft standard. Next up is to go right back to page one and re-read the whole book and tidy up the earlier chapters to help the flow fit-in better with the mid-to-late sections once I had found my groove.

There's a few specific things I want to insert here and there as well, and then there'll be some final tweaks, so it'll be as a fifth or sixth draft once things are done (in addition to the several drafts the story underwent in screenplay form).

Click "READ MORE" below to continue the update...

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Flavours of the Month: April 2014...


Lost Season 6 - and so ends the return trip to the island. The final season did feel a bit over-long, and certain elements didn't tie-up quite as well as they should have, but ultimately I was still impressed by how the show ended.

The Trip To Italy - a second series of the delightfully entertaining comedy starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as slightly askew versions of themselves. It's a welcome return, although a subplot about infidelity does, to me at least, sit a little uneasily with the generally jovial tone of the show. We'll see how that particular thread plays out over the remaining episodes.

South Park Season 10, 11, and 12

Mad Men Season 7
- the final season, annoyingly split over two years. The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad are more my kind of thing, but even still, I'm a big fan of this show. Three episodes deep - so far so good. A year-long mid-season break is going to be a pain though, just like with the final season of BB.

Click "READ MORE" below for the other looks, sounds, vibes & flavours...

Friday 11 April 2014

Pentuple Bill Mini Musings: CGI, Nonsense, Monsters, Knock Offs, and Hauntings...

World War Z:
What's it about?
Big budget adaptation (in-name-only, pretty much) of Max Brooks' celebrated zombie novel.
Who would I recognise in it?
Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox, Fana Mokoena, David Morse, Peter Capaldi.
I went into watching this flick (in its "extended" form) with my expectations at rock bottom after months of negative press and information and trailers in the lead-up to the initial release. Likewise with very mixed reviews coming from fellow zombie fans, I was preparing myself for an out-right calamity. Fortunately, it wasn't quite that bad - however, it was still a massively compromised hodge-podge of CGI, gargantuan plot holes, and leaps in logic that crumble what semblance of a narrative there is. Effectively a series of increasingly large-scale set pieces, the film rushes to establish a 'family dynamic' to give Brad Pitt's Gerry something to fight for. Sadly, the film never earns the right to our emotions as it swiftly goes about throwing as much money at the screen as possible. The scale is impressive, but the running, jumping, screeching, twitching, 'zombies' look awful - it's CGI overload and groan-inducing "I Am Legend" style nonsense all-the-way. The 'ant hill' and 'fluid group dynamics' are just naff gimmicks as the CGI 'zombies' defy physical logic and the abilities of the human body.

Click "READ MORE" below for more WWZ, horrors inside the home, Nazi monsters, knock-off Star Wars action, and spooky houses...

Monday 31 March 2014

Rippin' Throats Edition: The Walking Dead 4x16 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Well there we have it - season four has come to an end! We've got several months to wait until season 5 rolls around, so in the mean time here's 7 brand new TWD memes.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: Now what the hell are we supposed to do?!

Click "READ MORE" below for SIX more memes **WARNING: EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD**...

Sunday 30 March 2014

Flavours of the Month: March 2014...


The League of Gentlemen (DVD commentaries)

Gravity (Blu-Ray)
- it's definitely not a horror film, but it's the scariest movie I've seen in years. An astonishing technical and directorial achievement that features a gripping central performance by Bullock.

8MM - apparently screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en) disowned the movie after it was watered down and had the tone somewhat lightened, but even still, it's a pretty grim thriller that's simultaneously quite compelling. Part of that post-Se7en vibe in 90s filmmaking where everything got very dark and brooding (also see End of Days).

True Detective - familiar elements given a unique spin. A superb piece of dramatic work with two exceptional lead performances at the heart of it. Lyrical, poetic, and exceedingly dark. An iconic piece of television drama. Let's hope they can recapture that same spirit with a brand new cast and storyline for season two.

Click "READ MORE" below for more looks, sounds, vibes & flavours...