Friday, 29 October 2010

Movie Preview: TRON LEGACY - TRON NIGHT REVIEW


We got to the Waterloo IMAX at about 18:50. Apart from one solitary fan (sporting a Tron Legacy T-Shirt) who had taken a chair and sat at the very start of a non-existent queue (award given for Number One nerd of the night) a few people were dotted about munching on sweets from the over priced cinema vendor. I sported a "Flynn Lives" T-shirt that I received at a trailer screening earlier in the year. Strangely, I appeared to be the only one. (award given to the Number Two nerd of the night). I saw one guy wearing an ENCOM laminate and a couple of Tron Legacy ARG (Alternate Reality Gaming; the lynch pin of the Flynn Lives viral marketing for TL) badges; one of an ENCOM associated logo, the other Space Paranoids. Presumably bought on ebay. Maybe the lucky sod got to go to the San Diego Comic Con.

Eventually We went in and got some good seats. Sadly, our karma was rudely interrupted by three dickheads behind us; an English guy and his girlfriend ("I'm only the publicist" repeated x3 for effect) and an American with a lisp who aspired to be the next Perez Hilton. They sat there right behind us, full of themselves, talking in a way that they want everyone to hear what they're saying. It was painful. After a day's work it was so painful, John and I resorted to sticking our headphones in and listening to loud music for a bit. This drew the interest of the "Recognisers" sweeping the crowd with binoculars.

At 19:45, the footage was introduced. I sat wondering if the celeb wannabes behind would manage to shut the fuck up for the full 23 minutes. Clearly they were ADHD ID (ID standing for Intellectual deficit). Thankfully, they just managed it as Joseph Kosinki's typed message came to "End of Line" and the TRON Legacy footage began...


We first saw the scene where Sam Flynn rides his motorbike back to his apartment. Nerds amoung you, like me, would have noticed that his place was called DUMONT's, Barnard Hughes's character from the original TRON. It appears that Sam lives in a disused industrial unit, but as Alan Bradley remarks he has a great view. The dialogue between Bradley and Flynn Jnr seemed a little stilted but I guess this was to convey the distance that the characters had between them over the years. We learn that 27 year old Flynn Jnr is a chip off the old block and just as much a Maverick as his Dad. As seen in the trailers, Alan tells Sam that he has received a ghostly page from his Dad, via Flynn's Arcade; an arcade that has been shut for 20 years. Garrett Hedlund looks and acts the part. IMAX is unforgiving if an actor is sub par because the performance is in your face - there's no escape. I always like to see Bruce Boxleitner. He's a dependable and warm actor that I never get tired of seeing.

What is particularly cool about this scene is that Alan Bradley references part of the viral marketing campaign! Looking at the ENCOM tower from Sam's pad, he says;

"...Heard you did a triple Axle off of her a few hours ago"

We see bruises on Sam's back that have come from a violent parachute jump. We've been told, as fans, that there are many "Easter Eggs" in the movie and in one scene that has been proven - twice. I like attention to detail. That's evident from this review!

Sam Flynn rides over to Flynn's arcade. Although the Real World is in 2-D it still looks great. The huge IMAX screen makes you feel that you're riding the camera mount as it descends from the top of the arcade building to the street below as Sam arrives. What struck me is the Autumnal night look of the area: Leaves gathered in front of the arcade, the place looking far more run down than as spotted in the trailers. Sam enters and switches the power on. Familiar sounds (to us old gits!) from old arcade machines spark to life, as does the jukebox. A great opportunity to hear a couple of tracks from 1982! We first hear a track by Journey; the Rock band that supplied two tracks to the original TRON soundtrack.
Sam looks around, goes upstairs to the old apartment. It was recreated so faithfully that I could almost hear Flynn Snr saying

"Because man, somewhere in one of these memories is the evidence..."

Pure nostalgia. Sam turns to leave but spots the old TRON arcade fully active underneath a polythene shroud. Sweeping it off the machine he watches the vintage light cycle game demo. Was that a solitary tear in my eye? No, just a bit of grit. As seen in the trailer, he shoves a quarter in the machine and it feeds through and out on to the floor, where he spies tread marks gouged into the concrete floor. This kid ain't stupid.

He moves the TRON machine aside to find a hidden entrance. As he descends some stairs we hear a muffled "Sweet Dreams..." by Eurythmics from the now distant jukebox still playing in the arcade's main floor. Flynn Jnr dusts off a display that has a retro but modern touch screen keyboard. Tron Legacy ARG players will recognise the design having used it to access pre-production drawings earlier in the year. Also, there are pictures on a noticeboard that we have also seen during the viral marketing, and a process map of the Grid. Sam accesses his Dad's computer files and appears to inadvertently trigger off the digitisation laser that had loomed ominously in the background aimed at the computer chair - empty or not. Why do the Flynn boys never notice a huge industrial Laser powering up behind them?

Finally, we get what we came for; 3D scenes that take place within The Grid! Sam Flynn has been transported to this place; an annexed city world that his Father has created. Echoing Flynn Snr in the first film he says "It's not happening". Sam sees familiar designs and says "He did it". So he must have already known about Dad's projects. A recogniser hovers over head, descends and picks up Sam and some programs. The scale of the craft is well transmitted to us through the direction and 3D rendering. What this film appears to have is proper long shots without superfast editing that allows the viewer to immerse themselves in the world, similar to the way Avatar immersed us into the world of Pandora.

Sam tries to converse with the "stray" programs but is met by disinterest. One program has been damaged and part of his face is pixellated away, another is mubling "Not the games" on repeat.

The look of the Grid which has impressed me from what I have already seen, takes on a new, ethereal quality in 3D; sort of a futuristic Blade Runner vibe with lightning cracking the sky, and a city that reminded me slightly of the machine's city in Matrix Revolutions.

Sam is chosen for the "Games" as in gladatorial combat, in an arena. He's treated like a Gladiator in that a number of "Sirens" appear and remove his 21st century clothing and replace it with a cross between the Spider-Man venom suit and and extreme sports cycling wear. He is given an identity disc and a siren echoes the speech given to the conscripts, by Sark, in the original movie. Sam asks what he is supposed to do and the reply is "Survive".

We are then treated to a scene depicting an update on the "Ring Game". Flynn Jnr appears to have had no training - heck not even an orientation lesson. So, his opponent gets to practise with his disc for a while before being derezzed by another. Sam recognises one of the warriors from a toy on his shelf at home. The derezzing effects are spectacular. Programs take on a crystal effect in this film. Things, including people, shatter. That's what the derezzing looks like - shattered glass.

Fanboys at the Comic Con can get excited in the fact that their chants of "Disk Wars" made it into the finished movie. Well done guys!

The next scene shows us an unknown (but not difficult to figure out) character rescuing Sam from the arena in a four wheeled vehicle called a Light-Runner, being chased down by enemy lightcycles denoted by orange neon. Like all good sci-fi vehicles, this one comes equipped with counter-measures that take out the enemies and breach the arena wall. Thankfully, an off-road ability allows Sam and,in a reveal Quorra, to escape into the "outside". I've had an Olivia Wilde/Quorra wallpaper up on my monitor for some time now. She really is attractive in this film; the right side of flirty and cute. Another tick in the box for this movie; an attractive but strong female lead.

The final, normal, scene shows us Flynn for the first time. Ok, there's a little of the "Dude" in Bridges look but when he opens his mouth and speaks, it's clearly not the dude. He has been meditating and says to Quorra that he's been dreaming of Tron. She replies that it's only natural; suggesting that all is not well in Flynn's created world. Flynn refers to Quorra as his "apprentice". Please, no Jedi shit in this movie. Quorra shows Sam a vintage lightcycle, saying that it's still the "fastest thing on the Grid".

When Flynn Snr finally turns to see his son, we glimpse the human aspect of this story; a father being reunited with his son. It's a good scene and counterpoints the technology on display. It's reassuring. Watching wave after wave of 3D CG work is all very well but if there is no heart to the story, what's the point?

What follows is the Daft Punk video for "Derezzed". So what about the score? I noticed it during the collection of scenes to be a standard, not sub-standard orchestral score. I will miss the surreal Wendy Carlos music from the original but hope they've managed to work in some Tron themes. As it stands, what I've heard of the score sounds good. "Derezzed" is more of what we're used to with Daft Punk, perhaps better than their normal output as I find some of it far too repetitive. It is introduced by Castor, played by Michael Sheen. Sheen is enjoyably camp from what we see. During the sequence we get to see some more clips from the movie edited quickly for the purposes of a "pop video".

During this montage of clips we see;

A lightcycle battle.

Quorra lounging on a couch in the Flynn safehouse.

Clu 2.0 appears. I think some comments about the CG work on the younger Flynn are unfounded. He's a program and I don't see the need for pitch perfect CG in the style of avatar to portray this character. After all, Clu is a Flynn avatar. he is described as "Your liberator. Your luminary. The one who vanquished the tyranny of the user those many cycles before..."

We see Rinzler using acrobatic techniques to confront Sam on an upside down disc wars platform.

The the TRON LEGACY logo appears and it was all over, after a quick clip of Sam and Quorra in the Light Runner observing a number of Clu 2.0's wasp like warriors.

Upon the conclusion, I met the Disney rep in the IMAX foyer, gave my requested "one-word" reaction and thanked Disney for their hugely entertaining marketing campaign. He told me that Disney had been intentionally keeping the fans of the original on board. I still don't think they needed to do this as the movie stands on it's own as a remarkable piece of work. Well, I get this from the myriad of material I've been privy to. The rep was friendly and quietly confident about it all and told me that the marketing campaign was ramping up. What more has the company got in store for us? Good times.

DVD Review: Frozen


Frozen (2010)


Directed By Adam Green


Starring: Shawn Ashmore, Emma Bell, Kevin Zegers


Synopsis:


In Mount Holliston, snowboarders Dan Walker (Zegers), and Joe Lynch (Ashmore) along with Dan’s girlfriend Parker O'Neil (Bell) don't have enough money to buy cable car tickets. Parker bribes an employee of the skiing station, Jason, with one hundred dollars. When the cable car system is nearing closure, they persuade Jason to let them have the last pass. However, Jason gets distracted and his colleague misunderstands his instructions and ultimately stops the cable car. The trio of snowboarders get stranded on the chairlift near the top of the mountain. When they see the lights of the ski resort get turned off, they are forced to make a choice: leave the chairlift or freeze to death. Events take a turn and the temperature becomes the least of their problems.


Review:
I saw Hatchet (Adam’s Green’s previous feature) and found it to be a competent homage to 80s slasher flicks, complete with some inventive gore scenes. Based on Hatchet, and reading the publicity blurb on Frozen, I mistakenly formed an opinion of where I thought the film would go. This opinion was bolstered by seeing Kane Hodder on the cast list. For those who don’t know, Kane played Jason Vorhees, the man behind the mask in the Friday the 13th movies. He also played Victor Crowley, a Jason Vorhees type slasher, in Adam Green’s Hatchet.


I was very wrong. You see I thought, somehow, a serial killer element would be part of the movie. This would involve Kane Hodder and we would find that his character Cody had staged the whole event. I recognise that having only three potential victims wouldn’t make much of a slasher flick but then it would depend on how it was handled. Instead I found the movie to be a little more mundane and tensionless.
Don’t get me wrong, Frozen has its moments and I will elaborate these as the review goes on.


The cast are excellent, it has to be said. You will recognise Shawn Ashmore from the X-Men movies. He played Bobby “Iceman” Drake. Emma Bell has been in a modest amount of US TV shows including Supernatural and Dollhouse. Look out for her soon, in The Walking Dead. Horror movie genre fans will recognise Kevin Zegers from Dawn of the Dead (2004) and Wrong Turn. Adam Green’s screenplay gives the three actors a lot to emote. I can imagine that the shoot was quite difficult. Each character goes through a range of emotions in this movie and all rise to the challenge. Green writes decent dialogue and I can find no fault with it, although Bell’s monologue about her dog being left in her apartment was a bit too twee for my tastes. However, it was realistic and dramatically played very well by Bell.


The initial scenes of the three sitting with the thought that they’ll be stranded on a freezing cable car chair is performed very well, especially when the first icy sleet hits and the reality of the situation really hits home. The strength of the writing and acting delivers scenes that are believable up to a point. The point I refer to is the threat from below. I realise that there needed to be a deus ex machina to move the plot along. I would have preferred that the threat be from something else as I was never sold on the idea that wolves would actively attack and kill a human being, however helpless. The scene where Joe shields Parker from witnessing her boyfriend torn to shreds is convincing. The scenes where Lynch negotiates the razor sharp cable to get to the ladder are the few with any real tension. Lastly, the feeling of isolation, loneliness and uncertainty were well presented as the camera focuses on a frost-bitten Parker towards the end of the movie and it’s more intellectual fears like this that I wished the movie had lingered on more. But, guess what? They don’t put bums on seats as much as a good old fashioned chewed up corpse, so I have sympathy with Green for going down that route of story telling. It worked because Frozen made a large amount at the US box office.


Green is another Writer/Director that I have high hopes for. He shows, with Frozen, a maturity of storytelling that could well be mined in future projects. He’s definitely capable of some classic work, if allowed. Also, big Kudos also for practically filming Frozen and not falling back on a green soundstage. That pushes my score up a bit.


Summary:

So, you’d think reading the above that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie but sadly I found it lacking in suspense. Overall, whilst the movie lacked terror, it doesn’t hide the fact that I found enough to recommend the movie to people who might be a little less jaded. The writing, direction and acting is all very good. It’s miles better than other horror movies around at present that purport to be scary with a couple of cameras, and Paranormal in the title. So, make of it what you will.


I have to have one last pop at using quotes for publicity. Likening the movie to Jaws because the production company is called “A Bigger Boat” and the dialogue references the movie, whilst having wolves (with big teeth) is ludicrous. Frozen isn’t bad but does not parallel the Spielberg masterpiece in any shape or form.


Score: 7/10

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Review: Siege of the Dead (aka Rammbok)

Whilst I have every sympathy for a company looking to call a movie something other than Rammbock (German for a siege busting weapon) Siege of the Dead wouldn't have been it. After all, there are no dead zombies in it for starters. Read my rant on the awful marketing and the review of a good movie;

RAMMBOCK

Review: Zombies of Mass Destruction


The second in a trilogy of zombie genre movie reviews, for Halloween. Sadly, not the best of them.
ZMD review

Review: Night of the Demons (2009)

Thanks to Bloody Disgusting.com for the photo

My review of Night of the Demons (2009) is up at Flash-Bang

If you're looking for a trashy horror for Halloween this one could be it.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Movie Preview: The Dead trailer

Thanks to Twitch for posting The Dead trailer. This does look good.

Random Movie News

Proving that Hollywood can have a twisted sense of humour, Mel Gibson has been cast in Hangover 2. It could have been better, he could have starred in Fatal Attraction 2: the Mad Mel Tapes.

Bloody Disgusting report that Mark Wahlberg was offered the part of Eric Draven in a remake of The Crow.

LINK

I have nothing constructive to say about that....


The new Tron poster looks very cool. Olivia Wilde does funny things to me dressed like that. Cute.

Hellraiser - the Fluffy version for Twilight Fans?

Some of you might remember that cute, fluffy little film from Clive Barker about demon angels that liked to strip humans of their souls and their flesh. The sequel even had a man's cock nailed to an obelisk. So, ripe for toning down and appealing to middle American teenagers. the Weinsteins seem to think so. What the fuck? I mean, really? What the fuck goes through these asshole's "brains"?

See Dark Horizons for this ridiculous story;
http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/18534/-hellraiser-now-with-huggable-pinhead

Sunday, 10 October 2010

UK Tron Night - 28/10/2010

Thanks to HeyUGuys for the heads up! Go to the link for the announcement;


I will be at the Waterloo IMAX

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Film News - 20101006

                                 I'm really cute as a redhead. Hang on, I'm a blonde.....




Spiderman - the reboot

Emma Stone (the TV series Drive, Zombieland) has been cast as Gwen Stacy alonside Andrew Garfield's Spiderman in the latest attempt to bring the super-hero to the big screen. It seems those who do the casting are fixating on the fact she's a natural blonde. Normally, Emma wears her hair as a shade of red, plays feisty roles and would be perfect as Mary Jane-Watson. In Spiderman 3 we had a natural red head with her hair dyed platinum blonde play Gwen Stacy whilst the insipid Kirsten Dunst carried on playing Mary Jane Watson. Bizarre.

Wolverine - The Japan Adventure

                                                                            Blah, blah, blah, I'm not listening....



This new movie better not be called X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2. The first sucked, big time, for reasons I highlighted here; Why Wolverine sucked - the short version (long version for fanboy idiots like me pending). So, I have little hope for a sequel. It's set in Japan but you just know they won't follow the cool parts of the original Limited Series properly. Anyway, for those that care Darren (director of The Wrestler) Aronovsky is in talks to direct it. Except this news is ancient, so why is it now news again?


Unless the script is well written, if I was Aronovsky I'd run from this. Gavin Hood had a decent rep before he took on the original. People in the business who actually take film seriously probably laughed at him after watching Origins of Something I once actually liked. Fox fucked up another franchise. Left alone, I hope that a decent film could be made but remain sadly pessimistic.

The Exorcist on Blu-Ray


One of the few horror movies where it does exactly what it says on the tin, or plastic amray case. The only movie to give me the shits, well not literally the shits but it scared me so much I found it very difficult to walk around with the light off. Well, there was the banging into things because I couldn't see, but it made me scared of the dark for a little while. Strange, now, because it's very slow until the girl grabs the psych by the family jewels and then it gets a mixture of scary and silly. "Your Mother sows socks in hell" and all that. But I've gone and ordered the Blu-Ray. It's still a stunningly filmed movie and great for Halloween. I actually liked the last version of it, too. What was it called? "The new latest version that the director approved to get a bit more money". Something like that.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Film Preview:The Thing Prequel

When I first heard a prequel of John Carpenter's The Thing was to made, I wondered why the fuck anyone would mess with such a great movie. Secondly, why make it at all when we know how it will end up because it's the beginning of the 1982 movie. It'd be like someone making movies to tell us that Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader. Oh, hang on! MUST NOT MENTION THOSE DAMN PREQUELS!!!!

Anyway, Ain't It Cool News has a cool article about this movie that may appease me until I see if they fuck it up or not.

Quint's Exclusive Set Visit

Film Preview: The Stoning of Soraya M

High Fliers Films plc Logo BLACK
THE STONING of Soraya M.

When a Deadly Conspiracy Became a Shameful Cover-Up
One Witness Refused to Be Silent

Released across UK cinemas on 22nd October 2010

Based on a true story and best-selling book
“The Stoning of Soraya M.” by
FREIDOUNE SAHEBJAM

Directed by
CYRUS NOWRASTEH

Starring
SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO
MOZHAN MARNÒ
and
JIM CAVIEZEL


Written by
BETSY GIFFEN NOWRASTEH & CYRUS NOWRASTEH


THE STONING OF SORAYA M trailer can be downloaded here: https://www.yousendit.com/download/WTNJN3RkdENsamRFQlE9PQ


Synopsis:

Academy Award® nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG) stars in the heroic role of Zahra, an Iranian woman with a burning secret. When a journalist (Jim Caviezel, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, DÉJÀ VU) is stranded in her remote village, she takes a bold chance to reveal what the villagers will stop at nothing to keep hidden.

Thus begins the remarkable account of what happened to Soraya (Mozhan Marnò), a kind, spirited woman whose bad marriage leads her cruel, divorce-seeking husband to conspire against her, trumping up charges of infidelity, which carry an unimaginable penalty. Moving through a minefield of scheming, lies and deceit, Soraya and Zahra will attempt to prove Soraya’s innocence in a legal system stacked against her. But when all else fails, Zahra will risk everything to use the only weapon she has left – her fearless, passionate voice that can share Soraya’s story with a shocked world.

THE STONING OF SORAYA M. is inspired by Paris-based journalist Freidoune Sahebjam’s acclaimed international best-seller of the same name which, rife with intrigue and moral outrage, first brought global attention to the real Soraya, who in 1986 was buried to her waist in her hometown square and stoned to death by her fellow villagers.

Director Cyrus Nowrasteh, along with his wife and fellow screenwriter Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh, saw in Soraya one story that stands for thousands of untold tales around the world, from Africa to Asia, from Europe to America, wherever people are battling prejudice and injustice. Their screenplay takes the hard facts surrounding Soraya’s fate and carves from them a lyrical, fable-like passion play that gets under the skin by posing a provocative question: Who among us would throw stones and who would take a stand against them?

Monday, 4 October 2010

Blu-Ray News: The A-Team


 CRAZY FOO!



DETAILS of the upcoming Blu-ray release of The A-Team have been revealed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

I saw this recently and, despite having seen mediocre reviews, enjoyed it. The movie captures the spirit of the series whilst taking it into the 2010s. The only thing missing was the trademark fighting style of leaping into shot and on top of the bad guys and the vehicle stunts that seemed to happen in every episode. I would have liked a bit more of the main theme used too.


The A-Team will hit stores on Blu-ray Triple Play and DVD on November 29.


Like the TV series of the same name, the story follows the exploits of a group of unlikely friends who, after spending years as one of the military's most trusted Special Forces units, are sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit.

The team are forced to go underground to locate the true culprits and clear their names. Liam Neeson (Taken, Batman Begins), Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, Yes Man), UFC Champion Quintin "Rampage" Jackson, and Sharlto Copley (District 9) star as the characters we know and love.



The cast also features Jessica Biel (The Illusionist, Powder Blue) as Captain Clarissa Sosa and Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, The Switch) as the shadowy CIA operative, "Lynch".

The Blu-ray Triple Play is an extended, three-disc edition which includes a look at the special effects, an A-Team mash-up, gag reel, and an interactive behind-the-scenes featurette with director Joe Carnahan. Each pack also contains four limited edition character art cards, which by the looks of it you can use to swap the front cover of the packaging.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Fall Schedule TV Round-up: Supernatural/Dexter *spoilers*

Supernatural 6.1 – Exile On Main Street
 

We knew form the final dénouement of the last series that Sam had returned, somehow. At the beginning of this show, it’s weird because Dean is living his normal apple pie life without him. I expected some stuff to have happened off-screen as he's been away for a whole year. The writers play around with the return of Sam in a way that makes us wonder what we’re watching. Judging from previous shows, Dean could have been living his own fantasy whilst being strung out due to a Djinn’s poison. The return of Grandpa Campbell was also off-kilter, coupled with the revelation that the Winchester boys have cousins that are also Hunters. Old yella eyes returned too, but I think that was an illusion. What was a bit grating and contrived was the thing about Sam not telling Dean that he was alive, and that Bobby also knew. The audience shares Dean’s anger and frustration. The writer’s seem to advertise the fact that they had no idea on how to bring Sam and Dean back together and have winged it a bit. I can see the Writer's Committee now.
"How do we get Sam and Dean back to what they do best?"
"Erm....Let's not say"

Grandpa Campbell looks as if he could be the overall Big Bad this season.

I couldn’t help feeling a little like I did when presented by Babylon 5 Season 5; a bit “so what?” I hope I get proved wrong.

 

Dexter 5.1  - My Bad
 

This was hard going but in a good way. At the end of a terrific Season 4, we learn that Dexter’s wife Rita is dead. It was a dour end to a season full of wonderful moments, most of which involved John Lithgow. But the series isn’t just Dexter and a nemesis, this is a family show; in the sense of an ensemble cast. The entire cast got to shine in this episode.

Dexter feels that he is unable to emote over Rita’s death and appears to worry more about the fact his boat needs refuelling. Any audience member that has been watching from the beginning, and has paid attention, should realise that Dexter is in fact suffering from avoidance, and a kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is evident when he continues to wear the set of Disneyland Mickey Mouse ears (given to him by Cody and AStor) whilst informing Rita’s kids that she’s dead. All of that sequence is uncomfortable because of the way he handles it. Dexter let the children enjoy a last day in Disneyland , leaving the bad news until their return. He sees it as a part of his disconnect with his humanity. I see it that he’s just suffering from shock and was not thinking straight. At the end, this theory is paid off as Dexter finally loses it and takes it out on an unsuspecting redneck who just happens to p*ss Dexter off enough to warrant his killer instinct overtaking him.

Michael C Hall notches up an Emmy winning performance in this episode alone. For most of the episode he appears shell shocked and unable to function in his normal controlled way. When he finally vents his fury, it's almost as a reaction to an understanding that he did indeed truly love Rita with all his heart. 
Despite her leaving the series, Julie Benz gets to see her character off without just being left in a bathtub at the beginning during entertaining flashbacks. These flashbacks provide brief respite during this mostly funereal dirge of an episode. 
Once again, Jennifer Carpenter was at the top of her game. Her hyperactive character goes through the full range of emotions, almost somewhat understated at times. She goes from breaking down to making love to Quinn in a matter of moments. She plays the “strong” sister very well. 
Quinn may be taking on the role that Doakes had in the first and second seasons. I suspect, though, that the writers may twist this against our expectations. 
Both Lauren Vélez and David Zayas (fresh from Stallone's The Expendables) share some poignant screen time and C.S. Lee, as Masuka, gets the most uncomfortable line in the show;

“I’ve always imagined seeing Rita naked but not like this”

All of the above is sure sign that the writers still have a good handle on what makes this series great.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Blu-Ray Preview: Night of the Demons

COME ON IN...IT’S GOING TO BE ONE HELL OF A PARTY
“Loud, Brash, sexy and gory” Bloody Disgusting

Night of the Demons directed by Adam Geirasch (Autopsy) and starring Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie, Scary Movie), Edward Furlong (Terminator 2, American History X) and Monica Keena (Freddy Vs Jason) is a remake of the 1988 cult classic about a bunch of kids who go to a Halloween party and end up in a face off against a group of Demons. Diora Baird (The Wedding Crashers), John F Beach (The O.C), Michael Copon (One Tree Hill) and Bobbi Sue (Extreme Movie) also star.
   
 Synopsis: 

Maddie Curtis (Keena) and her friends Lily (Baird) and Suzanne (Luther) are ready for a great Halloween night. They’re going to a party thrown by their friend Angela (Elizabeth) at the notorious Broussard Mansion in New Orleans. Over eighty years ago, six people disappeared from the mansion without a trace – and the owner, Evangeline Broussard, hung herself.
Angela, Maddie, Lily, Jason (Beach), Dex (Copon), Colin (Furlong) and Suzanne are left alone in the mansion when police bust up the party. Their cell phones don’t work and the mansion gates are now mysteriously locked. The group soon discover that the Broussard Mansion is home to demons that need to possess seven vessels to break free of their ancient curse.
One by one they fall victim, transforming into hideous creatures. Only Maddie, Colin and Jason remain – but can they make it through the night and keep evil forces from spreading into the world?

 Get ready for the night of your life when Night of the Demons is released on DVD and Blu Ray on 11 October.

Review to be hosted on  Flash-Bang Action Movie Reviews nearer the release date.

RIP - Stephen J Cannell

By some sad coincidence, I happened to be watching the 2010 movie "The A-Team" and checking out the references to the 80s TV show that holds a nostalgic place in my heart as being a harmless, character-filled, action TV show. I completed watching it only to discover through Nathan Fillion's Facebook fanpage that Stephen had passed. He was 69. He passed away on Thursday at his home in California, Pasadena, after complications with Melanoma. I'm sad because his prolific career could have gone on for longer. He gave much to the industry and a lot of entertainment to us all in the 40 shows he either wrote or produced.
I recall watching The Rockford Files with my Dad when I was little. It was a light drama about a Private Investigator that was popular because of the characters in the show. To me, that's Stephen J Cannell's legacy, providing Television with such rich characters. Who could forget BA, Face, Murdock and Hannibal alone?Despite being famous for that show, he wrote and produced Wiseguy from 1987-90, which is cited as being the forerunner to The Sopranos. He wrote 16 novels and recently appeared on the show Castle.

I'l raise a glass to Mr Cannell tonight and mourn the loss of a great writer who battled through the years with Dyslexia.




Friday, 1 October 2010

Fall TV Round-Up: Smallville 10.01 - Lazarus *Spoilers*


When we last saw Clark Kent, aka Kal-El, aka The Blur, he managed to send the evil Zod and his cloned Kryptonians to a new inter-dimensional prison via the Book of Rao, whilst being mortally wounded by a super-power-sapping Blue Kryptonite dagger.

Ok....

So naturally we pick the story up seconds after this event. Does Clark finally put on the suit, you ask? Er...no.

Maybe it's just me but I thought that the writing of this episode was way better than most Smallville episodes.Maybe I was in a more receptive mood. The banter between Lois and Clark was less grating and twee with a genuine bit of "I know, but you don't know I know" farce when Clark needs to look for a file at super speed and Lois provides him with the time to perform the task while she's "not looking".

It's no secret that Allison Mack is leaving before the end of the season, which is a great shame. Whilst I find her character, of late, trying too hard to be ambiguous, the actress has put in some hard work throughout the last ten years. In this show we see a glimpse of just how she might exit the series but I'm betting that the Dr Fate thing is a red herring. Maybe she did a Colin Farrell, as Bullseye from Daredevil;

"I want a f*cking costume!"

We see more shadowy government types (presumably) smack Olly around. The Green Arrow hasn't got a superior healing factor so who knows how he survives the kickings he receives. But chicks dig the guy without his shirt on.

Tess Mercer is back, and through a deus ex machina in the form of a Luthercorp lab experimental gunge, has her face restored from the damage it received last season. Clearly on a network such as the CW you can't have a an attractive actress wandering around with half her face hidden. The archetypal Luther Lab is something out of Alien 4 with half finished Lex Luthor clones suffering in man sized tubes. Tess finds a child who purports to be "Alexandra" only to let out "The Bad One" as the child informs her. He's an older Lex and has a hatred for Mr Kent. So, rather than hunt him down in the City, goes off to the Smallville farm. Oooo-kay.

Lois is at the farm rifling through Clark's possessions; the naughty scamp. Here she comes across the costume that fan boys all over have given up hope of Tom Welling ever wearing before he reaches 40. But, shock-horror - it's the Superman Returns costume. The producers couldn't even spring for a new one! Hopefully it hasn't still got Brandon Routh's sweat stains on it.

The older Lex-Clone captures Lois and manages to spray paint her under sized T-Shirt (couldn't she get a T-Shirt that fit?) with a perfect S. It's a great job! I'd be at least shaking a little bit whilst trying to concentrate on the artwork instead of anything else.




He puts her on a cross similar to the one that Clark was put on in the pilot and sets the field alight.

Clark finds the Clone and they have a little chat where Clone berates Clark and says he's self-righteous. Coming from Lex that's gotta hurt. Clark narrowly resists the temptation to squeeze the life out of the clone before it gives Clark a choice of saving either Metropolis citizens from the Daily Planet globe (a bomb has been left on timer to blow sending the globe to the streets below) or Lois who is reliving one of Clark's high school humiliations. Whoooosh! Clark saves both in a not surprising scene, Clone keels over and passes on it's mortal coil handily.

Clark returns to the Fortress all pumped up and proud before Jor-El bursts his bubble and tells him that he isn't worthy. Tess is seen looking after the Lex child. Olly gets released. Lois buggers off to Africa afterall. The Super suit is all iced up in the Fortress. Clark has a touching visitation by John Scheider playing his Dad, Pa Kent again before we see a teaser of this season's Big Bad; Darkseid.

Entertaining if not typically vacuous.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Last Exorcism on Blu-Ray/DVD

I reviewed The Last Exorcism here - Flash-Bang - but the Blu-Ray/DVD will be released on 27th December 2010. Recommended. Details coming soon....

Siege of the Dead aka Rammbock

Label: Revolver Entertainment
Release date: 25th October 2010
Release type: DVD
Certificate: tbc
Running time: 59 mins
Genre: Horror
Director: Marvin Kren
Stars: Michael Fuith, Theo Trebs, Emily Cox, Steffen Münster                              

Lazy Blogger!

Was it really July that I last posted? Damn! Anyway, DVD advertising;

A tagline for a new DVD called, simply, The Tortured: “SO SURPRISING AND SHOCKING, THE LAST SCREAM YOU HEAR WILL PROBABLY BE YOUR OWN!”
I guess I should start learning to review films like this, so that I can end up on publicity stuff, but what does it actually mean? This is the UK. I've witnessed Americans screaming in cinemas, but it's normally because they dropped some popcorn from the very small tubs that they've got from the foyer. UK viewers will just mutter "That's gross" or wince a little. The line suggests that you're sitting alone and screaming which is even more bizarre. If I'm watching a movie on my own, which is fairly regular given that my other half does not enjoy some of what i watch, I have a little laugh at things, if I'm lucky I might jump but can't say that I'd scream.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Movie Of Preview: BTS of Book of Zombie

Check out a BTS clip at the link below;

The Book of Zombie Behind the Scenes Clip

Monday, 5 July 2010

Blu-Ray Releases could damage Cinema

To anyone that cares about movies, and has a Blu-Ray player, read the following article. It's frightening and is a warning shot across the bows of studios, like Fox. We're in danger of having Blu-Ray back catalogues of movies ruined by the clean up processes used for some titles. The newly released Predator Ultimate Version is proof of this. If you think that the image above is ok, then I believe you to be mentally deficient. If you think it's a travesty and reminds you of Madame Tussauds, then read this article;

Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition - the future of Blu-Ray?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

TRON Legacy Preview: Toys

Some seriously cool toys coming out to support the TRON Legacy movie!



Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Walking Dead Preview Pics

The above still is an official one from AMC, of Officer Rick Grimes. Head on over to Ain't It Cool News where they've got a scoop on candid shots taken from a fan, of the shooting. Some quality photography including this beauty below;


Check out the rest at Ain't It Cool News

Sunday, 13 June 2010

DVD Review: Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue

My review of this new release can be found at Flash-Bang. I'm disappointed with Optimum for not releasing this film on Blu-Ray. I reckon had the Cult Labs got hold of it they'd have done a better job. Still, the transfer is great so it's worth buying.

Living Dead Review

Movie Preview: Resident Evil: Afterlife 3-D


It's in 3-D, do you get it? Do you understand? I think the producers are doing their best to make you understand. The pic is an exclusive over at IGN. The poster reminds me of a famous sci-fi trilogy....


Here's a synopsis:
In a world ravaged by a virus infection, turning its victims into the Undead, Alice continues on her journey to find survivors and lead them to safety. Her deadly battle with the Umbrella Corporation reaches new heights, but Alice gets some unexpected help from an old friend. A new lead that promises a safe haven from the Undead leads them to Los Angeles, but when they arrive the city is overrun by thousands of Undead and Alice and her comrades are about to step into a deadly trap.

Remember this?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Movie Preview: Teaser Trailer for Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins

 From the Director of Audition, Ichi the Killer, and Gozu. Light up those cows and watch this;


Friday, 11 June 2010

The Walking Dead TV Show - Zombie School


http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1119352258?bctid=91037547001

Internet Movie News

There are so many movie news websites it's untrue, and those are just the "official" ones, not the news blogs. Every so often, I get riled by a bit of news and occasionally post about it in here, like my reaction to news about the Crow. (not THE Crow, by Alex Proyas). So, I have listed a few recent news nuggets that confound me or just plain irritate, or that I think is worth mentioning;

Rosamund Pike - as Emma Frost in the upcoming X-Men: First Class. Great bit of casting if it comes off. She showed her attitude in Die Another Day and has the looks.

Jamie Bell as Spider-Man. Well, Peter Parker. Great choice! If it comes off I'd support this. He's got far more depth and range than some of the muppets put forward so far.

Mr T says that the new A-Team is too violent. I say "Get some Nuts, you crazy Foo!!!"

Indy 5 will be about the Bermuda Triangle. Good grief! Let Harrison retire gracefully!

Fox naming Die Hard 5 - Die Hard 24/7. Jeeez! If Fox still own the 24 TV series property then that's as dumb as interfering with the Wolverine movie! 24 the movie will not have the same impact.

Kim Kardashian as Lara Croft - in the old days, they used to get busty models to represent Lara Croft on Tomb Raider release dates. Nell McAndrew and Rhona Mitra have both lent their services to the role. However, it was Angelina Jolie that initially  played her in two movies. Ok, so they pumped her chest up for the first film but they had the good sense to let her play the part normally in the sequel. Whilst the role doesn't need a powerful actress in the role, it needs more than a big set of puppies. KK is not the way forward.
I'm not sure how tall she is but I'd go for Kat Dennings. Actually, i'd go for Kat Dennings in anything. Why isn't she in any films I like?

Cinema Film Review: [REC]2


The sequel to a genuinely chilling movie made it's way into a select number of UK cinemas recently. Here's my review: [REC]2

DVD Review: 20th Century Boys-The Complete Saga

If you're a fan of live action manga, or jusy a fan of graphic novels in general, this saga is well worth a watch;

Blu-Ray Review: A Prophet

Jacques Audiard's superb prison drama that must be seen. Read my review;

Blu-Ray Review: The Dam Busters


A classic movie restored in a new glorious print. My review is available over at Flash-Bang Movie Reviews;


TV Series Preview: The Walking Dead

Needless to say, I'm following this production every step of the way, and Ain't It Cool News are doing their best to help me. Forget what I said about the make-up in a previous post, look at this;
KNB are showing their commitment to this project with award winning make-up effects. Ok, so the hands seem a little under-rotten, and I'm still not sold on the contact lenses but this is awesome work!

Thanks again, to AICN. The original article is here; http://www.aintitcoolnews.com/node/45429

Anyone familiar with Issue No 1 of the comic book might recognise this zombie. I think it's the first zed that Officer Rick Grimes comes across, on the roadside, as he exits the hospital. This means that the TV production might be keeping some key elements of the first issue. This is a good thing.


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

COMING SOON: Big Tits Zombie (Press Release)

TERRACOTTA DISTRIBUTION ACQUIRES ‘BIG TITS ZOMBIE’ FOR UK
Terracotta Distribution announced, exclusively via Twitchfilm.net, that they acquired Takao Nakano’s Japanese zombie action BIG TITS ZOMBIE 3D (a.k.a. ‘Strippers5 vs Zombies’) for distribution in the UK.
The film stars Japanese adult video superstars Sora Aoi and Risa Kasumi in a story of five bored strippers who unwittingly unleash the army of the undead, and then have to save the world with their kick- ass fighting skills.
Release of this film is planned for October this year in the UK with some key cinemas showing the 3D version and then the 3D and 2D version will be available on DVD shortly after. The 3D technology used is the traditional anaglyph (red and green glasses method) which will mean that on the theatrical side the release is not restricted by availability of 3D projectors, and no 3D TV is necessary for home viewing.
Terracotta founder Joey Leung commented: “We are delighted to be handling this title. There is a naturally large audience for zombie films in the UK; in this case, zombies plus fighting strippers makes a wonderful pair.”
This will be the fifth title from the Terracotta label, having released diverse titles from Korean fantasy horror HANSEL AND GRETEL to Taiwanese drama GOD MAN DOG.
For further information:
www.TerracottaDistribution.com
Joey@TerracottaDistribution.com

I'm not sure of the (tit)le myself but it looks fun. It couldn't be worse than Zombie Strippers or Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Movie News: The Crow Reboot/Rehash/F**k up* delete as appropriate

It's a downer for movie news today. Alex Proyas filmed a beautiful movie called The Crow based upon a dark, graphical novel. It was a bittersweet affair as it took a rising star from us, in the form of Brandon Lee. With Graeme Revell's score and a superb supporting cast, The Crow was one of my favourite movies of the early 90s. It spawned a run of awful sequels that took the Crow concept of revenge and shoved it down the toilet basin. It also spawned a terrible TV series that wasn't far off Michael Landon's angel TV series "Highway to Heaven"

Sadly, the run of rubbish remakes is not over and The Crow is about to have it's memory shat upon once more with a remake/reboot whatever...

Read the news here;

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/45324

TV series preview: The Walking Dead

To say that I'm excited about a TV series based upon Robert Kirkman's excellent comic book "The Walking Dead" would understate how I feel. But looking at the initial make-up effects pictures from the show, I'm slightly deflated. You can see the images here;

Walking Dead Zombie pics

I really don't want to be down on the series before anything has been properly shown, but what is it with the red eyes of the zombies? It reminds me too much of the 28 "insert" Franchise that I have no problem with, but stylistically, I wonder why KNB/Frank Darabont have gone down this route for the zombie look. A more realistic milky effect on the eye would have been more unsettling, like the 1990 Night of the Living Dead, where Savini wanted more realistic zombies based on actual corpse photos. These stills look too virus based for me. Kirkman's book has made the point of not even hinting at what actually caused the zombie epidemic.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Blu-Ray Review: City of the Living Dead

A classic Lucio Fulci horror movie gets a superb treatment by Arrow Video on this Blu-Ray disc. Fans of unusual horror movies should check this out. Fans should just go out and buy it!

City of the Living Dead Blu-Ray Review

DVD Review: The Graves

There has been quite a lot of activity at Flash-Bang, of late.


I hate to be so critically damning of a movie but The Graves is truly bad in every sense and gives low budget horror movies a stink that some don't deserve.

The Graves DVD review

Movie Preview: The Last Exorcist

This is either going to be very scary or just plain silly. See what you think by watching the trailer below. Thanks to AICN for posting it.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Mad Max 4: Fury Road News



The 20 year old actor Nicholas Hoult (Clash of the Titans, Skins) was on GMTV this morning, talking about a recent trip to the slums of Nairobi, on behalf of Christian Aid. During the interview, his role as Nux in Mad Max 4 was mentioned. Sadly, apart from confirming that Chalize Theron is in it, he had no more to say. Presumably, it's all still Top Secret.
So this isn't news as such, but does confirm that pre-production is in full swing and that principal photography is due soon.


Saturday, 1 May 2010

DVD News: Mutants

EXTINCTION IS JUST A HEARTBEAT AWAY

The debut feature from French writer and director David Morlet, Mutants is a gripping movie that takes the traditional Zombie genre milieu (Morlet took his inspiration from "28 Weeks Later" and the films of David Cronenberg) and introduces some interesting themes, twists and turns to make it a stand-out among the Zombie crowd.
In a world devastated by a pandemic virus that turns human beings into primitive and bloodthirsty creatures, the last hope for survivors is the military station 'Noah' where scientists are researching the cure.
Marco (Francis Renaud) and Sonia (Hélène De Fougerolles) set off to find the secret base to escape from the 'mutants'. When they are attacked Marco becomes contaminated and little by little begins to undergo the same changes as the other creatures. Sonia, pregnant with her first child, must somehow fight off the hordes and force herself to fight the man she once loved.
Marking David Morlet as a director to watch, Mutants is an extraordinary debut that features stunning film sets, top-notch special effects and make-up, and stand-out performances from the lead actors. Mutants begins with a bang and builds to a fantastic climax that will leave viewers wanting more!

Mutants (cert. 18) will be released on DVD (£15.99) by Momentum Pictures on 10th May 2010.