Monday, 6 August 2012

Movie Preview: Sinister

SINISTER is the terrifying new horror from the producer of INSIDIOUS and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and the writer-director of THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE.
Struggling true crime novelist, Ellison (ETHAN HAWKE), becomes too close to his latest gruesome story when he discovers a box of mysterious and brutal home movies in his attic.

Find out more at the movie's Facebook page:

Sinister will scare audiences in the UK, from October 5th

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Movie Preview: The Wolverine - Casting

Jessica Biel has been cast as the villainous Viper in the 2013 release The Wolverine. A stand alone film, it tells the story of Logan's time in Japan. The story is allegedly based upon Frank Miller's excellent, ground-breaking story. Now, whilst Jessica Biel is popular and attractive, I've never found her to be exciting on screen. She comes across as bland and uninteresting in the roles I've seen her. She sucked the life out of The A-Team, which was overall an entertaining movie. Who would I have cast? Well, my credibility will probably go out of the window but Megan Fox springs to mind. She showed the qualities needed for Viper in the horror movie Jennifer's Body. Check out the image below. Megan can easily play vampish, which is what Viper is all about.

Casting Jessica Biel in this is typically unimaginative and sterile, after the news of Lee, Tee and Sanada being cast earlier in the wekk. See the DH story for details:

DVD Reviews: House of the Devil/Cabin Fever 2

Not so much reviews as comments, to be honest.

House of the Devil/Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever – A Ti West Too Much?
Whilst the movie was far from perfect, I enjoyed Ti West’s movie “The Roost”. It was a different take on the zombie drama at a time when low budget living dead movies were being churned out as quickly as Katie Price churns out publicity grabbing anecdotes.
House of the Devil appears to be garnering high praise for its ability to emulate 80s style horror movies and I have to ask why? Nothing much happens in the movie. Yes, stylistically, it has a great retro feel to it, but that’s no good if the plot is paper thin and the pacing laborious. Some of the build up is interesting but my patience wore thin after an hour. The conversation between Tom Noonan’s Mr Ulman and Jocelyn Donahue’s Samantha is stilted and unbelievable, when it should be far more tense. After the film ended I felt like I had watched 90 minutes of a girl wandering around a house. There are admirable attempts at referencing Hitchcock and Argento. The tension that is created by the question of wether or not the woman is actually in the house as Samantha wanders around is quite palpable and then ruined by the truly awful, badly thought out scene with the Walkman.
If House of the Devil failed to meet my expectations, Cabin Fever 2 was something else entirely. I liked Eli Roth’s original Cabin Fever. It didn’t know quite what film it was (serious gross out movie or horror comedy) but I liked the humour and the grisly nature of the gore. The sequel is horrendous.
Ti West has gone on record to say that he wanted to distance himself from the movie and blames other people for it. Well guess what? There is nothing redeeming about this piece of crap. I was suckered at the beginning by the return of Rider Strong and some genuinely cool camera angles, and then it all went to shit. I doubt that this was just caused by interventions and studio tampering.
The “story” follows the first film where water has been contaminated by the flesh-eating virus and shipped out in bottles. A nearby school is getting ready for prom night and the kids begin to feel the effects of the virus. There are attempts at a horror version of American Pie-style humour but it never works. If you get kicks out of watching a guy’s penis emitting pus and a stripper revealing pus marked breasts, then this is for you.
The side story with the first film’s Deputy Sheriff seems out of place, as if it belonged to outtakes from Cabin Fever 1.
The Director of these two movies, as bi-polar as they are, has a great horror movie to come, I hope. The Roost and elements of House of the Devil point in that direction. For horror gross-out comedy, look to the movie Wrong Turn 2: That film delivers.

The Evil Dead are coming....

The Walking Dead Season 3 Preview

 I just love Comic-Con. Sure, it's frustrating not to be there, but cool stuff always comes from the event, and this is no exception; 4 minutes of footage! After reeling from a genuinely shocking Issue 100 of the comic book, I wasn't expecting to see a decent TWD trailer for a while but here it is. I won't break it down, just watch it.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Blu-Ray review: The Reptile

Directed By John Gilling
Starring: Noel Willman, Jennifer Daniel, Ray Barrett, Jacqueline Pearce

A deadly epidemic is spreading through the remote Cornish village of Clagmoor Heath. As darkness falls its victims arefound foaming at the mouth with savage wounds upon their necks. After his brother becomes another fatality, HarrySpalding travels to Clagmoor to investigate his sibling’s mysterious death. With little help from the superstitious locals,Harry follows a trail of macabre intrigue that leads him to the sinister Dr Franklyn, his strange but beautiful daughterand a truly horrific family secret. Released in 1966, The Reptile is Hammer Horror at its most nightmarish and bizarre.

The Reptile is an underrated classic and it's easy to see why. It used the same sets as Plague of the Zombies (a practice not unique to this movie) and the budget was smaller than most Hammer movies. If you can get over that, there's still much to enjoy.

The movie jumps straight into the action as we witness an unfortunate victim of the title creature. The strange blackened, blistering make-up is still effectively creepy even by today's standards, especially if you have the benefit of a less cynical imagination. With the foaming at the mouth, the scene is quite memorable.

Once again, the Hammer production team looked for and got a cast full of memorable actors to bring the story to life. From the Christopher Lloyd-esque performance of John Laurie (Private Frazer in Dad's Army) to Michael Ripper's return from Plague of the Zombies, as a different character.

There's no gore in this film and neither is there the typical Hammer scream queen with heaving breasts, to distract us from the movie's shortcomings. I think this is why people do notice the issues with the Reptile make-up. Also, the story requires us to fill in some of the blanks, as we're not told everything. This adds interest, in my view. the whole sory is a type of “werewolf in the family” movie. Noel Willman plays Dr Franklin as if he is self-loathing in covering up what his "daughter" has been up to. Jacqueline Pearce shows some of the character that will come out more during her time as Servalan in Blakes 7. she plays the part of Anna with a tinge of pathos and sympathy so that when it is finally revealed that she is the reptile of the title, we see a pathetic creature even though it's nature is to kill. During the climax, Pearce gets a bit of humanity out as she complains of the cold.

The dinner party is the pivotal scene as we get to see Franklin and Anna through the eyes of Valerie and Harry Spalding. Here, Franklin loses his temper with Anna in what looks like a very unreasonable way. Anna betrays her closeness to the time she spent in India through her furious playing of the Sitar. Marne Maitland is superb as the Malay manservance. His performance suggests that he is much more than a manservant. His hold over the fmaily becomes more evident as the film progresses. He is an odd antoganist but I do wonder if he is the antagonist. Similary to way in which Plague of the Zombies appears to criticise the fauz Aristocracy riding around, capturing women for their own pleasure.
The Reptile appears to criticise England 's involvement in India and it's attitude towards local religions. At the very least it makes observations.So is the Malay manservant a bad guy or is he just enacting revenge for Franklin ’s part in England ’s colonisation and his part for going up against an established cult? It doesn't matter as you can read what you want into it which is the strength of the screenplay. In some ways, the Indian influence on Franklin is reminiscent of the Sherlock Holmes story A Sign of Four.

The art department tended to suck up the budget in Hammer movies and this is no exception. We can look back and see that they had a very important part to play in the success of the movies. The Reptile, despite its low budget, shows this in it’s detailed and believable sets.

Like Plague of Zombies, the restoration is superb and well worth spending out on, if you're a fan or discovering this for the first time.

Score: 7/10

The Reptile is out now

REC3 Coming Soon

[REC] Genesis
On DVD & Blu-Ray 03 Sep 2012

Directed by Paco Plaza (REC 1 and 2; Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt) and starring Letitia Dolera (Man Push Cart; The Other Side Of The Bed), Diego Martin (I Want You), Claire Baschet (Delicacy) and Ismael Martinez (Carmen; Talk To Her).

As the families and friends of Koldo and Clara gather outside the church in the bright Spanish sunshine just prior to the happy couple’s wedding, it seems that nothing could possibly cast a shadow on such a beautiful and joyous occasion. But when some of the guests start behaving oddly during the reception, it becomes apparent that all is not well. In no time at all, the party descends into a hellish scene of utter carnage as partygoers begin feeding on each other with a crazed bloodlust. Amidst the ensuing chaos, Koldo and Clara become separated as those still in control of their human minds and bodies seek whatever refuge they can find. Although apart, the newlyweds know deep in their hearts that each is still alive and set out on a desperate search for each other not fully realising that what should have been the happiest day of their lives could prove to be their last.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Blu-Ray Review: Plague of the Zombies

Directed By: John Gilling
Starring: Andre Morell, Diane Clare, Brook Williams, Jacqueline Pearce
Within a remote eighteenth century Cornish village, an evil presence lurks within the darkness of the witching hour, a mysterious plague relentlessly taking lives at an unstoppable rate. Unable to find the cause, Dr Peter Thompson enlists the help of Professor James Forbes. Desperate to find an antidote what they find instead are empty coffins with the diseased corpses missing. Following a series of strange and frightening clues, Thompson and Forbes are lead to a deserted mine where they discover a world of black magic and a doomed legion of flesh eating slaves, the walking dead.


Part of a four picture deal with Hammer's new distributors back in 1965. The film initially supported Dracula Prince of Darkness in a Double Bill feature. Ironically, it's one of the most interesting Hammer film, along with my personal favourite: Twins of Evil.

The idea of Haiti rites transplanted to a Cornish village doesn't bear a lot of scrutiny, but it's innovative nonetheless and influenced a number of movies. The look of the zombies gave way to movies like The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue and the gag when the recently revived Alison is decapitated by a shovel had to have influenced Sam Raimi when making The Evil Dead. Fulci clearly referenced Plague at the end of City of the Living Dead, with zombies being set on fire. The contacts that the zombies wore could have influenced the look of the zombies in Shaun of the Dead. So, whilst the zombies in this feature aren't cannibals, there's plenty to interest the zombie film fan.

Typically, the producers looked to provide a decent and memorable cast. Andre Morell gives a sterling performance as the Holmes inspired Professor James Forbes and can be recognised as a sort of H.G. Wells inspired character, too, perhaps even a nod to Quatermass. Morrell has a presence and charisma that is easy to like.
Diane Clare who plays his daughter Sylvia is fairly typical of the blonde woman in peril but has enough to do to avoid being a full stereotype. Brook Williams, who played Doctor Peter Thompson was unfortunately not given much to work with. As discussed in the interviews, playing the good guy isn't always easy because there's less to do. Williams did a good job of providing the movie with an everyman character that we can relate to but the character isn't the most interesting of the lot.Sadly, Jacqueline Pearce, who played his onscreen wife, felt the need to point out this defiency in the accompanied featurerette. With all the potential to talk about in the featurette, I was disappointed that Pearce chose to berate a fellow actor. It's possible that she was led to this point by the interviewer and the editing of the piece helps focus on it. With no question or interviewer to reference the anaecdote, it's difficult to judge. Thankfully, the rest of the cast chose to talk mainly about the positive experiences during the shoot. Pearce, herself was fine in the role of Thompson's wife, Alice, who comes to a grisly end in the most memorable scene in the movie.

As ever, the story is widely important to the enjoyment of the movie. The film is a bit vague as to what made Hamilton bring back Voodoo rites to the village to gain cheap labour but it doesn't really matter what his intentions are; the story is concerned with that fact that he's doing it and doesn't care who he kills to maintain it. It falls to Forbes to stop him. Whilst it would be a full three years until George Romero's hard hitting game changer hit the cinemas, Plague still has it's moments of darkness. The scene where Sylvia is beset upon by the thugs in red jackets is tinged with a cruel implication as to what fate could have befallen the young woman. She is "saved" by Hamilton and given the nature of what he does later we can only assume he saved her, either out of a misplaced sense of honor or because he needed her for his workforce.
Two stand out scenes are that of the dream sequence and Alice 's second death. The dream sequence is a zombie film lover's delight as outstretched hands burst forth from soil graves to shuffle on to murder Peter Thompson. Despite an make-up error during the scene, Alice 's resurrection is creepy enough on it's own, but Forbes finds a spade to use to lop off the undead Alice 's head. The camera lingers on the convincing severed head, and my memories of  The Evil Dead meant that I expected to see the eyes move in the decapitated head's sockets.
Later scenes with the zombies in the mine are also effective. The only downside is that the zombie that scares Sylvia, earlier in the movie, when it throws Alice 's corpse at her, whilst issuing a cackle through it's undead lips, is easily the creepiest zombie of the lot.

Benard's score gives Plague its no-nonsense attitude. The voodoo drums would be borrowed by Fabio Frizzi for Fulci's Zombie Flesheaters, over dubbing wailing on to the music giving it a further creepy atmosphere.Typically, for that era, the score borders on the avant-garde but Benard keeps the score accessible and not too abstract.

This Blu-ray presentation is fantastic. You can see how good the work has been from the restoration comparison featurette on the disc.  Extras also includeWorld of Hammer episode “Mummies, Werewolves And The Living Dead” / Brand new featurette: ‘Raising The Dead’ / Restoration comparison / Restored trailer

The restoration makes the movie look as if it had been released yesterday. Hopefully, more Hammer movies will receive this treatment in future and I know a couple are in the pipeline for restoring. This British Institution certainly deserves the effort.

Score: 9/10

Plague of the Zombies was released on 18th June 2012. Grab one!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

DVD Review: You Only Live Once

Directed By: Fritz Lang
Starring: Henry Fonda, Sylvia Sidney, Barton MacLane
Henry Fonda stars as ex-con, Eddie Taylor, who attempts to settle down with Joan, played by Sylvia Sidney, after a life of petty crime. The attempt fails as he’s accused of taking part in a brutal bank robbery. Sentenced to death, he goes on the run with his pregnant girlfriend.
This second American film from Fritz Lang is definitely one of his best, despite being one of his lesser known movies. The movie begins light in tone and grows ever more increasingly dark as the running time progresses. It paved the way for noir filmmaking and is seen as the original “Lovers on the Run” movie. It is said to be based upon Bonnie and Clyde , who were gunned down a few years previously, but the world in which Eddie and Sylvia inhabit is a lot less savoury. 75 years later, the movie is still unsettling and deliciously ambiguous.  
What’s most interesting about the movie is that it isn’t judgemental; it shows us enough about Eddie for us to form an opinion as to whether or not he deserves the lot that has been given to him. On the surface, the movie could be about a man hard done by in society. On the other hand, Eddie is culpable. He’s not a bad person but isn’t given an opportunity to rehabilitate. The world in which the characters inhabit do not reward failure and doesn’t forgive and forget. Everyone in Lang’s movie seems to have a criminal flaw, where greed is much of a motivation.
Although not entirely convincing, Fonda is still very good as a young man cast aside by society and mistreated on the assumption that he’s an overall bad person. The acting keeps the movie from spilling over into full melodrama, like Lang’s previous movie “Fury”. Sylvia Sidney is excellent as the person who provides the light in Eddie’s life and potentially the reason for him to attempt to avoid being sucked into a life of crime. The irony is that he’s pulled into it anyway, through decisions by himself and others. Thirty years before Fonda would be criticised for playing an out and out killer in Sergio Leone's sublime elegiac Once Upon a Time in the West, here he is playing a morally ambiguous character.
This movie has been deserving of a full restoration for years and finally we have it here.
It is a bleak story made all the more interesting by the acting and Lang’s choices of camera angles, which at times are unusual but showcase the director’s flair. The film benefits in a number of scenes, from following the silent era. Some of the best shots are those where communication is implied through looks instead of potentially inadequate dialogue. There are many striking and iconic images to enjoy in the movie, the style of which influenced a number of movies subsequently. If you want to watch a master at work, pick up this latest release of You Only Live Once in all its restored glory at all good stockists now.

Score: 8/10

Hong Kong 15 Film Festival

Hong Kong 15 Film Festival’ announces its much anticipated programme to mark the 15th Anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty

1st July marks fifteen years since Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty. To commemorate this special occasion, the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office, London, in association with Terracotta Festival, has put together an exciting film festival to showcase the best of current Hong Kong films as well as to look back on the last fifteen years and beyond.

The ‘Hong Kong 15 Film Festival’ will take place at the Odeon Covent Garden, London, commencing 2nd July 2012 for a fortnight until 14th July. With guests in attendance and fifteen films carefully selected, the festival will pay tribute to the extraordinary story of this vibrant and energetic island city through the eyes of its film-makers.

The diversity of Hong Kong cinema will be represented through a panorama of films divided in three sections: ‘Currents’, ‘15 Years Review’ and ‘Shaw Brothers Classics’.

The Festival will open with multi-award-winning drama, A Simple Life by acclaimed director Ann Hui, starring Hong Kong star Andy Lau and a comeback performance from the highly decorated Deanie Ip who won the Best Actress at the 68th Venice International Film Festival. The event will be attended by Roger Lee, the producer and writer whose life story the film is based on.

Other highlights of the ‘Currents’ section include Life Without Principle by prolific filmmaker Johnnie To and The Bounty by Fung Chi Chiang.

Made in Hong Kong, directed by Fruit Chan, is a groundbreaking film which found great local and international acclaim for its release 15 years ago. It remains an uncommon Hong Kong example of a true independent film and will open the ‘15 Year Review’section to lead the way for other highly influential contemporary Hong Kong directors such as Pang Ho Cheung, Andrew Lau and Alan Mak.

‘Hong Kong 15 Film Festival’ wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the legendary Shaw Brothers Studios and, as an homage to the most significant film production company in the history of Hong Kong Cinema, festival goers will be able to indulge in two martial arts masterpieces on the big screen: 1967 blockbuster One Armed Swordsman and one of the greatest Kung Fu film, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978).

Talent attending the event will travel courtesy of Sponsor-in-Kind, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong's flagship carrier.
Other cultural tributes for the occasion will take place such as the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival on Sunday 1st July in London and the screening of Big Blue Lake at the Cornerhouse, Manchester on Friday 6th July.

Visit the festival website for regular Festival updates, tickets, times

‘Hong Kong 15 Film Festival’ full programme:

-         CURRENTS:
A Simple Life - by Ann Hui, 2011
Big Blue Lake - by Jessey Tsang Tsui-Shan, 2011
White Vengeance - by Daniel Lee, 2011
Life Without Principle - by Johnnie To, 2011
The Bounty - by Fung Chi Chiang, 2012
The Detective 2 - by Oxide Pang, 2011
East Meets West 2011 by Jeffrey Lau, 2011
Wu Xia - by Peter Chan, 2011

-         15 YEARS: A REVIEW
Made In Hong Kong- by Fruit Chan, 1997
When Beckham Met Owen - by Adam Wong, 2004
Infernal Affairs - by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, 2002
Sparrow - by Johnnie To, 2008
Dream Home - by Pang Ho-cheung, 2010

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin - by Liu Chia-Liang, 1978
One Armed Swordsman - by Chang Cheh, 1967

Updated 22/06/12:

2nd – 14th July
Odeon Covent Garden


Terracotta are pleased to be co-organising the ‘Hong Kong 15 Film Festival’ with the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office, London.
The festival is organised to mark the 15 year anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty through celebrating Hong Kong films and film-makers in this existing festival.
It is a must-attend event for fans of world cinema, Hong Kong films, Far East films and mainstream audiences looking for a recommendation on what’s hot from Hong Kong right now.
There’s plenty to choose from, with films grouped into three sections: Currents (new films), 15 Years Review (a look back on some significant films since the handover), Shaw Brothers Classics (a rare double-bill treat of the martial arts films that sparked international interest in Hong Kong cinema).
It’s not just a chance to watch films that are rarely shown in UK cinemas, it’s a chance to meet actors and directors too.
*** Stay tuned for our announcement on which actors and directors will be attending the festival – we have a mixture of fresh talent and old legends to tell you about***
‘Hong Kong 15 Film Festival’ will take place at Odeon Covent Garden, 135 Shaftesbury Avenue, from 2nd -14th July 2012.

Tickets are on sale now!
Prices: £9 (£8 concessions NUS, OAP)

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Blu-Ray Review: Catch.44

Directed By: Aaron Harvey

Starring: Malin Akerman, Reila Aphrodite, Kevin Beard

When three sassy sisters-in-crime, Tes (Akerman), Kara (Reed) and Dawn (Woll), are sent by sleazy drug kingpin Mel (Willis) to rural Louisiana to intercept a lucrative dope deal, it looks like a walk in the park for the girls. But when the near-deserted roadside cafĂ© erupts into an orgy of deadly gunfire before the deal goes down it becomes apparent to all present that things aren’t quite what they seem. Whether the bloody carnage is the result of a tragic misunderstanding or something more sinister remains to be seen. Meanwhile, there’s a psychotic killer (Whitaker) on the road and there are no prizes for guessing where his journey will eventually end.

 Ok, who's idea was it to put in the worst meta reference in movie history?

I had a fair amount of faith in this movie before I put the disc in the player’s drawer. Then the character name cards came up and I groaned. Even then, I kept an open mind as I’ve seen some decent movies that have used this tired technique. Sadly, my open-minded attitude was not rewarded. 

The problem with movies based upon another filmmaker’s style is that they tend to be only a shallow representation of that artist’s work. That is so true for Catch 44. The influence of Tarantino is so overt that it’s used in the marketing campaign as a positive thing. The editing (on the whole) and the cinematography are sound but the rest is gimmicky and annoying. For example, the playing around with the timeline is more irritating than interesting. We don’t need to see the same clip three times over. This isn’t a Brannon Braga time travel episode of Star Trek. There’s an attempt to embellish the paper thin plot with the Tarantino inspired flourishes and it’s not enough.

Tension in the movie was non-existent thanks to the early reveal as to who would most probably survive. When characters are killed, we care very little about it because of a lack of depth to them.
What really lets this film down is the dialogue. Clearly trying to emulate the female dynamic in Death Proof, this movie fails to deliver an iota of the quality of dialogue from that film; it’s forced and the cussing doesn’t sound right at times. It just seems to be there for an effect that doesn’t work. 

I liked the soundtrack and the acting. Although seemingly acting in a different film to the one I was watching, Forest Whitaker was a joy to watch. His performance purposefully erratic, was entertaining and he put everything into it. It was clear that the filmmakers attempted to capture an element of No Country For Old Men and transplant it into the movie, with a travelling hitman that has a weird way of going about his business. 

 No Country for excellent genre actors

 If, like me, you’re used to seeing Bruce Willis in his tough guy roles then this movie will surprise as he gives a somewhat creepy performance in Catch 44, up until the end that is. Willis goes from eccentric sleazoid to cool and calculating crime boss easily.

 Stop staring at my chin!
The girls all do what they can with the material given. There’s little in the way of character development, except that we get a modest bit of background to Malin Akerman’s role, so much so you could be forgiven that this was a vehicle entirely devoted to upping her profile. Deborah Ann Woll, so good in True Blood, doesn’t get a chance to sink her fangs, I mean teeth, into her role. For an actress of her caliber, she’s just coasting in this.

 Yes, I'm the girl from True Blood
I did enjoy the flashback scene in the strip club when Akerman is hired by Willis. The dialogue works and the acting is very natural. Akerman does a great job of switching between seductive in this scene, to being basically what we’d call in the UK a “geezer bird”. Michael Rosenbaum is brilliant as the rich-kid wanting to make an indecent proposition.

 Are you staring at my boobs?
Brad Dourif appears almost as if he was an afterthought in a pick-up shoot. I came away thinking that it was another conceit of an attempt in creating a Tarantino clone, as the director is famous for bringing back stars that had previous success and public awareness, and had seemingly disappeared from mainstream cinema. 

 There was a spider in my trousers, ok?
I do wonder why on earth Whitaker and Willis got involved in this. From Moonlighting and the Die Hard films to a cameo in this? Odd, very odd. 
The soundtrack, using artists such as The Kills and The Ravenottes is top drawer and genuinely helps the visuals in a couple of scenes, especially the beginning credits. 

This is a poor man’s imitation of a Quentin Tarantino movie if the poor man was living in a New York gutter with only a newspaper as shelter. You might enjoy this, it just depends how fussy you are with what you watch. Yes, I’m stating the obvious ;o) Go to Flash-Bang Movie reviews for a very different take on the movie from MikeOutWest. If we agreed on everything, life would be very tedious.

Score: 4/10

Catch .44 can be bought from May 28th 2012 from all good retailers and probably some bad ones too.

Thursday, 24 May 2012


To celebrate 28th May UK DVD release of War of the Dead (Momentum Pictures) we are offering one winner the chance to win an extremely limited edition money can't buy exclusively designed t-shirt and a copy of War of the Dead on DVD. Two runner-ups will also win a limited edition War of the Dead t-shirt.

“Dogs Soldiers” meets “Dead Snow” in this action-packed shock-fest in which a small group of Allied soldiers comes up against a horde of Nazi zombies. Established documentary director Mark Makilasko’s debut feature is a stylish, fast-paced, hard-hitting war/horror movie hybrid that will appeal to fans of both genres.

Stars Andrew Tiernan (300; The Pianist), Samuel Vauramo (The American), Mark Wingett (Snow White and The Huntsman; The Bill; Eastenders) and Jouko Ahola (Kingdom Of Heaven).
War of the Dead (Momentum Pictures) is available to download and on DVD from 28th May 2012. 

It's great fun and my review will be up at Flash-Bang in the near future.

If you want to win, email your name and address to

The first three to email will win.

Good luck!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Competition: The Divide

To celebrate 14th May UK DVD release of The Divide (Momentum Pictures) we are offering one winner the chance to win an extremely limited edition, money can't buy, exclusively designed, t-shirt and a copy of The Divide on DVD. 

One runner-up will also win a limited edition The Divide t-shirt.

Strongly tipped as a filmmaker to watch on the strength of his astonishing debut feature “Frontier(s)” and hard-hitting follow up “Hitman”, director Xavier Gens fulfils all expectations with his latest offering, The Divide, an intense, post-apocalyptic shocker.
Starring Michael Biehn (The Abyss; Aliens; The Terminator), Lauren German (Hawaii Five-O; Hostel: Part II), Rosanna Arquette (Pulp Fiction), Milo Ventimiglia (Wolverine; Heroes), Courtney B. Vance (Final Destination 5; FlashForward) and Ashton Holmes (Nikita; The Pacific). The Divide is terrifying from it's opening sequence to its breathtaking and totally unexpected finale, it grips like a vice throughout and sees the ever-excellent Biehn delivering one of the most riveting performances of his career.

I reviewed it here and gave it 10/10 as one of my movies of the year so far -

All you have to do is email me at before 19th May 2012. Simple! Good luck!

The Divide (Momentum Pictures) is available to download and on DVD from 14th May 2012.
Check out The Divide Fanhub site - 

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Movie Preview: The Divide

Ok, hands up if you thought Michael Biehn should have a much bigger career? It's not that he's been out of work, (he's appeared in 86 productions, after all) but I just thought of him as a bigger actor than he has become. Like most genre fans, I first saw him in an unforgettable performance in The Terminator. He was totally believable as the love struck time warrior, Kyle Reese. His delivery of the lines below, alone were energetic and spot on. He could have overracted this part but he kept it on track.

"Listen and understand. That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are dead."

I next saw Biehn in the James Cameron action blockbuster Aliens. Here he played the sympathetic Colonial Marine, Dwayne Hicks. Once again, Biehn's gritty charisma showed on screen and he was a likeable character.

Biehn was hired by James Cameron once again, in the underwater drama The Abyss, with Biehn playing against recent type and playing Lt Hiram Coffey. Whilst Coffey wasn't a bad guy in the traditional sense, he wasn't the hero that we'd see Bien play in Terminator and Aliens. Both Navy Seals and K2 should have been bigger films than they were. Navy Seals had promise but the overall delivery left a lot to be desired, whereas K2 was a good film that not enough people saw. Biehn would be mercilessly cut out of the Theatrical Cut of Terminator 2 which was a shame as there was a tender link to the original from the scene.

It was from 1992 onwards when Biehn seemed to disappear from the kind of blockbuster movies that I thought he belonged in. He played a memorable parts in Tombstone and Michael Bay's The Rock but then tended to appear in more low budget movies and kept very bust doing TV shows like the entertaining The Magnificent Seven.

I next saw Biehn in the fun Rodriguez segment of the Grindhouse movie Planet Terror.

After showing he has prowess behind the camera as well as in front, by directing The Victim, the Biehn is back in what looks like an intriguing post-apocalyptic movie:

The Divide

Director: Xavier (Frontiers, Hitman) Gans

Starring: Michael Biehn, Lauren German, Rosanna Arquette, Milo Ventimiglia, Courtney B Vance, Aston Holmes

As an onslaught of nuclear missiles from an unknown assailant falls on New York City, a small group of tenants and the caretaker of an apartment building manage to find refuge in the building’s bunker-like basement. But as the days and nights slowly tick by, their sanctuary starts to resemble something more akin to a living hell. Adding further terror to the situation, the shelter is unexpectedly attacked by mysterious armed assailants wearing hazmat suits, their motives unknown but their merciless method of assault all too clear. This new threat forces the trapped victims to unite against a common enemy but it is a unity that proves to be short-lived.
With little chance of rescue and only unspeakable horrors and almost certain death awaiting them on the outside, the survivors slowly begin to descend into madness as food and water supplies dwindle, tensions flare and self-preservation becomes the only option. The ensuing power struggle leads to physical, psychological and sexual torment among the group as each member loses touch with his and her humanity. Despite this, one individual holds on to the hope of some form of salvation beyond the thick concrete walls of what may soon become nothing more than a tomb.

 You wouldn't want to get caught underground with this lot!

 The Divide is in cinemas from 20th April 2012 before hitting home entertainment on 14th May 2012. A review is coming soon.

 Creepy experiments on people, or a revolutionary way of giving up smoking?

 Something's got her spooked. Maybe it was getting kicked off Hawaii Five-O
 Too little sleep or is something viral going around. Maybe it's Micheal's cigarette smoke. See below:
Boy, does that man like a big fat stogie!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

DVD Preview: Il Boom

Directed by Vittorio de Sica

Starring Alberto Sordi, Gianna-Maria Canale and Ettore Geri

Out To Own On DVD
 April 23rd, 2012


IL BOOM is a hilarious, one of a kind, bittersweet Italian comedy from groundbreaking director Vittorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves, Umberto D), set during the Italian economic miracle which transformed the country in the span of a decade, from the late 50s to the onset of the 70s.

Giovanni (ALBERTO SORDI from The Best of Enemies) lives far beyond his means to provide for his wife’s worldly needs (GIANNA MARIA CANALE from I Vampiri). Nearly insolvent and terribly worried at the idea of losing his wife, he thinks of committing suicide when an ad gives him hope again: a rich man is offering a life changing amount of money to anyone able to give him one of his eyes.

The film will also screen at this year’s Italian Film Festival in Scotland. Dates are as follows:
-        GFT: April 18
-        Edinburgh Filmhouse: April 24

Extras: None

DVD Tech specs: Cert: PG / Feature Running Time: 85 min approx. / Region 2 / Feature Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 / Black & White / Audio: Mono 2.0 / English language / Cat No: OPTD2362 / RRP: £15.99

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

At The Cinema: Samsara

Samsara is the sensational follow-up to the multi- award-winning Baraka – from acclaimed film-makers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson

Arrow Films announce their plan to release SAMSARA across cinema screens in the UK and Ireland on 7th September 2012. SAMSARA is the next cinematic masterpiece since the filmmakers’ cult success with BARAKA and CHRONOS.  Director and Cinematographer Ron Fricke and Producer Mark Magidson join forces again to bring us another unforgettable cinematic experience. Using the finest in cutting edge cinematography, SAMSARA develops the themes of interconnection and transcendence - illuminating links between humanity and the rest of nature and showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythms of the planet, on an epic scale.

Filmed over a four-year period in twenty-five countries across five continents, SAMSARA transports us via stunning Panavision Super 70 cinematography to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary. It encourages our own interpretations, inspired by breathtaking images that infuse the ancient with the modern and set against a mesmerizing musical score featuring the work of Lisa Gerrard, Michael Stearns and Marcello De Francisci.

Premiering at the Toronto Film Festival 2011 to great success and awarded Best Documentary at this year's Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012, SAMSARA will be screened in the highest definition 4K digital projection across the UK and Ireland from 7th September. A series of events to celebrate the follow up to the cult classic BARAKA will be announced in the lead up to SAMSARA’s release. 

Alex Agran, Director of Arrow Films said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be releasing this epic film by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson in the UK and Ireland. Samsara is a true prestige title for us to release and it’s an honour to bring such sensational cutting edge cinema to the UK audience, and we are sure that Samsara will blow audiences away in the same way Baraka did on release in 1992. We have some very exciting plans to celebrate the release of Samsara and a 20th Anniversary release of Baraka that will mark these films as the most talked about films of 2012.”

Mark Magidson, Producer of Samsara stated "We are thrilled to have the support of Arrow Films for the UK/Eire release of Samsara.  After close to 5 years in production it's great to have a partner that brings a depth of understanding and a high level of enthusiasm to this special film."

For further information please visit:

At The Cinema: Transit

Just out of prison, Nate needs to regain his family’s trust and takes them on a road trip. His plans take a turn for the worst when a group of criminals covertly stash four million dollars from a deadly bank heist in his car; with the aim of collecting it once through a police roadblock up ahead. Nate’s family complete their unknown task and speed off down the highway; but the criminals need their money, and will stop at
nothing to reclaim it.

TRANSIT is a high-octane, explosive action thriller from legendary action producer Joel Silver (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, The Matrix) and After Dark Films, starring Jim Caviezel (The Thin Red Line, Passion of the Christ), James Frain (Tron: Legacy, True Blood), Elisabeth Rohm (Abduction, Heroes), Diora Baird (30 Days of Night, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning), Harold Perrineau (Lost, The Matrix Reloaded) and is directed by Antonio Negret (Seconds Apart).

 TRANSIT will be released by G2 PICTURES in cinemas on 20th April 2012