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Reviews Written by
Tommy Dooley (London, England)

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The Pigman Murders[Non Canadian PAL Format]
The Pigman Murders[Non Canadian PAL Format]
DVD ~ Gerard Fallon, Eugene Horan John Berry
Price: CDN$ 20.99
10 used & new from CDN$ 17.48

1.0 out of 5 stars Seriously Bad piece of film making in another ‘found tape’ genre, June 25 2016
I watch a lot of films and I am always prepared to give a film a go even when it has been widely criticised as often there is a saving grace. This is one where I was sorely self deluding. It is about seven friends who decide to commemorate the one year anniversary of a friend’s death – Brendan – by going to the middle of nowhere in Connemara and making a video for the dead guy’s family. A card would have been a better idea lads.

They hire a bloke called Stefan to film them; I mean seriously anyone can hold a camcorder cant they? But no not this pro as the film constantly breaks and fuzzes and then cuts out and becomes ultra annoying. For the first 31 minutes we get scene setting which is basically ‘the lads’ acting immature whilst the camera malfunctions.

When we move on to the actual ‘action’, the bits you want to see are nearly all done off camera! There is some good acting – which was surprising to be honest and the make up was good. However, the complete void of originality, character development, script and anything actually happening made for this to be utterly unwatchable. Oh and they make the most stooped decisions – repeatedly too. The director of this barfathon is credited as SPK. So you are so embarrassed about this god-awful tripe you would not even put your name to it? I am just guessing but this is my contender for the most pointless piece of film making ever – this was more annoying than a three year old constantly asking why? But that is the only question that this could possibly engender – why indeed.

Childhood's End [Blu-ray + Digital Copy + UV]
Childhood's End [Blu-ray + Digital Copy + UV]
DVD ~ Charles Dance
Price: CDN$ 25.00
5 used & new from CDN$ 25.00

4.0 out of 5 stars The SyFy Channel finally comes of age with this rather good adaptation of a great book., June 23 2016
This SyFy Channel offering is all about when nice aliens come to Earth, they are non violent, non threatening and see us as children who need to be guided to get along better. So they offer us the deal of a lifetime, just let them rule and they will end poverty, inequality, illness, war, intolerance and make Earth an actual Utopia.

The 'Earth Supervisor' is Karellen played with imperialistic understatement by Charles Dance, he selects one farmer to be the spokes person and his mouth piece and this is Rick Stormgren (Mike Vogel ' 'Under The Dome') and he is used to convey to the World what our dear Overlords want us to do and what they are going to do in return. It seems too good to be true but when you have got it so good why bother rocking the boat. Some obviously do and that is covered too and includes a feisty part for Colm Meaney.

This is really well made, the SFX are incredibly good and the acting all rather top form too, the real strength is the story and how it weaves so many things into the plot but does it both subtly and ‘in your face’. I thought it was great and just flew by.I hope that we can expect more TV of this calibre from SyFy now– recommended.

Narcos: Season 1 [Import]
Narcos: Season 1 [Import]
Price: CDN$ 27.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant True Life Depiction of the biggest Drug Lord Ever, June 22 2016
This review is from: Narcos: Season 1 [Import] (DVD)
This was made for Netflix – where I watched it – and is based on the life of Pablo Escobar. I have read and seen a fair bit about the man and this follows the facts as portrayed in the Colombian documentary ‘Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar’ and to say what happens is stranger than fiction is a massive understatement. It takes us along for the ride with Escobar and his cronies starting to realise that Colombia was a failing state and money talks. In his case it screamed and the US soon realised what was happening on its doorstep – only they were a bit late to the party.

By the time they caught up with him he had becomes numero uno in the drugs World. His power and influence gave him plenty of ideas too and they are all depicted here. It is a fair depiction of him as a man – presenting him as human and incredibly ruthless, cynical and downright nasty.

The production values are extremely high and the acting is just superb. Escobar is played by the excellent Wagner Moura who is actually Brazilian but speaks Spanish here like a native. He has been in so many brilliant films including ‘Elite Squad’ where he was seriously fit so must have attacked the pasta to gain the weight needed for this role. He is ably supported by a cast where even the bit players are outstanding. We have the stories of the brave men and women who went after him too and to say this makes for excellent TV is like saying cocaine can be a tiny bit addictive, and just like ‘Charlie’ this too had me hooked after one hit – I shall stop gushing now, but also I have not met a single person who did not rave about this and there are plans for a second season which I hope is very soon indeed.

Strange Woman
Strange Woman
DVD ~ Hedy Lamarr
Price: CDN$ 6.98
15 used & new from CDN$ 4.44

5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious Femme Fatale Noir from Hollywood’s Glory Days, June 22 2016
This review is from: Strange Woman (DVD)
Hedy Lamarr stars as the town beauty from the wrong side of the tracks in this classic noir from the, some would say, under rated and very talented director Edgar G. Ulmer. She plays Jenny Hagar whose alcoholic father left her to her own devices except when it suited his temper. She is the equivalent to ‘the raven haired temptress from below stairs’ in period dramas, but instead lives in a shack but knows she wants riches, and will do anything to get them and that she can get men to do anything for her.

It is a classic tale as she scurrilously lures the richest man in town, he is loaded, but she also has a thing for his young and sensitive son. You just know that wedding bells are in the air but so is mal-intent, and the ride is going to be very bumpy for all concerned.

Now this is just classic Hollywood, it has the good, the bad and the sorely tempted and some sterling performances; Lamarr is just brilliant and at times I even fell for her duplicity – she is just that good. There is also a small but perfectly formed early role for the brilliant George Sanders, one of the best character actors ever. The direction and the subtleties are a joy to watch and the allure of the film is like Hedy Lammarr herself, in that the years have not diminished it one iota.

10,000 SAINTS
10,000 SAINTS
DVD ~ Ethan Hawke
Price: CDN$ 19.95
4 used & new from CDN$ 16.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Indie drama, comedy of coming of age and loose parenting skills., June 21 2016
This review is from: 10,000 SAINTS (DVD)
The basic synopsis of this film is that we get to follow the lives of three mal adjusted kids and their equally messed up parents from Vermont to New York and back again, – sort of. This is one of those films where if you actually say any more you will ruin some of the plot; so I must demur – despite itching to say more.

The main character is Jude played by Asa Butterfield who is really very good and Ethan Hawke plays his narcotic loving father. I have to say the more I see Ethan Hawke act the better he seems to get. We also have the wonderful Emile Hirsch playing the lead singer to a hardcore punk type band. It is set in the eighties and they do manage to get a lot of details spot on – even CBGB’s makes an appearance.

The story is original, the direction great and the actors all seem to live their roles. It is billed as a comedy but I did not see a lot to laugh at here, I did really enjoy it though so as a drama withy light hearted moments it really did work for me.

No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars Seventies Sexploitation Crime drama., June 18 2016
Now during the seventies a lot of British cinema went down in quality, even the ‘Carry On’ franchise had done ‘Carry on Emmanuelle’ a woeful effort and this came out around the same time. People only went to see ‘X certificates’ and that meant that there had to be some sex and/or swearing so we have those boxes well and truly ticked here. This is about a bank robbery where two of the gang take the bank managers family hostage. The leader is Ron played by Darren Nesbitt; who really makes a better Nazi than an armed robber.

The wife is played by Sylvia Syms and she puts in an excellent performance. Well things don’t go as planned and the stakes are considerably raised.

***Now the next bit is a plot spoiler****

The daughter then turns into a sex starved nympho and throws herself at Ron’s younger accomplice. Cue the de rigueur ‘baps out’ scene and then the rutting which is totally incongruous to the situation and plot. I mean this is not even a case of Stockholm Syndrome gone kinky – it is just gratuitous sex and really detracts from what could have been a reasonably good film.

The fashion, the cars and the time capsule aspect of the film are the best parts of it. One part I loved was the bank manager drives an Austin Princess and it is nearly new and the window trim is hanging off already. I will never work out why British Leyland lasted so long. The direction is not too bad and the picture quality is excellent but this is what it is and as a piece to document the slide of British cinema it is a good example of the period. It is not one I could watch again though so if you are tempted then I would advise a rental – and maybe get some beer in too, it will help.

Daddy [Import]
Daddy [Import]
Price: CDN$ 32.26
12 used & new from CDN$ 19.33

4.0 out of 5 stars Accomplished and Engaging Gay themed, indie drama., June 12 2016
This review is from: Daddy [Import] (DVD)
Colin is one of those gay guys who seems to have it all – great job, loads of money and he gets all the young men he wants. His best mate, Stew, lives next door and is the polar opposite but they have been inseparable since college. Then one day an intern starts work at Colin’s office.

What first starts out as an overly keen employee soon becomes something much more intense, but when something is too good to be true.... well you know how it goes.

Now this is from TLA and yet is one of theirs that raises the bar. It is well made, acted. Scripted, filmed and everything else. The story is believable and engaging and the twist I never saw coming. It is also an indie and stars Gerald McCulloch as Colin who also directed this, he is a seasoned actor and the calibre shone through, but Jamie Cepero as Thaddeus was brilliant too and all the part players never let the side down. This is a TLA release I am happy to recommend.

When Animals Dream
When Animals Dream
DVD ~ Sonia Suhl
Price: CDN$ 24.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Mild Horror, drama from Denmark., June 11 2016
This review is from: When Animals Dream (DVD)
Marie is sixteen and lives in a coastal town with nowt to do, no friends and a mother with a mysterious debilitating illness. The local doctor seems to take a lot of interest in Marie’s condition especially when she starts to grow thick body hair and she would like to know why.

Now she gets a job at the local fish factory, where she is not exactly made to feel welcome. She makes a connection with Daniel, a kindly soul who is also a good looking man whom she takes a shine too. The thing is she starts to feel that she has not been told everything about her ‘illness’ and soon she will find out the hard way.

Now this is a slow burner but one that is fairly intense at the same time. There are some sterling performances especially from Lars Mikkelsen – brother of Mads but everyone is actually good even Gustav Dyekjær Giese who has a small role playing a nasty type here and was in the rather good ‘Northwest’. It is short at 81 minutes and that includes the run off credits, but it does not do much wasting of screen time and is better for it. For lovers of ‘horror’ this may be lacking as it is a coming of age tale and a relationship story as much as the horror part and that makes it a more rounded film – recommended.

Battle for Sevastopol
Battle for Sevastopol
DVD ~ Joan Blackham
Offered by M plus L
Price: CDN$ 26.74
3 used & new from CDN$ 26.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rollicking World War II Russian story., June 7 2016
This review is from: Battle for Sevastopol (DVD)
Lyudmila Pavlichenko is a good student who can never match the ideals of her austere NKVD, Officer father. Then war breaks out and it is discovered that she is a crack shot. So she is made to join the snipers after the Germans invade in 1941 through Operation Barbarossa. She is also a woman with the needs of such and has already attracted a few suitors, one is aspiring doctor – however, she is more enamoured with her commanding officer.

The fates of war mean that you must seize today what may be gone tomorrow and that is a theme that is more or less a constant throughout this. It follows the plight of the Russians as they retreat across their vast country until they are able to build up their forces to give the invading Nazi’s the righteous kicking they so keenly deserve. This though ends with the stand at Sevastopol and Lyudmila’s personal and actual battles on and off the field of battle.

Now the action scenes are all very good, the character development is fine too. The acting is all above average and the CGI is good in most parts. Some of the Americans are dubbed though which I always find annoying but that is a small gripe for what is in the main part a really good war film with full on emotions thrown in for added pathos and drama; this is not up to the calibre of say ‘The Admiral’ but is still deserving of a watch – recommended.

Texas Rising
Texas Rising
DVD ~ Bill Paxton
Price: CDN$ 20.00
7 used & new from CDN$ 11.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Historical Series on the birth of Texas., June 2 2016
This review is from: Texas Rising (DVD)
This is an historical epic that fans of accuracy have been a tad miffed about. It starts with the aftermath of The Alamo and General Sam Houston deciding to do tactical withdrawals. We get to meet the main players and they are all based on real historical persons - well mostly – as far as I was able to ascertain. We have Brandon Fraser playing a ‘half breed’ called Billy Anderson of the Texas Rangers and Ray Liotta putting in a very strong performance as Lorca – who goes Mexican killing mental after El Degüello was played by Santa Anna prior to the over running of the Alamo – meaning that no quarter would be given and indeed none was.

Then we have the political machinations of the ‘gung ho’ brigade who wanted to avenge thier countryman and take on the Mexicans as soon as possible – versus the caution and strategy of Houston. We also have the Comanche’s and their position in all of this – ostensibly from the war path loving young bucks. The makers also throw in a fair bit of love interest and plenty of action too. The guns are proper muzzle loaders too so they have tried to be authentic but some commentators have complained of the ‘colour’ of the speech as being a bit grand for some of these back woods type people. The plot follows all the way up to the final battle and beyond and leads nicely to the second season which is going to be about the Comanche wars.

Now I really enjoyed this but I was not seeing it as being a history lesson. It falls short in places but fine performances all round manage to keep it from being any where near a car crash. The one thing that is truly awful is the location filming; this was done in Mexico and so wildly misrepresents the topography where the conflict actually took place. So if you want a good period romp with a fair smattering of frontier action, then fill your boots, if you want a history lesson then you may want to avoid, and one last mention Kris Kristofferson plays Andrew Jackson albeit fleetingly and the music is quite good too.

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