Sunday 27 September 2009

DVD: Frontier(s)

Copious blood and gore in this French horror film that just feels like writer / director Xavier Gens has simply sat through Hostel, Deliverance, The Hills Have Eyes, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House Of 1000 Corpses, The Descent, Switchblade Romance and strangely Class Of 1984 then decided to take all his favourite scenes from those films and put them in one of his own.
Nothing new here if you’ve seen any of the above but that’s not saying it doesn’t have some enjoyable moments. It starts well as we join a group of unlikely fugitives on the run. They agree to meet up at a remote hotel and then it all goes pear shaped when they meet the family who own it. The violence and torture duly begin but it all gets very silly very quickly.
Even an appearance by Samuel Le Bihan, fantastic in Brotherhood Of The Wolf doesn’t rescue this one.
For a quick fix of this type of film check out the low budget straight to DVD movie Carver instead.
Rick’s Rating: 34%

Saturday 26 September 2009

TV: Six Degrees

This American drama of inter-twining lives in New York failed to find an audience in the USA and was pulled from the schedules after only 8 of the 13 episodes had been aired.
In the UK, ITV screened all 13 episodes but the show was given a ghastly time slot. This was a real shame because it is a highly entertaining drama that unusually doesn’t feature cops or any great degree of violence, I suppose that explains why it failed in the U.S, wait a minute, there were no hospitals either so I suppose it was fighting a losing battle all along.
Hostel’s Jay Hernandez plays Carlos, a young Public Defender who meets the enigmatic Mae (Erika Christensen) after she is arrested. The relationship between the two serves to connect some of the others in the series.
Meanwhile photographer Stephen Caseman (Campbell Scott) just wants a second chance in both his personal and professional life after battling to overcome his addictions. This role was intended for William Hurt but Campbell Scott delivers an excellent performance as the talented Caseman attempting to get his life back on track.
Other characters, who all connect somehow, include Laura (Hope Davis) who is dealing with the death of her husband, Whitney(Bridget Moynahan) a successful businesswoman who has a troubled personal life and Damien(Dorian Missick) the ex – con trying to redeem himself.
Terrific performances all round and a quality script help to deliver a great grown-up drama that could easily have continued into a second series if more people had tuned in. Worth seeking out if it ever gets repeated or crops up on DVD.

Rick’s Rating: 83%

Friday 25 September 2009

Film : Gamer

Gerard Butler and Michael C Hall star in this futuristic tale of a Death Row inmate attempting to win his freedom by surviving a deadly video game.

This has all been done better before in the likes of The Running Man and even former wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s The Condemned is a much more satisfying experience.

There are a few half decent action scenes but the characters are so poorly developed that you don’t really care enough to bother who survives and who doesn’t. I think I was supposed to be shocked by one scene in particular where someone’s head gets blown off but I’m afraid I was just disappointed that they had went for shocks over story.

Michael C Hall, excellent in the TV show Dexter, turns in a dire performance as the main bad guy which even includes a ridiculous song and dance routine.

Redeeming feature – Nice to see Gerard Butler in an action role again following his spate of romantic comedies after 300. He looks like he could have made a decent Snake Plissken after all, pity that didn’t work out.

Rick’s Rating : 29%

Thursday 24 September 2009

Book: The Loch by Steve Alten

Renowned Marine Biologist Zachary Wallace falls on hard times after a high profile accident at Sea. At this low point he receives a request from his estranged Father to come home to Scotland and stand by his side as he faces an accusation of murder.
The Legend of Loch Ness soon crops up and Zack finds himself investigating a spate of recent deaths in his own unique way. Jeered and resented by most locals he finds help from his childhood friend True and sets about solving the mystery of The Loch while attempting to mend bridges with his Father.
Excellent characters, especially lovable rogue Angus and fiesty Highland female Brandy bring humour and emotion to this story that takes place in a wonderful setting. Even the Scottish Highland accent is pretty accurate.
This book has legend, death, love, mystery, revenge and redemption and is recommended to anyone with an interest in any of those things. That means you.
Rick's Rating: 92%

DVD: The Last House On The Left

Ultra -violent remake of the 1972 Wes Craven shocker.
Having never seen the original I can judge this one on its own merits.
We join teenager Mari (Sara Paxton) and her parents Emma (Monica Potter) and John (Tony Goldwyn) as they take a trip to their country home for a break from their hectic city lives.
Mari prefers to go see her friend instead of staying home with Mom & Dad and that’s when the trouble starts.
They run into Krug (Garret Dillahunt) who has just escaped from prison and his two equally dangerous cohorts.
The film is very distinctly in two halves and the first half, which concentrates on the girls plight, is very violent and often uncomfortable to watch but this gives the story a real kick and makes for riveting stuff.
The parents dominate the second half as they too encounter Krug and his gang while having no idea what has happened to their daughter.
Real rooting for the good guy moments and tension that most horror/thrillers just don’t deliver these days make this a must for fans of the genre.
Highly recommended if you enjoyed The Hills Have Eyes remake, The Devil’s Rejects or had the stomach to sit through Irreversible.

Rick's Rating: 76%