Wednesday 30 June 2010

DVD: Spiral

Every once in a while a little film comes along that makes me glad I still
have faith in the straight to DVD market.

Avatar's Joel David Moore is dazzling in his portrayal of Mason, a shy, troubled man who's only friend happens to be his call centre boss Chuck (Zachary Levi).

Chuck constantly tries to bring Mason out of his shell but he prefers to paint and listen to jazz over truly interacting with other people until a chance encounter with a co-worker (Amber Tamblyn) brightens up his life.

The two become friends as Mason sketches Amber and persuades her to pose for him. She doesn't know the troubles that lurk in his mind.

All violence is implied here, there is none on screen, this helps crank up the tension as the cracks in Mason's psyche begin to show.

Excellent performances all round and a few unpredictable twists make this an excellent little known film. Seek it out, you won't regret it.

Ric's Rating: 84%

Monday 28 June 2010

DVD: Heartless

Sometimes I get the feeling that I'm watching something different from everyone else...
Every review I have read heaps praise on this British horror film, I'm not going to.

There is a moment in this film where we get to see monsters in hoodies and I'm afraid it's all downhill from there. Reminded me of the moment in Jeepers Creepers where the bad guy sprouted wings, I just couldn't take it seriously from then on in.

It had a promising start too as we join a young man living with a "strawberry" birth mark, constantly hiding his face behind his hood. He lives with his Mum and starts to see an increase in violence all around.
Unfortunately it becomes a jumble of mental illness and supposed Demons on the loose and I found myself reaching for the fast forward button just to get to the limp conclusion.

Ric's Rating: 25%

Thursday 24 June 2010

Magazine: DVD & Blu Ray Review

The latest edition of DVD & Blu Ray Review is in the shops now (if you're in the UK) in which you will find my brief review of 70's TV show 4 Idle Hands as well as top quality reviews of all the latest releases.

Monday 21 June 2010

The Movie Dirty Dozen Blogfest: 12 All Time Greats

At the behest of Alex J Cavanaugh (check out his excellent blog) I somewhat reluctantly decided to take part in this Blogfest. This list is by no means definitive as I'm bound to have forgotten a few and there were so many more I'd like to mention that I'll talk about them later. So, here goes, in alphabetical order these are 12 movies that have entertained and moved me in such a way that they live long in the memory and improve with every viewing.
Be sure to check out Alex's own choices as well as Dezmond's at Hollywood Spy and Nebular's at Cinemarvellous.

Amores Perros - Mexican film which follows three separate lives as they become connected following a devastating car crash.
Violent and unpredictable this stunning tale of love, betrayal and cruelty reveals further complexity with repeated viewing. Brought Gael Garcia Bernal and Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu to the attention of Hollywood.

Apocalypto - Mel Gibson's Mayan chase movie grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. Amazing settings and authentic language add to the experience.

Big Trouble In Little China - Scratch the surface of John Carpenter's wild 80's kung-fu movie and you'll see why it has become a cult hit. Join Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) as he tries to regain his stolen truck and rescue a friend's girl from the Evil Lo-Pan. Brimming with energy and fun it makes you laugh, dazzles with effects and provides top notch action scenes. Fantastic one line wisecracks from hapless hero Burton including the catchphrase "It's all in the reflexes" help make this a fantastic feel good romp.

Brotherhood Of The Wolf - If cinema is art then this is a masterpiece. In the year 1764 a Beast has slain 123 women and children in the French town of Gevaudan. To prevent a Peasant revolt The King sends two men to investigate. Enter Fronsac and Mani (Samuel Le Bihan and Mark Dacascos) who set out to reveal the truth no matter what the cost. This has it all, fantastic story, excellent acting, wonderful action and great characters. Visually and emotionally stunning. I urge you to see it.

Made - Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau before they (sort of) sold out to Hollywood. Following the cult success of Swingers the guys re-unite in this crime comedy caper about two wannabee gangsters sent on a mission to New York. It's the quick fire humour that makes this one stand out. Vaughn's portrayal of the constantly talking Ricky has to be seen to be believed and alongside Favreau's straight laced Bobby it works like a dream. Watch it and be amazed at the rapid fire comedy in the office scene with Peter Falk and the scene on board the plane. I catch more gags with every viewing and each time is funnier than the last.

Mine - Heart wrenching documentary following Hurricaine Katrina survivors as they struggle to be re-united with their beloved Dogs. Full of joy and despair, this is achingly moving stuff and deserves to be seen. It even helped change American Law regarding evacuation of animals.

Sling Blade - A powerhouse performance from Billy Bob Thornton as he portrays a mentally challenged man trying to adjust to life outside an institution after being incarcerated for 20 years for murder.
This is the best acting performance I have ever seen, I was amazed at the showing here from Thornton as his character faces new troubles that challenge his ability to cope.

The Bear - Jean-Jacques Annaud's mesmerising story of an oprhan bear cub's struggle for survival.
Fantastic footage here and the tale is told from the perspective of The Bear.
Unique and touching, it's a film that provides plenty of food for thought.

The Crow - The ultimate story of love and revenge as Brandon Lee's Eric Draven returns from the dead to seek out the killers of himself and his Bride - to - be.
Visually arresting and mega violent even the unfortunate accidental death of it's star couldn't stop this one being a box office hit. The film is in fact all the more poignant because of it.

The Jacket - Adrien Brody excells and Keira Knightley proves she can act in this mind bending thriller.
Elements of time travel and mental illness combine to provide a tense claustrophobic film in which Brody investigates his own death.

The Karate Kid - Everyone's favourite karate movie has stood the test of time and remains just as uplifting as it ever was.
Who wouldn't want Mr Miyagi to teach them how to best the bullies?

The Shawshank Redemption - Emotionally charged prison movie that finds us rooting for Tim Robbins even if he might be guilty.
Terrific performances all round and a captivating story with wonderful characters make this a must - see.
There you have it, 12 all time greats. I couldn't include so many films that it has made me consider doing a regular Ric Recommends post featuring some of the near misses. All movies listed are highly recommended and would score Ric's Ratings of above 90 %

Sunday 20 June 2010

Film: Hot Tub Time Machine

For some reason I assumed that this was a comedy aimed at teenagers,
fortunately I was wrong.

Three middle aged men (and a nephew of one of them) find themselves transported back in time to their hayday of 1986.

Full of crude gags this won't be everyone's cup of tea but I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.

The cast look like they are having a great time and John Cusack delivers his best performance since Grosse Point Blank as the guys try their best to re-enact the events of the time in order to keep their future intact.

If your looking for some light hearted entertainment, your over the age of 30, are nostalgic about the 80's and you have an open mind you won't be disappointed.

Ric's Rating: 77%

Saturday 19 June 2010

Book: Little Girls Lost by Jack (J.A) Kerley

This sixth book in the Carson Ryder series was originally scheduled to
be the fourth but its release was postponed due to it's similarity to real life events at the time. Fans of the series will notice hastily edited details, like a very brief mention of Carson's dog, Mr Mix Up, who first appeared in the previous book, In The Blood (see review elsewhere here).

Young Black girls are being abducted and Carson must investigate the case without his partner Harry Nautilus who is in hospital, the victim of a vicious late night mugging.

Enter The Gumbo King, Conner Sandhill, a former cop who is called in as a consultant and teams up with Carson to examine the case and hopefully make connections that others have missed.

While the pair investigate the abductions Ryder looks into Sandhill's reasons for leaving the force and opens up a whole new can of worms.

This is the best in the series so far, Sandhill is an excellent addition and I didn't even mind that Jeremy (Ryder's psychotic Brother) didn't appear.

It features a host of excellent characters: Squill the weasely police chief and his sidekicks, The Desmond Brothers and Mr Mattoon all spring to mind each bringing their own vitally important presence to the story.

Ryder takes a bit of a co-starring role in this one (it's the first he doesn't narrate) as it's Sandhill's show this time around, I just hope he features again or even gets his own spin off series.

Tension, terror, unpredictable twists and turns a plenty. What more could you ask for.


Ric's Rating: 92%

Saturday 12 June 2010

Preview: Tooth And Nail by Craig DiLouie

In another first for myself and the blog, author Craig Dilouie has been kind / courageous enough to send me a copy of his new book to review.

It's a Zombie apocalypse story told from the perspective of the soldiers fighting to save their dying country.

Check back soon for a full review.

In the meantime check out for more information.