Sunday 27 February 2011

Film: Drive Angry

Nicolas Cage is Milton, a man who has escaped Hell to avenge the murder of his Daughter and save her child.
In pursuit is Prison Break's William Fichtner as The Accountant who must return Milton to his eternal damnation.
This is all done in a gloriously over the top style similar to Machete albeit with not quite the same results.
It's good fun and has some teriffic action and chase scenes but the silly comedy tends to interfere with a good old fashioned revenge story that would have had more impact without the humour.
Also, the 3D adds nothing to this film, if anything it too detracts from the story which still manages to shine through, just.
Enjoyable nonsense that could've done with an edgier feel.
Ric's Rating: 60%

Thursday 24 February 2011

Book: Poison Door by Steve Malley

Steve Malley takes us to the unintentionally topical setting of Christchurch, New Zealand for this tale of drugs, kidnap, corruption and murder.
Young women are vanishing from the streets and high-kicking Detective Sarah Crane is on the case. Add to that a gangland multiple murder and she certainly has her hands full. Are the cases connected?
This book is filled with rich colourful characters such as the reptilian gangster Tommy Knowles, the veteran cop Marsden, smooth operator Usher and the star of the show, teenager Michelle who is more at home on the streets than she is in the presence of her drug and alcohol addicted Mother.
The writing can be clumsy at times with turns of phrase often repeated but other than that this is a very competent crime story that moves along nicely to reach a thrillingly violent climax in a derelict hospital.

The author took a gamble by giving this book away freely to anyone who would post a review.
It has paid off as Malley definitely shows enough potential to merit future interest and the New Zealand setting was a refreshing change.
Ric's Rating: 72%

Monday 21 February 2011

Blog Award: One Lovely Blog

I received my first blog award !!
Many thanks to Brittany and make sure you check out her book loving blog at
I'll pass this to some others later this week.

Sunday 20 February 2011

DVD: The Resident

In this drama Hilary Swank (The Next Karate Kid) plays an ER Doctor struggling to get over the breakdown of her relationship.

Things look up when she moves into a recently renovated apartment owned by the charming Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, The Losers).

The two soon go on a couple of dates but when The Doc. makes it clear she isn’t ready for a relationship Max takes it badly and we are treated to the best flashback montage I’ve seen in a long time.

Unfortunately the film then descends into a below par Fatal Attraction meets Single White Female obsession story as Max’s worrying mental state comes to the fore.

The acting is ok, including a brief turn by Christopher Lee, but Morgan makes a far better cool ladies man than he does creepy deviant, he just doesn’t look like a guy who would be sneaking into a woman’s wardrobe to play with her dresses.

Very watchable but could have been much better.
Ric's Rating: 64%

Friday 18 February 2011

DVD: Dying Breed

Leigh Whannell the co-writer and star of the original Saw movie heads the cast of this 2008 Australian horror.

Eight years ago Nina’s sister died while attempting to find evidence that the long extinct Tasmanian Tiger still exists. Now her and her friends set out with the same purpose and inevitably run into the same trouble.

This is the age old story of big city kids in Hillbilly Land but it’s very well executed.

The characters are believable and all the performances are good.

It gets a bit silly towards the end as the killer is revealed but then we are treated to a squirm inducing final scene which makes up for any shortcomings.

Recommended for fans of Friday the 13th, Deliverance, Wrong Turn and any other “lost in the woods” type horror.
Ric's Rating: 74%

Monday 14 February 2011

DVD: Life As We Know It

Two single thirty-somethings find themselves responsible for bringing up a child in this endearing comedy drama.

This is not merely dirty nappy (diaper) and baby sick jokes, although they are included, there is much more to this movie as Holly (Katherine Heigl) and Messer (Josh Duhamel) struggle with their new found responsibility.

I won’t include any plot spoilers and if this sounds like your kind of film I’d advise avoiding any detailed reviews.

I will say that it’s unusual to find a film of such quality in this genre. It manages to deftly combine comedy with sadness as it provides as many touching moments as laughs and although it does get predictable in the final third it’s still a far better film than I expected.
Ric's Rating: 79%

Saturday 12 February 2011

Preview: The Infection by Craig DiLouie

Craig DiLouie, author of Tooth And Nail (see review elsewhere here)
has sent me a copy of his new novel The Infection for review.
Details below:
A mysterious virus suddenly strikes down millions. Three days later, its victims awake with a single purpose: spread the Infection. As the world lurches toward the apocalypse, some of the Infected continue to change, transforming into horrific monsters.In one American city, a small group struggles to survive. Sarge, a tank commander hardened by years of fighting in Afghanistan. Wendy, a cop still fighting for law and order in a lawless land. Ethan, a teacher searching for his lost family. Todd, a high school student who sees second chances in the end of the world. Paul, a minister who wonders why God has forsaken his children. And Anne, their mysterious leader, who holds an almost fanatical hatred for the Infected.
Check back soon for a full review.

Friday 11 February 2011

Music: R.I.P Gary Moore

A little tribute to the late Gary Moore who passed away earlier this week.

Sit back, relax, turn up the volume and enjoy Gary Moore's Still Got The Blues.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Book: Darkside by Belinda Bauer

Belinda Bauer returns to the rural English village of her award winning debut Blacklands (see review elsewhere here) with this much anticipated follow-up.

This time out we follow local Policeman Jonas Holly as he investigates a spate of murders where the victims are elderly and infirm.

Following such an impressive first book was always going to be difficult and in Darkside the author has gone for a traditional whodunit that, while compelling, lacks the originality that propelled her to the top of the crime fiction genre last year.

The main character of Holly is completely over-shadowed by big city cop Marvel who takes over the case. He is a brash, arrogant man, used to getting his own way but who also displays excellent investigative instincts, much to the dismay of his beleaguered colleague Reynolds.
Holly’s wife, the multiple sclerosis stricken, horror movie addicted Lucy is also a major force and her confrontation with Marvel is one of the book’s highlights.
Stephen Lamb, the young hero of the previous book also appears, albeit fleetingly.

This is a competent and absorbing tale that gathers pace and delivers a tense finale.

Hopefully Belinda Bauer has many more dark stories from Shipcott in the works.
Ric's rating: 75%

Sunday 6 February 2011

Film: Sanctum

James Cameron's name is all over this cave diving adventure but he is only on board as executive producer.
A group of explorers are trapped in a cave system when a Cyclone strikes and must find their way through the underground, and sometimes underwater, maze to survive.
The best thing that this has going for it is the amazing scenery and some vertigo inducing moments, all in nifty 3D.
There is a Father / Son bonding sub-plot but it's all just a bit average and none of the characters really come to life.
This is inspired by a true story which I suspect would make a better documentary than it does adventure movie.
Ric's Rating: 58%

Saturday 5 February 2011

Preview: Poison Door by Steve Malley

Steve Malley was (and still is, so hurry over to ) offering a free ebook of his new novel Poison Door to anyone who will post a review.

I couldn't let that pass me by.


Sarah Crane is one tough cop. In a country where police don't carry guns but criminals do, she has to rely on the strength of her wits and the skill of her bare hands. Faced with a series of brutal murders and the disappearance of young women no one else seems to miss, she'll stop at nothing to get to the truth. In troubled young Michelle, Sarah sees a reflection of her own dark past.

Tommy Knowles is a vicious killer. From a London orphanage to the shores of New Zealand, he has risen from life on the streets to control this small country's heroin trade. Now his own success has led him to the edge of disaster. To secure the weapons he needs in the fight for his life, Tommy will trade as many innocent lives as necessary to secure his survival.

Michelle Swanston is fourteen and in danger. Safer on the Christchurch city streets than she is in her own home, Michelle's night wanderings take her into a hell worse than any she ever imagined. With no way of knowing who she can trust, no one else she can rely on, this terrified young girl is determined not to go down without a fight...

Check back soon for a full review.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Ric Recommends: Outcast

Trailer for the surprisingly good Scottish horror film Outcast.

Full review in previous post.

DVD: Outcast

When Mary (Kate Dickie) and her teenage son Fergal (Niall Bruton) move into their new tower block apartment the first thing that Mary does is daub strange protection symbols on the walls.

Who or what do they need protection from?

Feargal attempts to lead a normal life despite his Mother’s misgivings and begins a relationship with his neighbour Petronella (Hanna Stanbridge).

Meanwhile two mysterious Irish travellers (James Nesbitt and Ciaran McMenamin) arrive in Edinburgh to embark on a “hunt” and when people start to disappear it isn’t clear who or what is the culprit.

This fine atmospheric British horror film has unfairly flown under the radar. It’s a slick production with fine performances from everyone I’ve mentioned.

Full of mysticism and folklore it’s a cut above the average horror movie and although the finale is a little silly it’s an excellent British horror film that deserves to find an audience.

Writer / director Colm McCarthy has done wonders here and shown that not all films made in Scotland have to be depressing.

Recommended for horror fans who like myth and legend with their gore.
Ric's Rating: 79%

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Preview: Between Summer's Longing And Winter's End by Leif GW Persson

Thanks to Lynsey at Transworld Publishers who has sent me a copy of this for review.
The death of an unknown American in Stockholm, though tragic, should be an open-and-shut case, a simple suicide. But when Superintendent Lars Martin Johansson begins to delve beneath the layers of corruption, incompetence and violence currently strangling the Stockholm police department, he uncovers a complex web of treachery, politics and espionage. Johansson quickly realises that there is nothing routine about this little death as it quickly catapults him from mere domestic drama straight to the rotten heart of Sweden’s government.
Check back soon for a full review.