Wednesday 13 June 2012

Film: Snow White & The Huntsman

A young princess is imprisoned as her evil stepmother takes control of the throne that’s rightfully hers.

Charlize Theron’s performance as the wicked Queen dominates this otherwise lacklustre version of the classic fairy tale while man-of-the-moment Chris Hemsworth (quickly becoming typecast) displays little of the charisma shown in Thor as he attempts to protect Snow White.

All the essential elements of the story are here, the poisoned apple, the seven dwarves and the handsome prince all appear in some shape or form but as amusing as it was to see Bob Hoskins and Ray Winstone as dwarfs this packs little emotional punch.

Ric’s Rating: Dodgy.

Friday 8 June 2012

Book: The Killing Floor by Craig Dilouie

The remaining characters from Craig DiLouie’s The Infection (see review elsewhere here) continue their struggle for survival in this zombie monster-mash adventure.

I slowly became re-acquainted with Anne, the tormented leader of the group as well as Todd, a young man who has had to grow up fast. New characters are also introduced and bring their own issues to the story.

This sequel really kicks off when Camp Defiance, the refuge valiantly defended in the previous novel, falls foul of infection. Following this incident Ray (a survivor of infection) soon realises he can communicate with the infected, not only with the humans, but also the hideous creatures born of the virus.

The others decide that Ray either has to be eliminated before he causes any further catastrophe or be captured as he surely holds the key to any potential cure.

Each characters hazardous journey continues separately before we come to the final bloody confrontation where true motives emerge and loyalties are decided.

The Infection was a fantastic zombie novel and while this doesn’t quite reach the same emotional level it’s a more than adequate continuation of a story that doesn’t rely on blood and gore. By concentrating on the inner torment faced by those involved DiLouie has created a series that should appeal beyond the preconceived notions of the genre.

The Killing Floor is available in ebook and trade paperback from Permuted Press.

Ric’s Rating: Highly Recommended.       

Monday 4 June 2012

Film: The Angels' Share

A group of low level criminals embark on their sentence of “community payback” in this Glasgow comedy from veteran director Ken Loach.

Robbie (Paul Brannigan) is a new Dad and desperate to leave his troubled past behind but circumstances and rivals often drag him back into criminal activity. While carrying out his community payback the group foreman (John Henshaw) introduces Robbie to whisky and he quickly learns of a very valuable cask that’s about to be sold. With the help of his friends he sets out to acquire some of the whisky in an attempt to make some quick money.

The first quarter of the film has the typical depressing feel of many films set in Glasgow but thankfully the tone shifts and we are treated to a hilarious caper comedy. Writer Paul Laverty has perfectly captured the language used by many in the city to hilarious effect but it’s strictly for those not easily offended.

Début actor Paul Brannigan is fantastic in the leading role, he handles the serious side of the character of Robbie perfectly and also excels when the laughs kick in. Excellent support comes from John Henshaw and the rest of the cast are brilliant too.

Sadly the films strength may also be its weakness. It is such a very Scottish tale that it might not travel well. That being said this is undoubtedly the best Scottish comedy since Gregory’s Girl and bears many similarities to that films predecessor, That Sinking Feeling.

The Angel’s Share is in UK cinemas now.

Ric’s Rating: Essential.