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Friday The 13th - Part 7 - The New Blood (DVD) 17/05/2011

New Blood - Old Crap

Friday The 13th - Part 7 - The New Blood (DVD) A review of just the film, Friday the 13th part 7 was originally released in 1988 and is available on region 2 DVD for around £5. Disturbed by a traumatic childhood incident at Crystal Lake, Tina Shepard has spent most of her life undergoing psychiatric treatment. Apparently possessing some kind of telekinetic capabilities, Tina blames herself for killing her father after an emotionally-charged row at the side of the lake. Returning years later with her mother and her psychiatric doctor for further treatment, Tina befriends a group of teenagers in the house next door. Struggling to contain her emotional turmoil, Tina once again finds herself at the edge of the infamous lake. Convinced that she can somehow bring her father back from the dead, the teenager unwittingly resurrects the mass killer Jason Voorhees and it's not long before he's off another murderous rampage..... You'll forgive me if there's a certain resigned tone to this review. It's just that after the six previous instalments in the Jason Voorhees franchise, it seemed safe to assume that later instalments would simply be inferior retreads of the earliest chapters. The New Blood, however, soon corrected this assumption and demonstrated just how low filmmakers could stoop. Almost without a shadow of a doubt, this is by far the worst of the Friday the 13th series. Even accepting the obvious creative limitations of the slasher films of the late 1980s, A New Blood cements its elevated position of crapness through a ...

Friday The 13th - Part 6 - Jason Lives (DVD) 05/05/2011

Carry on Slaughtering

Friday The 13th - Part 6 - Jason Lives (DVD) A review of just the film, Friday the 13th part 6 was originally released in 1986. Twenty-five years later, the film can be picked up for less than a fiver online on region 2 DVD. Simply take one redundant horror franchise, where the main villain is clearly very dead. Add a mentally disturbed child who has miraculously grown into a disturbed yet very strapping young man in the space of about two years. Create the most ill-conceived and pointless exercise in convincing said young man that the main villain is dead. Stick in a broken railing and apply a sudden, rather predictable flash of lightning. Sprinkle with a liberal dosage of one-dimensional supporting characters; go back to the scene of the original murders and what do you have? Yep, you guessed it. Friday the 13th part 6 - Jason Lives. It's funny how open to interpretation the word 'final' is within the confines of a studio executive's office. With the best of intentions, it always seemed clear that the Friday the 13th franchise wouldn't end with the chapter that tried to end it all. A relentless filming and release schedule had seen one film released pretty much every year over a six-year period and whilst the overall quality of the films was decreasing, the demand from the public remained very high. Crediting the films with more substance than they ever had, it's worth remembering that this was the era of a new kind of sexual revolution and the Friday the 13th series was commonly seen as a cautionary tale about the ...

Undertow - Contracorriente (DVD) 01/05/2011

Beneath The Surface

Undertow - Contracorriente (DVD) In a quiet Peruvian seaside village, a man named Santiago lives a simple, but happy life with his wife Mariela. Earning a living as a fisherman, Santiago dotes on his wife and their unborn baby and enjoys the close-knit community of his coastal home, rich in faith and tradition. Strangers are seldom welcome in Santiago's town. A young artist named Hector lives alone in one of the beach huts and is shunned by the other men in the village if he ever chooses to take a drink with them. But Santiago does not shun Hector. The two men meet, secretly, in an abandoned house or a remote cove where they share romantic hours together. Santiago refuses to accept his sexuality and does everything in his power to keep Hector a secret, but is equally unable to deny his love and affection for the handsome artist. The relationship frequently leads to conflict between the two men and after a particularly heated row, Santiago storms off and leaves Hector on the isolated beach. For days, Santiago sees and hears nothing of Hector until he returns home from work one day. To his horror, Hector is stood in his kitchen, while Mariela is sat barely a few feet away. Before Santiago can react, however, he immediately becomes aware that Mariela is unable to see Hector. With tear-stained cheeks, Hector simply reaches out and asks Santiago to help him, and their relationship takes a sudden, very supernatural turn..... There's something inherently offensive about the term 'gay and lesbian cinema'. For a ...

Friday The 13th - Part 5 - A New Beginning (DVD) 27/04/2011

It Ain't Over ('Til The Guy In The Hockey Mask Sings)

Friday The 13th - Part 5 - A New Beginning (DVD) A review of the fifth film in the prolific series. A New Beginning was produced in 1985 and the region 2 DVD shouldn't cost you more than £5. It's a few years after the events of Friday the 13th part 4. Jason Voorhees is dead and buried, and the world rests easy that the infamous killer is long gone. For Tommy Jarvis, however, it's not as easy as that. Traumatised by the events of part 4, he has spent the time since being treated in a mental hospital and only now is capable of being moved to a less secure hostel, where he and other traumatised young people are gradually rehabilitated into the world. But it looks like the nightmare is about to begin all over again. When one of the residents goes psycho with an axe, it seems to catalyse a chain of events that within a very short period of time results in a new killer in town. As the bodies pile up, the authorities must consider the very real possibility that Jason Voorhees is back - and if it isn't Jason behind the slaughter then who else could it be....? Within the Friday XIII franchise, part five is probably the most infamous, and generally for all the wrong reasons. Produced and released for nothing other than shamelessly financial motivations, it's a lazy, unexciting addition to the series that seems to be going through all the wrong motions at all the wrong times in all the wrong ways. Whichever way you look at is, the fact remains that at the end of part four, the lead killer was dead. Really, really dead. There's no ...

Friday The 13th - Part 4 - The Final Chapter (DVD) 25/04/2011

The One You've All Been Screaming For (Apparently)

Friday The 13th - Part 4 - The Final Chapter (DVD) A review of just the film, this was the fourth in the series and was originally supposed to be the last. The film was originally released in 1984, but you can get this on region 2 DVD for around £4 or £5. Emergency crews are clearing up after a third massacre at Crystal Lake. Amidst the bodies of the teenagers they find the body of Jason Voorhees, still wearing his hockey mask, slain by an axe blow to the head. Transported to the local hospital, a doctor and nurse pay little attention to the killer's body - until it's too late.... Meanwhile, a group of friends is driving out to Crystal Lake for a break in the countryside. Arriving at their new woodland cabin, they meet and greet with the Trish and Tommy, a teenaged girl and her younger brother living next door with their mother, but the teenagers' minds are fixed solely on having fun - even if some of them are rather more relaxed about it than others. Trish and Tommy soon cross paths with a man named Rob who appears to be hiking through the woods, but when the legacy of Jason Voorhees rears its head once more, it becomes clear that there is more to Rob than meets the eye. The question is - will anyone stay alive long enough to figure it out? There aren't many film series that have survived longer than one or two sequels. As quality diminishes, interest in the franchise usually goes the same way and the studios normally have the sense to bring things to a halt whilst they can. What's even rarer, of course, is to find a ...

Friday The 13th - Part 3 (DVD) 22/04/2011

Jason's Back - In Another Dimension

Friday The 13th - Part 3 (DVD) Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the lake....a review of the third film in the prolific series. This was originally released in 1982 and the region 2 DVD shouldn't cost you more than £5 from most online DVD retailers. Hours after another massacre near Camp Crystal lake, a group of teenagers arrives near the lake to spend a weekend having some fun, oblivious to what has just happened. It's Chris's idea, a young woman who is intent on confronting some of her inner demons, even if it means spending the weekend with a group of horny, pot-smoking idiots. At the lake, the group soon settles in, but after an unfortunate incident at the local store, two of the teenagers manage to attract some unwanted attention in the shape of three leather-clad bikers. But unbeknown to all of them, they've attracted some more unwanted attention and the person watching them from the barn is carrying a machete...... Just one year after the release of the first sequel, the Friday the 13th franchise showed no signs of slowing down and a second sequel was unleashed to an eager audience without hesitation. The first one was good, the second one was pretty much just as good but already the recipe was starting to feel a bit tired and disregarding the host of terrible narrative errors made in later episodes, number three feels like the most tired of the lot. The recipe is already rather tired. All the ingredients from parts one and two are here, including a group of irritating and horny ...

Friday The 13th - Part 2 (DVD) 19/04/2011

Motherless and Murderous

Friday The 13th - Part 2 (DVD) It's now five years since the Camp Crystal massacre. The original camp is sealed off, ready to be condemned but that doesn't stop senior counsellor Paul Holt from going ahead with his plans to open a training camp for summer counsellors adjacent to the site of the infamous killings. Whilst everybody warns the incoming teenagers that they should stay well away, they take little advice and settle down for a summer of fun. Around the camp fire one night, Paul proceeds to tell them all the grisly story of Camp Blood and how the body of the original victim, Jason Voorhees, has never been found. But it's all just an urban legend. Isn't it? Friday the 13th part 2 might be set five years after the original but was actually released in cinemas just one year after the phenomenal success of the original slasher. It might seem like a tired concept now, but thirty years ago, this was fresh material and the cinema-goers of the early 1980s couldn't get enough of it. For the sequel, the original director bows out, introducing Steve Miner, who went on to direct the third film in the series before becoming a prolific television director. Miner plays things very simply here, capitalising on and repeating the successes of the first film, in many ways simply retreading what was seen as an extremely successful recipe. The climax of the first film made the storyline for the second part painfully easy to pull together. Looking back, both parts are notable for the absence of the now infamous hockey ...

Friday The 13th (DVD) 18/04/2011

Unlucky For Some - Deadly For Most

Friday The 13th (DVD) A review of the original film, which was released in 1980. 1958. Camp Crystal Lake. Two young camp counsellors are found brutally murdered. The camp is permanently closed down. Friday June 13th 1980. Camp Crystal Lake is due to re-open. A small group of teenaged counsellors arrives at the site to help get the camp ready for an imminent visit from inner city school children. As the light fades and evening sets in a terrible storm starts to batter down upon the camp's wooden cabins and the teenagers retreat to their various beds for the night. But they're not alone. Somebody is stalking the young counsellors and this somebody has a grudge. For some of the counsellors, this is going to be a very short night... This is the one that started it all. After nearly thirty years of sequels (nine or ten according to whether you include Freddy vs Jason) and countless copies, inspirations and imitations (and, of course, now a remake) it's hard to remember that at one time, the idea of a slasher movie was a new and original concept. Two years earlier, John Carpenter had set the trend with Halloween (which went on to spawn countless sequels itself) but Friday the 13th is perhaps better remembered as the definitive slasher movie, as it introduced more of the ingredients that were to become genre staples. An isolated location, a communications black-out, horny teenagers intent on nothing but getting high and having sex and a lunatic killer on the loose, who delights in despatching his ...

Wall-E (DVD) 17/04/2011


Wall-E (DVD) A review of the film only, Wall-E was produced in 2008 and released on region 2 DVD the same year. Seven hundred or so years from now, the planet is in a sorry state. Over-population and consumption of the Earth's resources mean that it is no longer habitable and has long since been abandoned. Amidst the dust and rubble of a famous American city, a lone, forgotten little figure scurries along the streets continuing his programming to collect trash. Wall-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth Class) has outlasted all the other robots assigned to this task, his only company is a small insect and his collection of 'treasure'. But for Wall-E, everything is about to change as EVE comes into his life and the Earth is really about to move.... I must be getting soft. Or old. One of the two. Who knows. The fact remains that in spite of a relentless pursuit of the most violent, gory and unpleasant films, occasionally I come across something that just stops me in my tracks and the track-stopper this time was Pixar's most recent release Wall-E. Pixar's material has previously been a mixed bag for me. It's hard to challenge the technical skill and artistic creativity behind their hugely successful films but the actual appeal of the stories has varied wildly. "Monsters Inc" was superb and yet "Toy Story" left me cold. "The Incredibles" was, well, incredible and yet "Cars" drove me mad. Given that Wall-E was written and directed by Andrew Stanton who previously wrote and directed Finding ...

Casino Royale (DVD) 16/04/2011

Shaken AND Stirred - What Is It About Bad Men?

Casino Royale (DVD) A reboot of the entire James Bond franchise, Casino Royale initially takes Bond back to the days immediately before he was promoted to '00' status and then tells the story of what happened next. A suspect under surveillance yields information that points to a man named Solange living in the Bahamas. Working independently of Mi6, Bond discovers that the man has terrorist links with a banker known as Le Chiffre. It becomes clear that Le Chiffre urgently needs to raise money and sets up a high stakes card game in Casino Royale in Montenegro. Bond is assigned to take his place at the table and prevent any of the funds falling into the hands of Le Chiffre. Accompanied by the beautiful Vesper Lynd and a local field agent, Bond travels to the beautiful casino, but must keeps his wits about him if he intends to win the game. It was 2006 and in the face of stiff competition from the likes of The Bourne trilogy, the studio executives at MGM clearly decided that if James Bond was to be brought back to the screen, things needed to change. Bond's traditionally humorous and rather camp attitude in the face of adversity was rather at odds with the tough new approach taken by Jason Bourne and it seemed that the world had outgrown the Bond of old. Maintaining the writing team that had been on board since 1999's The World Is Not Enough, acclaimed screenwriter Paul Haggis was added to the team and director Martin Campbell was invited back to direct (having previously worked on GoldenEye in ...

While She Was Out (DVD) 14/04/2011

I Spit On Your Toolbox Murders

While She Was Out (DVD) A review of just the film, While She Was Out was released on region 2 DVD in October 2008. A downtrodden housewife named Della has to make a late night visit to the mall to collect some last minute items for Christmas. Greeted by hordes of other customers with the same idea, she struggles to find a parking space, but eventually does so, no thanks to a particularly selfish shopper who has parked his car across two spaces. Leaving a snotty note on his windshield, she carries on with her shopping trip, thinking no more about it. But when she returns to her car, she soon discovers that the other driver has not forgotten about it and an inconvenient night rapidly changes into an escalating nightmare..... Well, this is a strange one. Based on a short story by an otherwise unknown author named Edward Bryant, While She Was Out is the directorial debut of Susan Montford, whose previous work includes production rights on the zany actioner Shoot 'Em Up and the film's production crew reads like a miscellaneous collection of Montford's Hollywood buddies. There's a stuntman in there, a TV producer and, most notably, there's one of the world's greatest fantasy horror directors - Guillermo Del Toro, the man behind Pan's Labyrinth. But it's not the creative team that's the strangest thing about this one. It's the plot. While She Was Out is a like a montage of clips from every 'woman in peril' thriller you've ever seen, assembled as if to provide a government health warning of what NOT to ...

Grindr X (iPhone Application) 13/04/2011

Grind It Boyfriend!

Grindr X (iPhone Application) Grindr is, in polite terms, a social networking application for gay men. In less polite circles, it is perhaps a little less social, and rather more sexual, but it is extremely popular and in this day and age, if you are not on Grindr then you are not normal. On this basis, it seemed only appropriate for me to sign up and see what all the fuss was about, purely for research purposes you understand. There are two versions of the application – a free one and a premium one, for which you pay £1.79 per month. The premium one offers enhanced capabilities to send private photos (cough) within your messages, a feature that I have learned is extremely popular indeed (cough). How it works So how does it work? Well, the application uses the built-in GPS within your smartphone to identify your current location. It then presents you with a screen of other Grindr users that are within your vicinity. These users are presented to you as little thumbnails, and you simply scroll/slide down the screen looking at all the picture of the guys that are near you. If you see someone that you like the look of, you can tap their picture to see a larger version. If you really like them, you can then tap a speech bubble, which opens up an instant chat facility. Type your message, press send and see what happens. Users don't have to give themselves a name and the name can be changed at any time, even if they do. Sometimes, people will appear namelessly, whereas other times they'll put something ...

Hitman (DVD) 12/04/2011

The Hitman And Her

Hitman (DVD) Reared as a killing machine, the mysterious hit man known only as Agent 47 has devoted his entire life to the pursuit of assassination. Working for a secret organisation known only as 'The Agency', Agent 47 moves mercilessly from one kill to another. Without hesitation, he leaves the authorities trailing behind him with scarcely a single clue to his identity. When he is assigned to assassinate a Russian politician, Agent 47 believes that he has completed another successful mission, until a news report indicates that the politician is, in fact, still alive. Knowing this cannot be the case, 47 investigates further but soon finds himself drawn into a political conspiracy. Helped only by a frightened young witness, 47 must outwit both the Russian military and Interpol if he is to stay alive. It's a good job that he's the best in the business then..... So the track record on adaptations of successful computer games is not entirely littered with success. Tomb Raider wasn't bad; the follow-up was rubbish. Silent Hill was a wasted opportunity Doom was just wasted. When I read that Hitman was to be adapted by the relatively unknown French director, Xavier Gens, it was pretty hard, therefore, to muster any sense of excitement. Pleasingly, however, Hitman is a relatively enjoyable slice of action cinema which, whilst a long way from being a masterpiece, is nonetheless entertaining enough to draw rousing cries of "that wasn't too bad, was it?" The premise is, of course, entirely ...

I Know Who Killed Me DVD 11/04/2011

You Have To See It To Believe It

I Know Who Killed Me DVD Teenager Aubrey Fleming has it all. A gifted piano player and grade A student, Aubrey is popular and intelligent, often immersing herself deep into another world, as she writes articulate and thoughtful fiction. After watching her boyfriend play in a football match, Aubrey is separated from her two friends, but agrees to meet up with them in another part of town. When she fails to arrive, her friends and boyfriend search for her in vain, but Aubrey has disappeared. Weeks later, a girl's unconscious body is found in a roadside ditch. Suffering horrific injuries, the mutilated girl is rushed to hospital, where she is identified as Aubrey Fleming. But when Aubrey regains consciousness, she fails to recognise her concerned parents. The girl in the recovery room claims to be Dakota Moss; a damaged young woman making her living as a stripper, who has never even heard of Aubrey Fleming. But if this is Dakota Moss, where is Aubrey Fleming - and will anyone believe Dakota's story before it's too late to save either of them? The producers of this film could rightly advertise that I Know Killed Me is the recipient of eight film awards. What they might not want to let on is that those awards are not Oscars; they're Razzies, the Hollywood equivalent of a wooden spoon, put together to celebrate the worst movies made. In 2007, I Know Who Killed Me was the winner of worst film, worst actress (twice), worst screenplay, worst remake, worst excuse for a horror film, worst screenplay and ...

See No Evil (DVD) 10/04/2011

See No Point

See No Evil (DVD) Having suffered terrible injuries during an attempt to arrest a psychopathic serial killer, an unfortunate police officer decides to make a career change and opts instead to look after young offenders. Accompanied by a female counterpart, he escorts a group of juveniles to the run-down Blackwell Hotel, where an elderly volunteer shows the kids what they have to do. The work is menial, but a reduction in their sentence in return for some hard labour seems like a good deal. But in the depths of Blackwell Hotel there lurks a secret. The visitors are not alone and their presence is not altogether welcome.... Wrestlers are, generally, good at wrestling. Singers tend to be not so bad at singing and actors can occasionally act. However, singers aren't so good at wrestling, actors aren't so good at singing and wrestlers really shouldn't try their hand at acting. But when they do, See No Evil is the kind of thing that happens. It's hard to believe I'm saying this, but See No Evil is so, well, superficial. It's essentially a vehicle for man-mountain Kane (a well-known WWF wrestler who's about nine feet tall and equally wide.) Even with my scant knowledge of wrestling, I'm guessing he's normally a meanie in the ring, because he sure as hell is on the big screen. Perfectly cast in the role, Kane (real name Glen Jacobs for the fact-o-philes) is a nasty, hook swinging, eye-gouging, ass-clenching loony who doesn't take kindly to being disturbed. Handy, then (for the sake of a mediocre ...
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