Sunday, 31 August 2014

Battlestar Galactica 1880: Issue One Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Tony Lee

Art By
Aneke
Alex Starling

Lettering By
Marshall Dillon

Cover By
Adrian Syaf

Published By
Dynamite Entertainment

Genre
Science Fiction, Action, Adventure, Television Tie-In

Synopsis

Welcome to the world of Battlestar Galactica as never seen before, as #1 NYT Bestselling Author Tony Lee gives it a Steampunk spin! After Professor Baltar's clockwork Cylonics destroy the Colonial Empire, Arch Duke Adama learns that his son Apollo is missing! 

It's up to Lady Athena to travel to the Sky Pirate world of the Rising Star and ask for help from the only hope she has - the disgraced Captain Starbuck and his humanoid / Daggit copilot Muffit...

Review

For the last few years the Steampunk culture has been gaining a bit revival and that's show massively in books, movies and comic books.  There have been some amazing authors such as George Mann really showing that the sub culture is one that can feel exciting and fresh despite having its feet planted firmly in the past.

It was inevitable that someone would take a chance and put a Steampunk spin on a classic television series and in this case, it's Dynamite Entertainment that have taken the classic version of Battlestar Galactica and given it the Steampunk treatment.  When I read that they were going to take a shot at going this route with the series, I have to admit that I thought it would end up one of two ways.  It would either be an absolutely fantastic comic book mini series or it would be a complete mess.

That's when I saw who would be writing it.  Tony Lee.  The best selling author as well as the man who wrote a Battlestar Galactica prequel series for Dynamite Entertainment.

With that in mind, I went to the local comic shop and grabbed myself a copy of issue one to see just how it would pan out.  Would they do justice to characters that I have grown up watching?  Would the new spin on the popular show breath new life in to the stories?

I must say that the answer is a resounding yes from this fan.

The story written by Tony Lee starts, quite literally, with a bang and doesn't let up for one second.  The popular characters are all present here but the changes made to them to fit them in to the new vision of their world are largely successful.  My favorite being the changes made to Daggit that have to be seen.

The story of how Baltar wanted to come to power using his creations is given a superb new spin here by Lee and once again, the love he obviously has for the characters shows.  You're shown just enough to know who you are going to be seeing in the story and some great back story work, which has led me as a fan to eagerly await issue two with baited breath.  I'm not going to say much more about the story because I would love the Battlestar Galactica fans out there to catch this one themselves.

Art wise, Aneke has really done something amazing.  The characters have been given a makeover and look utterly brilliant.  The new looks given to such legendary characters as Adama, Apollo and Starbuck really work superbly well but wait til you see how Boomer looks in this one!

The settings are utterly fantastic.  They manage to not only have a classic feel to them but they also keep to the futuristic feeling that made the series so popular with science fiction fans not only in the 70's but now as well.  Aneke does a great job of including enough to make the long time fans happy while giving the tale a much needed and rather unique spin.

All in all, this is definitely one of Dynamite Entertainment's more unique television tie-in titles and it shows but in a good way.  I will admit that this rather different take on the popular show may not be to every fans taste but I personally loved it.

Story 8/10
Art 8.5/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 8.5/10
Overall 33/40

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Monster Home Issue 1 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Dan Barnes

Art By
Stefano Cardoselli
Dan Barnes

Cover By
Stefano Cardoselli
Dan Barnes

Published By
Dead Bride Comics

Genre
Horror, Action

Synopsis

What would happen if infamous monster hunter Abraham Van Helsing was locked in an asylum with all the dreaded creatures he used to hunt?.... You're about to find out!

Review

With such an enigmatic synopsis as that, I knew that I was definitely going to pick this one up.  After following Dead Bride Comics and liking their other releases, I must admit that I was excited to get my hands on this one.  As soon as it went up on their site, I ordered myself a copy and it's been a while since I've done that with a comic.

I didn't need to worry about whether or not the first issue of Monster Home would live up to the hopes I had for it because I know that Dan Barnes' writing always has a touch of action, wry humor and a load of pop culture and movie references in.  However, here in Monster Home, he's taken a different approach.  The writing is much darker, has tighter pacing and really made me think of the the 1990's horror comics I loved so much yet retaining Barnes' own voice.

The main gist of Monster Home is that all the monsters from the classic horror stories and movies that we know so well have ended up in a decrepit looking asylum and Van Helsing, yes the famed vampire hunter from Bram Stoker's Dracula, has been brought there too.  The thing that I liked the most about the story itself is that you're not told everything is going on.  You're not told why the monsters are there and more.  There are moments of Helsing's past hinted at before they launch in to the back story of how he met Ygor and that led to an ending that has really made me eager to get to issue two.

I must admit that with a lot of indie comics having Mignola style art in their stories that I was getting a little burned out by it so when I saw the style that was like a rougher Mignola that I was a bit worried that I wouldn't enjoy it as much yet it fitted the story perfectly.  The use of shadows and the angles used in the panel work really gave the issue a bit of a movie feel to it.  You could almost imagine it as a heavily animated horror movie and I loved that about it.  As the issue went on, the art really seemed to take a darker slant and the was most true at the ending that I mentioned earlier.  It really had that feeling of being able to grab you and bring you full on in to the story.

All in all, this is a superb debut issue for Monster Home and I, for one, will definitely be grabbing the follow up and so should you.

Story 8/10
Art 8/10
Cover 9/10
Recommended 8.5/10
Overall 33.5/40

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Leave To Remain Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Bruce Goodison
Charlotte Colbert

Directed By
Bruce Goodison

An Indefinite Films Movie

Genre
Drama

Cast

Toby Jones as Nigel
Zarrien Masieh as Abdul
Noof Ousellam as Omar
Yasmin Mwanza as Zizidi
Farshid Rokey as 5 Names
Melanie Wilder as Chloe
Tressy Nzau as Umi
Gloire Mobote as Big Man
Fawad Sherzad as Khalid

Year Released
2013

Certificate
15

Synopsis

Omar, a charismatic Afghan teenager, is at the precarious juncture of having his refugee status decided, when the arrival of a boy from back home threatens to change everything. Forced into a position where the outcome may be the difference between life and death, his only options are to tell the unbelievable truth or to tell a good story? 

For Omar, and thousands like him, who arrive alone and scared to our shores each year, the asylum system is a cruel game of chance.

Review

Bruce Goodison is known for his work involving some very hard hitting and sometimes controversial subjects and here is no different.  For some people, asylum seeking no matter what the reason is a highly sensitive subject.

In Leave to Remain that subject is not only put across in a subtle manner but also one that creeps under your skin and doesn't leave your mind when you leave the cinema.  I loved the fact that you were shown every part of the characters lives, both good and bad, until you felt like you were with them.  You felt like you knew them in fact.  That simple and personal storytelling really gives the movie an emotional edge.

The sheer emotion of the movie is not only down to the direction by Bruce Goodison and the writing but also down to the utterly brilliant cast.  On one hand you have the supremely talented Toby Jones, who gives a gentle and brilliantly absorbing performance as the man trying everything he can to help the group live as peaceful and normal a life as they possibly can while trying to prepare them for their lives in this country if their claims are successful.  Normally with an actor such as Jones in one of the main roles, you would completely expect him to own the movie but that's not the case here.

In fact, as good as Jones' performance is, it's the parts of the asylum seeker characters that utterly steal the movie for me and so they should.  They give such heartfelt, emotional performances that they had me in tears more than once during the movie.  For me the stand outs were Yasmin Mwanza as Zizidi, who was absolutely mesmerizing and was one of the reasons I was in tears and Noof Ousellam, as Omar.  The character of Omar has you feeling every emotion that you possibly can feel in just the time span of the movie.  However, the absolute star of the movie has to be, without a shadow of a doubt, Zarrien Masieh as Abdul.  Masieh gave such an accomplished performance that you couldn't take your eyes off of him whenever he appeared in a scene.  The skill that he told his told, a lot of the time using only facial expressions, was truly captivating.

I don't say this movie often but this is definitely a movie that not only has to be seen but needs to be seen as well.  With such strong performances, a beautiful soundtrack from Alt-J and a story that is both heart breaking and beautiful at the same time, this movie is an absolute can't miss.

Movie 9/10


Devil Dealers Graphic Novel Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Ross May

Art By
Brett Wood
Victor Moya
Ayela Moya
Kirsty Swan

Cover By
Brett Wood
Victor Moya

Published By
AAM / Markosia

Genre
Supernatural, Thriller

Synopsis

The world's greatest card shark. A woman outracing the Devil. A fiddler who'll make the sun come up. A chess player with a master plan. And a bluesman who can bring anyone to tears. They're the best at what they do, and they're going to show the Devil how things are done.

Review

The idea of someone making a deal with the devil has always been a storyline that I have been interested in for various reasons.  Why would they make a deal, what would they deal for and much more besides.  Over the years we've had a great many movies, books and comics that have gone that route.  Some have been brilliant, some forgettable and others have been downright awful.

When I was given the chance to review this, the new release written by Ross May, I was very excited to see where he would take this new version of the oft written tale.

Well, the answer to that is a simple one.  He takes it in many different directions and most definitely keeps the readers on their toes with the sheer amount of twists and turns here.

With so many stories running alongside one another you would expect a little bit of a disjointed story but that's not really the case here.  The subtle pacing at the beginning helps with that by taking a little bit of time to get going.  That isn't a bad  thing because it gives the readers time to get to grips with the characters and their quirks.  This was a nice pleasant surprise from some of the other releases I've read recently where they jump straight in to the story and  that leaves you with flat characters.  There were a couple of moments where there seemed to be a couple of minor plot holes but for the most part, this is an extremely well written and interesting take on the idea of making a deal with the devil.

Art wise, it was the bright colors used by Kirsty Swan that really caught my eye.  That combined with the art and ink by the team of Brett Wood, Victor Moya and Ayela Moya really make this a release from Markosia to keep an eye on.  It really is a feast for the eyes and completely brings the story and characters to life in a big way.

All in all, this is a very good release from Markosia and really shows just how strong their releases have been recently.  The sly and witty pop culture references are well done without being over the top or annoying and the story itself really takes a good stab at making an often used storyline feel new.  Definitely one worth picking up.

Story 7.5/10
Art 8.5/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 32/40

Monday, 25 August 2014

Dr Who: Deep Breath Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Steven Moffat

Directed By
Ben Wheatley

Genre
Science Fiction, Adventure

Cast

Peter Capaldi as The Doctor
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswin
Neve McIntosh as Madame Vastra
Dan Starkey as Strax
Catrin Stewart as Jenny Flint
Peter Ferdinando as Half-Face Man
Paul Hickey as Inspector Gregson

Year Released
2014

Certificate
PG

Synopsis

When the doctor arrives in Victorian London he finds a dinosaur rampant in the Thames and a spate of deadly spontaneous combustions.

Review

I was lucky enough to get hold of tickets to the cinema screen of the premiere episode of the eighth season of the regenerated version of the long running science fiction show.

Much has been made of the casting of Peter Capaldi as the replacement to the Matt Smith version of The Doctor.  We were promised a completely different Doctor to the one that Smith portrayed but just how different would Capaldi be?

Well, while we ended the episode with quite a few more questions than we started with, we also were given a glimpse in to what the Capaldi era could hold for us Whovians.

One of the things I liked the most was the fact that Capaldi was playing the regenerated Doctor superbly well, flitting in between madness and clarity.  This was done in a poignant way, especially in some of the scenes with Clara and then with a tramp, played by Brian Miller, where he wonders just who he is and why he has the face he has now.  This is also taken in such a way that it really tackles the relationship between the Doctor and Clara in a heartfelt way.  It almost felt like they were tackling some of the prejudices that some of the younger viewers may have against Capaldi's age and appearance.

Another great touch was the talk between the massively creepy Half-Face Man, played by Peter Ferdinando with great style and creepiness, and The Doctor.  You are left wondering just what happened between the two of them and Capaldi's performance really lent itself well to that.  This then led in to an interesting ending with a new character named Missy.  I get the feeling that she is going to be a very big part of this series and I'm really looking forward to seeing just how she will fit in to the larger Dr Who puzzle.

However, my favorite part of the episode was easily the reappearance of Strax, Vastra and Jenny, easily three of my favorite characters in the Dr Who world.  It was great to see some new layers to the three characters too, especially with some of the more comedic moments between Strax and Clara but that also lent itself superbly well to exploring her feelings about the new incarnation, especially in some of the back and forth scenes between herself and Vastra.

All in all, I think this was a great start to the Capaldi era.  We got a glimpse of the kind of the Doctor he is going to be, some returning characters as well as a couple of new ones, a very heartfelt ending involving a phone call from a past character as well as a role for Brian Miller, the husband of the late Elisabeth Sladen.  If this is just the start of Capaldi's run then I can't wait for the second episode.

Show 8/10

The Dead Lands Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Dylan J. Morgan

Published By
DJM Entertainment

Genre
Science Fiction, Horror

Synopsis

Lane is a bounty hunter for Erebus’ corrupt government, his life a constant battle against past demons. Framed for murder, Lane is offered one option to avoid the death penalty: rejoin the army and partake in a covert operation to the apocalyptic world of Hemera, Erebus’ sister planet.

A century after the nuclear conflict that ended mankind’s third age, Hemera has now sent a distress signal to its sister: the president has awoken, and he’s calling for aid. Early intelligence reports indicate the mission will be straightforward, that Hemera is a vacant shell with all forms of life and hostility extinguished.

They are wrong.

Bandits control the dead lands, but there are things much worse waiting for Lane and his squadron once they enter the city walls. Having lived with the nightmares of his shattered past, Lane must now face the mutated horrors of mankind’s future in the toughest battle of his life.

Review

As someone that is a huge science fiction nut and a horror nut, I jumped at the chance to read this one after having it recommended to me by the writer Sharon Stevenson.

The synopsis for the story itself really gripped me as soon as I read it.  I loved the idea of someone not only going on what could be a suicide mission but also dealing with his mental and personal demons.  Morgan not only writes this side of the storyline well but does so with such a sense of style that you really get sucked in to his life and his world to such a degree that you can't help but go for just one more page.

One of the things that I noticed that raised this above the many books in this genre were Morgan's characters.  They're so well written and developed that you root for them, despise them, cheer for them and even feel sadness when some of them are taken out of the world that Morgan has made for them to inhabit.

Talking of worlds, the ones created here are superb and really leap off of the page at you.  In fact, the descriptive nature of the writing really creates such images in your head while reading that it takes on an almost cinematic feel.  I could honestly see this being a bit summer blockbuster but one that has plot, characters and excitement in spades.

The main thing that I liked the most about this book was that quite simply, you didn't know what was going to happen next.  No character was safe.  There were some amazingly gripping twists throughout the book as well as some characters that you can't help but hate as well as want to live and continue in the story itself.

With such a gripping story as this one, I will definitely be checking out more of Morgan's work.  If this is anything to go by then he is a big talent in the genre.

Story 8.5/10
Art 9/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 8.5/10
Overall 34/40

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Flesh Tones Issue 1 is Now Available to Buy!


Hello boys and girls.

I've been talking about a couple of comic book projects that I have been working on for a while back and I can finally announce that one of them is now available to buy from the Dark Pond Creations store over on the Sellfy site.

Flesh Tones: Issue 1 is going to be an ongoing anthology style series that will have a couple of shorter stories in it each time or maybe just a one shot story.  Think of it as a lucky dip but with a bit of a darker horror feeling.



In this debut issue, we have two stories.  The first is called The Mansion and was illustrated by the supremely talented Lee Taylor, who is the artist for the Collateral: Dear John series.

The Mansion tells the story of a young married couple who have inherited their grandfather's mansion.  After traveling there for their anniversary, they were expecting a quiet but romantic evening but they were very wrong.

The second story is Real Horror and was illustrated by the amazing artist Dan Charnley.  The idea for this story came from my own mindset really after a really awful day depression wise. I started thinking about the old saying about the world "going to Hell in a handbasket" and that put a thought in my head.  What if the world really was going to Hell?  If it was, what would the person that is involved in that be thinking?

Voila, Real Horror, was born.



Well, I hope you like my debut release and keep an eye on the Sellfy site for more of my releases, especially my zombie series with Carlos Moreno called The Meek that will be coming out very soon!

To buy the digital copy of Flesh Tones: Issue One please visit the Dark Pond Creations Shop!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

KFZ: Kentucky Fried Zombies DVD Review


aka Die-ner (Get It?)

Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written and Directed By
Patrick Horvath

A Shot in the Dark Film

Genre
Horror, Comedy

Cast

Joshua Grote as Ken
Liesel Kopp as Kathy
Parker Quinn as Rob
Maria Olsen as Rose
Larry Purtell as Duke
Daniel Schweiger as Jessie
Jorge Montalvo as Fred

Year Released
2009

Certificate
15

Synopsis

When an irreverent serial killer stops into a remote diner, the graveyard shift gets a meal to die for - literally! 

Shortly after Ken makes the waitress and the cook his latest victims, the local sheriff and a bickering young couple stop in for a late snack, and to everyone's surprise, so do the un-dead neighbors, back for revenge! 

Special Features
  • Trailer
Review

As a fan of low budget horror and especially as a fan of the legendary Maria Olsen, I was very eager to finally manage to get my hands on this one and get to see some zombie goodness.

When you come in to a movie with a movie such as Kentucky Fried Zombies, or in the case of the American release, Die-ner (Get It?) you know exactly what to expect and that is to not take this at all seriously.  In fact, I would say this movie works best as an extremely dark comedy and that's how I went in to watching it.

As an ultra low budget comedy horror, this movie works very well.  A couple of the performances are a little stiff but, and let's be honest here, we have all seen a lot worse in these sorts of movies.

One of the performances that works the best for me was definitely Joshua Grote.  He looks and sounds like a younger and definitely more cynical / sarcastic version of Edward Norton.  A lot of the dark humor comes from the deadpan way he delivers his lines and that really had me laughing and smirking a lot during the movie.  I also liked the fact that instead of being terrified of the zombies upraising around him, he was more interested in the idea of them coming back from the dead after he had murdered them in the beginning of the movie.

If you are gore hound, you might feel a little short changed by the lack of gore but to dismiss it as not worth watching because of that would be a real shame.  I do love my gore in my horror movies but the grainy and gritty feel of the movie worked better without it.  The feel of the movie had a bit of an old eighties horror to it and I loved that slightly nostalgic take on a well worn genre.  They even managed to do the old chestnut of "kill me if I turn" line without it come across as groan worthy.

One of the things that did bug me were a couple of the editing moments made a couple of scenes feel like they had skipped ahead.  I even rewound it once because I thought that I had leaned on the remote.  That's worse on the 'duct tape' scene where the screen appears to go black as soon as the last syllable has come out of the characters mouth and then all of a sudden we're back in the scene a little bit forward in time.  I know they couldn't have shown him getting taped up, because that would have taken a lot of time, but the editing just felt a little messy on that part.

All in all, this low budget horror comedy is a gem.  I really enjoyed the bitter and sometimes cynical take on the zombie genre and will definitely be watching it again.  Just ignore the DVD cover because I have no idea where on Earth the explosions on there came from because they sure weren't from this movie.

Movie 7/10
Picture 7/10
Sound 7/10
Special Features N/A
Overall 21/30


Monday, 18 August 2014

The Final Battle Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
William C. Dietz

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Science Fiction, Military

Synopsis

Decades ago, the corrupt Imperial government was overthrown and the Hudathans defeated.  But peace with such an aggressive alien race could not last, and war has broken out once more.

The Hudathans, imprisoned on the very planet they devastated, are on the rise - and this time they have a cyborg army of their own.

Review

Titan Books decision to reissue the Legion of the Damned series by William C. Dietz was a superb one.  The renowned science fiction series has been steadily finding new fans as well as reminding Dietz's fans of just why the series is so beloved by science fiction fans.

I didn't get a chance to read this one the first time around but when Titan Books started their run of reissues of the series, I jumped at the chance to sink my teeth in to another installment of the series.

One of the things that struck me the most about this one is that Dietz had done really well at building up the slowly growing feeling of dread and angst throughout the rest of the stories that when the action hit, it more than did the rest of the series justice.  In fact, it had such a cinematic feel to it that you could picture every inch of the battlefield, feel every weapon blast and it hooked me in to such a point that there were times when you even felt that the story was unfolding right before your very eyes.

A lot of the time it's the characters that are given the short end of the stick in these sorts of stories with the author instead going for all out action but that's not the case here at all.  Dietz not only gives the characters room and time to grow and to breathe but also for the readers to want to know just what will happen to them next.  When someone of them inevitably fall during the story, you are shocked that it would have happen to them.  I liked that emotional link to the story.

It is easy to see why the series and why William C. Dietz is so renowned.  The story is involving, exciting and full of some brilliant twists and turns that will thrill even the most hardened science fiction fan.  If you are a fan of Dietz then there's a fair chance that you will already have this one but if you haven't, then it is definitely well worth adding to your shelf.

Story 8.5/10
Characters 8/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 8.5/10
Overall 33/40

Alphas: Season One Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Created By
Michael Karnow
Zak Penn

Genre
Action, Drama, Science Fiction

Watched on Netflix

Cast

David Strathairn as Dr. Lee Rosen
Ryan Cartwright as Gary Bell
Warren Christie as Cameron Hicks
Azita Ghanizada as Rachel Pirzad
Laura Mennell as Nina Theroux
Malik Yoba as Bill Harken
Mahershala Ali as Nathan Clay
John Pyper-Ferguson as Stanton Parish
Kathleen Monroe as Danielle Rosen

Year Released
2011

Certificate
15

Synopsis

Noted neurologist and psychologist Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn) heads up a government sponsored team that includes Cameron (Warren Christie), a former Marine with the superhuman ability of 'hyperkinesis'; Rachel (Azita Ghanizada), a former CIA linguist with the ability to 'heighten' one of her five senses; and Gary (Ryan Cartwright), who through 'technopathy' can interact with wireless communication signals and process information as fast as any computer. 

Review

There was a lot of hype amongst my comic friends about this series when it came out but sadly, I never got the chance to catch it while it was being shown on television before it went the way of most television series' these days and got cancelled but was that a fair decision?

Well, from what I have seen after watching season one on Netflix, I would have to say no.

I have to admit that at first, the series didn't really grab me.  The first couple of episodes were good but just didn't seem to hook me in as much as I was expecting them to but the third episode is where the series started to come together.  We got to see a little bit more of the characters and, in much the way as they do in the series itself, the different people involved seemed to mesh better.

After the teething problems in the first couple of episodes, the action really started to hot up.  That's when we started to get a bit of a glimpse of the conspiracy that is surrounding the various types of 'Alpha' that have appeared.  The series' use and way of showing the different powers and abilities was extremely well done and made me really want to get under the skin of the people that those skills belonged to.

The stories themselves all worked fairly well as standalone stories but at the same time rewarded the fans that stuck through the first season, culminated in an exciting ending.

The one thing that did bother me was the simple fact that there were a couple of stories where there seemed to be characters that didn't really do anything.  That was most true of Rachel a couple of times.  I think her power is incredibly interesting but seemed a little underused for the most part but hopefully that will change in the second, and last, season.

There were some great guest appearances, with more to apparently come in the second season, including Summer Glau (Firefly / Serenity), Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica / Californication) and more but the series for me definitely belongs to Ryan Cartwright, who as Gary Bell really does an amazing job of bring the character to life with humor and gentleness.

All in all, while not as gripping as I had hoped, the first season really did pick up steam after a couple of episodes and built up really well to an ending that has made me want to jump straight in to the second season. 

Show 7/10


Sunday, 17 August 2014

The House of Magic Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Ben Stassen
Dominic Paris
James Flynn

Directed By
Ben Stassen
Jeremy Degruson

A nWave Pictures, Studio Canal International, Anton Capital Entertainment, Umedia Film

Genre
Animated, Adventure, Family

Cast

Doug Stone as Lawrence
George Babbit as Zoltar / Jack / Carlo
Murray Blue as Thunder / Dylan
Kathleen Browers as Carla
Shanelle Gray as Maggie
Grant George as Daniel
Sage Sommer as Izzy
Danny Mann as Dimitri
Joey Camen as Chihiuahua
Nina Grillo as Audrey

Year Released
2013 (USA) 2014 (UK)

Certificate
U

Synopsis

Thunder, an abandoned young cat seeking shelter from a storm, stumbles into the strangest house imaginable, owned by an old magician and inhabited by a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos.

Review

When I saw the trailer for this one, the first thing that struck me was that it felt a little bit like a Neil Gaiman story but a bit softer, which intrigued me so I took my little lad to see it.

Now that I have seen this one I have to admit that I have completely fell in love with it.  It's true that the story itself doesn't exactly break new ground but it's handled with such a grace and gentle nature that it's nigh on impossible to not fall head over heels with it.

This co-production with France really has a nice flair to it that you don't seem to get in movies from the guys at Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks and the others.  That flair is the most present in the set design and the scenery.  There really is a nice style to the movies various settings that really wouldn't be out of place in a Neil Gaiman story.

At the heart of the story is not only the emotional heart involving the cat Thunder being abandoned and just wanting to find somewhere to live and be loved but also the emotion around the character of Lawrence.  His story is one of kindness yet also sadness at the same time.  His hurt at also being abandoned by his nephew Daniel, who wants to sell the house from under him is really well written and performed by Doug Stone.

The gadgets and characters in the movie are utterly charming and beautifully animated.  I would have liked to have seen a little more back story to the rabbit character Jack so that I could see more of why he was so closed off to new additions to the family or why he had such a grouchy personality.  Yet near the action packed ending of the movie, he felt a little bit forgotten.

As I took my son to the movie itself, I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention what he thought about it.  He was hooked through the entire run time of the movie and absolutely loved the characters.  In fact, he was talking about it all the way home and asked if he could go see it again.  You can't ask for more than that from a family movie can you?

All in all, while it's not a groundbreaking movie, it is a beautiful one.  It's entertaining, charming and exciting enough to keep the little ones attentions.  There are a couple of moments that might scare the smaller children, such as Daniel chasing Thunder with a shotgun that I felt was a bit off considering the rest of the movie, but it's well worth taking them to just to see the wonderful sense of wonder and magic.

Movie 7.5/10

Saturday, 16 August 2014

The Meek Issue One Cover Reveal


We here at Curiosity of a Social Misfit, along with the guys from Dark Pond Creations, have got a bit of a sneak peek for you.

Launching in October is a new zombie series called The Meek.

Written by Patrick Scattergood and illustrated by Carlos Moreno, The Meek tells the story of Edward.  A man so numbed by the pain, death and gore around him that each day is not only a struggle to survive in the midst of an apocalyptic illness that has turned most of the population in to flesh eating creatures but also to reach his wife.

Alive.  Dead.  Undead.

Pick a side because soon the meek will inherit the Earth.


Cover Designed By Patrick Scattergood
Art By Carlos Moreno
Coloring By Dan Barnes
 
Coming October 2014

The Nut Job Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Lorne Cameron
Peter Lepeniotis
Robert Reece
Daniel Woo

Directed By
Peter Lepeniotis

A Gulfstream Pictures, Red Rover Entertainment, ToonBox Entertainment Film

Genre
Comedy, Animated, Adventure

Cast

Will Arnett as Surly
Brendan Fraser as Grayson
Liam Neeson as Raccoon
Katherine Heigl as Andie
Stephen Lang as King
Maya Ruldoph as Precious
Jeff Dunham as Mole
Gabriel Iglesias as Jimmy

Special Appearance by Psy

Year Released
2014

Certificate
U

Synopsis

An incorrigibly self-serving exiled squirrel finds himself helping his former park brethren raid a nut store to survive, that is also the front for a human gang's bank robbery.

Review

As the father of a five year old, I tend to end up watching a whole load of family movies both animated and otherwise.  Some have been absolutely brilliant, some have entertained him but bored the daylights out of me and others have been absolutely awful.  Where would this new offering starring Will Arnett, fresh off of his hilarious performance as Batman in The Lego Movie, end up?

Well, I have to admit that while it didn't entertain me as much as some of the other movies I have watched with my son, neither was it as bad as some of the reviews have made it out to be.

The thing that obviously struck me the most was just how beautiful the animation is.  It's definitely the look of the movie with it's subtle nods to the 1950's that really saves the movie from being a forgettable animation.  The level of detail, while not up to the massively high standard of Pixar, is absolutely beautiful and looks fantastic, especially with the animal characters.

However, the story itself isn't the most original in the world but is still mostly entertaining.  The one problem that I had with the writing is that there were a couple of scenes where there was so much happening and so many characters that they tended to all merge in to a bit of a mess.  That said there were some great scenes that my son howling with laughter.  The humor may not be the best and most intelligent that I have ever seen in a family movie but it's enough to keep the little ones entertained at least.

With such a great cast, I have to admit that I was expecting little more 'bang for your buck' in the performance stakes.  A couple of the characters just seemed to be going through the motions but I really enjoyed Liam Neeson as the Raccoon.  Neeson really seemed to be enjoying the role and it really showed in the finished product.

All in all, I wouldn't say that this is an essential family movie but it's at least worth catching to keep the little ones entertained.

Movie 6/10

Friday, 15 August 2014

Code 991 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
David Heath

Art and Cover By
Anita Zaramella

Published By
Bilateral Comics

Genre
Science Fiction, Detective, Noir

Synopsis

Detective Jeff Millet is a bitter, cynical detective on his beat.  Resigned to the fact that it will be a normal night of murder, death and crime, he pounds the streets but this would be the night that everything changes.

Review

Bilateral Comics, helmed by the writer David Heath, have slowly been gaining a reputation for putting quality stories out there but in a mixture of genres.

Code 991 is their newest offering and I'm going to be honest here.  It absolutely blows their previous releases out of the water.

The idea of a bitter and cynical detective pounding the streets and lamenting his life may not be a new one to comic book fans but the way David Heath has handled it has made it his own.  The character of Jeff Millet is used to not only further the story but also gives a great commentary on how the world has been becoming recently.  Millet's voice comes across as someone that just wants a quiet life for himself and for the human race to stop doing messed up things to one another.  That's not too much to ask right?  I'm sure we've all felt like that before,

The story really progresses with a subtle yet quick pace.  It's rather hard to marry the two without the story being disjointed but Code 991 doesn't have that problem, instead packing in a lot in to it's 19 pages.  With Millet being the voice of reason during the story, the proceeding tale really packs an emotional punch and came across as a bit of a mix of an old Humphrey Bogart movie and even has hints of Blade Runner while maintaining it's own voice.

With the art being handled by the supremely talented Anita Zaramella, the story of Detective Jeff Millet is given a hard edged, dark and gritty feel without feeling too in your face with it's influences.  The line work and panel placement really marries with the pacing of the writing superbly and had me completely hooked all the way through.  The thing that struck me the most was Zaramella's masterful use of shadows to tell the story.

If you are looking for a quality science fiction story but with a classic film noir slant then this is definitely the story for you and is the best to come out of the Bilateral Comics stable by far.

Story 8.5/10
Art 9/10
Cover 9/10
Recommended 8.5/10
Overall 35/40

For more information on their forthcoming titles you can follow their Facebook page!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Where the Witches Lurk Issue 6 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Joe Pezzula

Art By
Donny Gandakusuma
Jesse Hansen
Cornerstone Studios
Chris Man

Lettering By
Ben Glibert

Cover By
Donny Gandakusuma

Published By
Joe Pezzula

Genre
Supernatural, Adventure

Synopsis

Gina and Tina learned about the Dark Witch's history in Haslow Falls as Sarah told the tale of her beginnings.  They prepare for their final battle in the hunt to save their father.

Meanwhile, Smythe managed to save LaMontagne and eliminate the Dark Witch's possession of Officer Fordyce, who had become a danger to the town's police force.

Smythe now holds the key to the Dark Witch's powers, while Tina and Gina must finally face her in...

Issue 6: Last Stand of the Dark Witch!

Review

As a big fan of the first five issues of Where the Witches Lurk by Joe Pezzula, I couldn't wait to get my hands on to issue 6.  It promised to be the culmination of the storyline but at the same, offered to teach us more about the characters we have grown to be so interested in.

The one question that plagued me before reading this was just how was Pezzula and his team going to not only keep up the momentum of the other issues but also wrap the storyline up enough to please the fans that have been present throughout the six issue run.

Well I must admit that while not all the loose ends were tied up in a nice, neat bow, that's fine because Pezzula has made a very brave move in giving this issue a rather open ending.  Just what will happen to the family next?  Will the witch ever be truly defeated?  What else is in Sarah's past?  There is a lot that while I would love to get the answers to, the open ending works because it brings the story full circle but also gives a good nod to, hopefully, future issues.

The story itself had a massively quick pacing to it, which in lesser hands would have felt rushed and rough but in Pezzula's hands it felt almost like a supernatural action movie.  Talking of action, it came thick and fast in this issue and had a great showdown between the girls and the Dark Witch.  The only problem I had with the quickness of the pace of this issue was that I would have liked to have seen and heard a little more of the characters involved and seen a bit more detail in just what they were doing to stop the halt of the witches power.  However, what is here is superb and with the open ending that I mentioned earlier, we'll hopefully be getting some more tales set in this world.

Art wise, it's been one of the most consistent series for quality that I have read in a long time.  I would even say that as a writer myself, this series has made me want to work with the team themselves.  I don't normally say that about a lot of artists, especially in a review, but the art here was consistently good for the entire six issue run.  

All in all, I'm definitely hoping to see a whole load more of these characters from Pezzula and his motley crew of artists.

Story 8/10
Art 8/10
Cover 8.5/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 32.5/40

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sherlock Holmes: The Spirit Box Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
George Mann

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Thriller, Crime

Synopsis

Summer, 1915. As Zeppelins rain death upon the rooftops of London, eminent members of society begin to behave erratically: a Member of Parliament throws himself naked into the Thames after giving a pro-German speech to the House; a senior military advisor suggests surrender before feeding himself to a tiger at London Zoo; a famed suffragette suddenly renounces the women's liberation movement and throws herself under a train.

In desperation, an aged Mycroft Holmes sends to Sussex for the help of his brother, Sherlock.

Review

As a massive fan of George Mann from his Doctor Who stories right through to his  Newbury and Hobbs steampunk novels, I know to expect a great story with superb pacing and a ton of twists and turns.  That's why he is a solid hand to choose to write a Sherlock Holmes novel.

 As well as editing the two Sherlock Holmes anthologies that Titan Books put out recently, Mann also wrote a great addition to their Holmes library in the shape of The Will of the Dead.  That was a great and exciting adventure for the worlds most famous detective.  Would this follow up be as good?

Well, it's George Mann so we all know the answer to that already don't we?

The Spirit Box manages to be one of two things.  It feels like a story that wouldn't have been out of place in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle era of Holmes but at the same time it feels like it has an eye to the future while staying true to the period.

One of the great things that Mann manages to do is not only stay true to the feel of the characters themselves but he also manages to put his own spin on them.  The idea of the aged and broken down Mycroft Holmes having to reach out to his brother Sherlock is written especially well.  There's the feeling of anger, jealousy but also one of a grudging respect between the two and Mann handles that side of the pairs relationship with aplomb and style.

The mystery itself is a great one.  It works so well because of the masterful pacing that George Mann employs.  At times it's got an exciting quick pace and the action comes thick and fast, really hooking the reader in to the mystery and intrigue.  At other times the pace slows down to really show the characters growth, especially when trying to piece the puzzle together.

If you are a George Mann fan or a Sherlock Holmes fan then this is definitely a book for you.  The pacing and the mystery work brilliantly well together as well as Mann's portrayal of some legendary characters from literature.  Kick back, put your feet up and be prepared to get sucked in to a good old fashioned twist and turn filled mystery.

Story 8.5/10
Characters 9/10
Cover 7.5/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 33/40

Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map DVD Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Tosh E. Maab

Directed By
Jomac Noph

A Spiffy Pictures, Warner Brothers Animation Film

Genre
Adventure, Animation, Family

Cast

Frank Welker as Fred Jones / Scooby-Doo
Stephanie D'Abruzzo as Velma Dinkley / Shirley
Grey DeLisle as Daphne Blake / Dr Escobar
Matthew Lillard as Shaggy Rogers
Jeff Bennett as Lighthouse Lou / Hot Dog Vendor
Dee Bradley Baker as Ye Phantom Parrot / Stu
John Rhys-Davies as Gnarly Beard

Year Released
2013

Certificate
U

Synopsis

Get ready to experience the world famous Scooby-Doo! and Crew like never before in this all-new original puppet movie! What begins as a routine night for the Gang -- which includes the slobbering sleuth and Shaggy eating a triple extra-large Scooby snack pizza -- becomes a mad dash to find the frightening Phantom Parrot with a map to pirate Gnarlybeard's hidden treasure. 

Scooby sniffs out the map's clues, which lead him right to a spooky pirate ship. Ruh-roh! What will Gnarlybeard be willing to do to protect his booty? 

Special Features
  • Classic Scooby-Doo Episode - The Backstage Rage
  • Classic Scooby-Doo Episode - Robopup
Review

As my little lad is absolutely nuts on both The Muppets and Scooby-Doo, the fact that we found this puppet version of the popular mystery solving dog on a recent shopping trip made it a no brainer as to whether or not we'd buy it.

After sitting down to watch it with Cyrus, one thing struck me the most about the movie.  He sat glued to the screen for the entire run time.  It's only about 45 minutes long but they manage to make a lot of fun for the little ones in to that short time.

The puppets themselves really do look quite adorable and really looked so much like a Henson production that I thought that they would have been involved in the movie itself.  They're not but some of their puppeteers are and it shows.  One of the things that I liked myself was the simple fact that they put a load of nods to the original cartoon shows in to this one and that really brought a smile to my face as well as Cyrus'.

Story wise, this one does move along at a cracking pace and really does a good job of hooking the little ones in and even throws in quite a few red herrings along the way.  In an age where there's style over substance and fight after fight in the cartoons, it was nice to watch something that was exciting enough to hold my little lad's attention but at the same time be quite a gentle watch.

The special features on here are just two cartoons in addition to the movie itself, which wouldn't normally get such a high rating from me but they've included two of the classic episodes in the form of Robopup from 1988 and The Backstage Rage from 1969.

All in all, considering you can get this for next to nothing price wise and the fact that it's a gentle yet gripping tale featuring the worlds most famous mystery solving dog, then it's well worth picking up. The little ones will absolutely love it.

Movie 7.5/10
Picture 8/10
Sound 8/10
Special Features 7/10
Overall 30.5/40

The Mansion - Page Five Now Live!



Ladies, gentlemen, animals, minerals, zombies, vampires and everything else,

After the great feedback that the first four pages have been getting, I've been more than happy to put page five up on the Smack Jeeves site.

In this installment, the young couple realise just how much trouble they really are in with the incoming hoard of the undead.

Hope you enjoy it and by all means drop me a line to let me know what you think.

The whole completed story will be getting published as a one shot comic book alongside the story 'Real Horror' that has been illustrated by the insanely talented Dan Charnley so keep your eyes on this site for release dates and other such wonderful information.

Phil Condit's Happy Ending Indie Go Go Campaign!


Article By
Patrick Scattergood

As a fan of indie movies, especially indie horror, the names of Maria Olsen and and Phil Condit are very well known in my household.  In fact, Olsen herself is the only person to have been interviewed twice for this very site!

Well, the next project to come from the indie horror world is from MO66 and Sick Puppy Pictures and figures both of them teaming up!  What could be better than that for their fans?
So let's see what they have in store for us shall we?

A hot and hilarious romp of a scifi-horror comedy feature that chronicles what happens when an alien predator invades a remote desert bordello, forcing the Working Girls and their Johns to fight for their lives...and humanity's survival!


With the project now up on the Indie Go Go site, I for one am quite excited to see this one.  With a great and varied cast already, if the funding hits the $10,000 mark they're going to announce a big name that will then be appearing as one of the main characters!  There's speculation as to who it could be but I can't wait to find out.

So please check out these brilliant promo images as well as checking out the campaign itself because, let's face it, this is going to be one hell of a fun and no doubt gory ride!

The Happy Ending Indie Go Go Campaign Can Be Found Here! 


Also Why Not Follow Their Facebook Page That Can Be Found Here?

As a special treat, ladies and gentlemen, let's introduce you to Cinnamon!