Friday, 30 January 2015

Starry Eyes Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written and Directed By
Kevin Kolsch
Dennis Widmyer

A Snowfort Pictures, Parallactic Pictures, Dark Sky Films, Title Media Films

Genre
Horror

Cast

Alex Essoe as Sarah (Credited as Alexandra Essoe)
Amanda Fuller as Tracy
Noah Segan as Danny
Fabianne Therese as Erin
Shane Coffey as Poe
Natalie Castillo as Ashley
Pat Healy as Carl
Nick Simmons as Ginko
Maria Olsen as The Casting Director

Year Released
2014

Certificate
TBC

Synopsis

Determined to make it as an actress in Hollywood, Sarah Walker spends her days working a dead-end job, enduring petty friendships and going on countless casting calls in hopes of catching her big break.

After a series of strange auditions, Sarah lands the leading role in a new film from a mysterious production company. But with this opportunity comes bizarre ramifications that will transform her both mentally and physically into something beautiful... and all together terrifying.

From the producer of Cheap Thrills and Jodorowsky’s Dune, Dennis Widmyer & Kevin Kolsch's STARRY EYES is an occult tale of ambition, possession, and the true cost of fame.

Review

As a massive horror fan, the name of Maria Olsen is one that appears in many horror movies that I watch.  There's a reason why she is affectionately known as 'the hardest working woman in horror' and this is one of them. 

When I watched this movie, I had very high hopes for it.  After seeing so many glowing reviews for Starry Eyes I must admit that I was very excited to see just what this movie would have in store for me as a horror fan and I wasn't disappointed.

One of the things that struck me the most was the simple fact that this movie works on a couple of different levels without feeling at all disjointed.  On one hand you can look at it as a deeply psychological look at the pressures of fame, of wanting to be in the public eye.  The way the main character descends in to madness and insanity is incredibly well done and well performed.  On the other hand, you can also look at it as a horror movie that is deeply influenced by Faust in that it explores just what a person would do to get everything that they want.

The reason that the movie works so well on both levels are the performances.  If Alex Essoe, who plays Sarah, isn't seen as a name to look out for after this star making turn then I have no idea what is wrong with the movie world.  Like I mentioned earlier, her performance and way of showing the characters descent is very well acted.  In fact, there were many moments where I just couldn't take my eyes off of her because she was completely stealing the scenes that she was involved in.

Don't get me wrong, the rest of the cast don't disappoint in the slightest.  They more than hold up their end of the deal with some really good performances ranging from subtle to almost purely evil at times.  The sheer variety of acting styles in the cast working superbly well so bravo to the casting team involved.  I especially liked the touch of class that Olsen gives the movie as the casting director.  She almost felt like the centre of the movie for all that happened to stretch out from.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the gore and the horrific elements here for the pure horror fans.  The practical approach to the effects that the team took really do make the gore filled moments a lot more effective than if they had gone the CGI route and really make the scenes crawl under your skin and stay there long after the movie has ended.

All in all, this is an absolutely brilliant horror movie that doesn't treat it's viewers as stupid.  They take an intelligent approach to the story and that really raises it's quality much higher than a lot of other indie horrors that I have seen.  I would even go so far as to say that this is one of the best that I have seen for a very long time.

Movie 8/10

Starry Eyes is available to buy from 16th March!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Hungry Ghosts: Issue 1 and 2 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Park Cooper
Barbara Lien-Cooper

Art, Lettering and Cover By
Jeremy Dumouchel Lariveiere

Published By
Lucha Comics

Genre
Historical, Adventure

Synopsis

Japan, the mid-15th century, in the province of Kai. Things are about to get interesting…

Review

I have to admit that I wasn't all that sure what to expect from this title but after seeing the cover for issue one, I was very intrigued.

I've always loved stories set in Japan.  Didn't matter if it was sword fits, magic, martial arts or even romance.  Stories set in historical Japan always fired my imagination so when I was offered this one to review, I couldn't wait to read it.

The thing that struck me the most about the two issues I was sent was the artwork by Lariveiere.  It seemed to have an almost other worldly feel to it, almost like it was set in the real but with something sinister hanging over it.  I loved just how the feeling of something big coming in the future was brilliant put through by the art work.  Equal parts beautiful and spooky, the art here really gave the story a feel almost akin to the old movies I grew up watching.
Story wise, the tale takes on an almost 'slow burn' approach.  You're told just enough to get your imagination going before the action really hits the page.  That's not to say that it's all action and no character.  I have to admit that I would have liked a little bit more character work in the first issue, enough is revealed in these two issues to make me want to get my hands on to the third installment.

Pacing wise, the writing team really have done a good job here.  The characters are introduced in a nice way, especially in the first issue, and a little more of their back story is revealed as they embark on their journey.  There were a couple of moments where the dialogue seemed a little heavy handed at times but not to the put of distraction.  I've always been a fan of the 'less is more' approach to dialogue but that's just a personal taste.

All in all, these two issues are well worth picking up.  The historical setting of the story really adds to the feel of the story and I was especially impressed with the pacing.  The team of Park Cooper and Barbara Lien-Cooper work really well and if this story is anything to go by then there are going to be some big surprises in store for their characters.

Story 7/10
Art 8/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 7/10
Overall 30/40

Monday, 26 January 2015

Fantasmagoria: Book One Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written and Art By
Stephane Cote

Genre
Psychological, Horror, Adventure

Synopsis

Montreal succumbs to nuclear strikes and Felly, a young man from the city, narrowly escapes to the outskirts, where he falls in with a group of misfits who live in Bedside Manor, the former honeymoon hotel of Fantasmagoria, the fun park for adults and ultimate destination for love, revenge, rock n roll and radioactive chaos.

The graphic novel includes a musical soundtrack as well as video material with exclusive images not available in the book, which enables the reader to experience Fantasmagoria fully.

Review

One of the things that struck me the most about Fantasmagoria is that it is incredibly hard to put in to any particular genre.  There are moments in the story that could be classed as horror, some as psychological and even some that feel like an adventure story.  That's one of the things that impressed me the most if I'm completely honest.

With Cote's writing and art style merging superbly, it almost gave the story an other wordly feel yet it also feels realistic in that you get completely sucked in to the story.

The story itself works really well.  The pacing is one of the main strengths because there are moments where you feel like you're settling in to the story but at the same time, there are moments where you are literally smashed over the head with information and shocking events.  It's quite hard to talk about the story without giving too much away and if I was to sit here and reveal some of the moments in this story that really hook you in, that would be doing Cote a real diservice.  The tension and the shocks are built up so well that this is a story that you can come back to again and again, learning new things and noticing the little subtle things that Cote has snuck in to the tale.

Art wise, the book looks utterly stunning.  I loved the mix of sometimes using a simple angle to help pick out a detail that moves the story along.  Also, the beautiful sometimes soft art really rammed home some of the harder moments too.  It's the art that helps to give the story that other worldly feel that I mentioned earlier.  It's also as if your eyes can't decide if it's really there or not.  I loved that because of the simple fact that it gave the story the impact that it needed.

This is definitely a title to keep an eye on and Cote is a name to keep up with too because if this first book is anything to go by, the series is going to be absolutely fantastic.

Story 8/10
Art 8/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 24/30


The first book is available to read for free here along with the accompanying soundtrack as well as video's to further the story!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Doctor Who: New Adventures With the Tenth Doctor - Issue 6 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Robbie Morrison

Art By
Daniel Indro
Slamet Mujiono

Lettering By
Richard Starkings
Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt

Cover By
Tommy Lee Edwards

Published By
Titan Comics

Genre
Science Fiction, Adventure, Television Tie-In

Synopsis

The Doctor offered Gabby a one-off time-traveling trip on board the TARDIS.  They arrived at an art gallery in a distant galaxy where Gabby was thrown straight in to the heart of adventure, with no shortage of the life-threatening danger that seems to follow the Doctor no matter where (or when) he is.

Gabby proved herself to be a bright and brave companion.  Having realized she deserves the opportunity, the Doctor has invited her to join him in exploring the universe.  Now they're off to the past for a haunting hands-on history lesson...

Review

As a big fan of the Doctor Who television series, both the classic and the newer versions, I was very excited when Titan Comics announced that they would be revealing sets of new series featuring the Tennant, Smith and Capaldi versions of the long running character.  So far the three series have been really good but the problem for me was that the Tennant stories were good yet something felt missing.

Here in issue six of his series, the Tennant version of The Doctor, travels back to World War 1 where nothing is as it seems.  The thing that struck me the most about this story was the simple fact that the story and the art have taken a rather dark turn and that really impressed me.  It harked back to the episodes that Tennant took part in where one week it would be a fun or exciting story but then another would be a dark and inspective story.

With this story, we are given another glimpse at a popular enemy from the revamped series.  The idea to put them in to the First World War was an inspired one.  There used to be a legend of angel like beings taking soldiers from the battlefield and that idea is put to extremely good use here.

The well paced story by Robbie Morrison is well paced and has a fantastic sense of dread running through it.  The tension is built up in a subtle way at first but then really hits the reader hard in the final third of the issue.  With such a well written story, the art had to really knock it out of the park and the dark, shadow filled work by Daniel Indro and the colorist Slamet Mujiono fits the story very well.  You really feel the claustrophobic emotions coming from the trenches that the soldiers live and die in and that creeps under your skin.

All in all, I would have to say that this is the best issue of the Tennant stories thus far.  I loved the fact that it's revealed quite quickly who the villains will be in this arc but even then, it's shocking.  That is especially true in the scene in the hospital at the end of the issue.  If you are a Whovian then this is one issue that is well worth picking up.

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

White Zombie (1932) Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Garnett Weston

Based On 'The Magic Island' By
William B. Seabrook (Uncredited)

Directed By
Victor Halperin

An Edward Halperin Productions, Victor Halperin Productions Film

Genre
Horror

Cast

Bela Lugosi as 'Murder' Legendre
Madge Bellamy as Madeline Short Parker
Joseph Cawthorn as Dr. Bruner
Robert Frazer as Charles Beaumont
John Harron as Neil Parker
Brandon Hurst as Silver

Year Released
1932

Certificate
PG

Synopsis

While traveling to New York, the young couple Madeleine Short Parker (Madge Bellamy) and her fiancé Neil Parker (John Harron) are convinced by their new acquaintance Charles Beaumont (Robert Frazer) to stay in Port Prince and get married in his mansion. However, Beaumont felt in love for Madeleine and his real intention is to convince her to call off the wedding.

When he realizes that the time is too short to seduce her, he visits the local witch Legendre (Bela Lugosi) , who gives him a drug to transform Madeleine into a zombie. She dies immediately after the wedding, and her corpse is disputed by Beaumont and his sick love for her; Legendre, that wants her for his team of zombies; and Neil, who is convinced by the local missionary Dr. Bruner (Joseph Cawthorn) that she might be alive. In the end, true love wins. 

Review

One of the most interesting things that I have found about this movie is the simple fact that even amongst Lugosi fans, it doesn't seem to get a whole lot of credit.  That's a real shame really because it was one of my personal favourites when growing up.  Not really sure what that says about my time as a child but there we go.  The movie itself was thought of as lost until the 1960's and even then there was a series of court cases to try to get it released again.

Yet here we are over 80 years later but does this movie still hit the right notes for horror fans out there?

Modern horror fans will notice that the pacing and the general feel of the movie itself is much different to the movies that are released now and to me, that's a good thing.  The gothic feeling of dread that runs through the entire movie works to such a degree that you find yourself unable to take your eyes from the screen.

One of the things that I like the most about the movie is the simple fact that it takes a subtle and almost slow approach to the zombie genre.  Another thing that really hooked me in was the fact that the zombies in the movie aren't the stereotypical 'must eat brains' type that we have become so used to in relatively recent years.  Instead they are mindless shells of humanity that  are merely being used for various means.

It's the same with the cast.  It is true that movies from this period in cinema can sometimes descend in to melodrama, which it does do here in a couple of places, but White Zombie is the sort of movie that uses that to it's advantage.  That's most true with Lugosi himself who gives a beguiling performance as 'Murder' Legrende.  He absolutely owns each scene he is in and completely makes the movie his own in a big way.

I think that this relatively forgotten movie really does deserve to be seen as a horror classic.  There are so many scenes that will stay with you long after the end credits have rolled.  The burial at the beginning of the movie, the zombies working the sugar mills and more.  Isn't that what you want from a horror movie?  If it is, then definitely check this one out.  Considering you can get it for next to nothing, there's really no reason to not check out this unsung classic of the 30's horror world.

Movie 8/10


Friday, 23 January 2015

Halloween (2007) Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Rob Zombie

Based on the 1978 Screenplay By
John Carpenter
Debra Hill

Directed By
Rob Zombie

A Dimension Films, Nightfall Productions, Spectacle Entertainment Group, Trancas International Films, The Weinstein Company Films

Genre
Horror

Cast

Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Samuel Loomis
Brad Dourif as Sheriff Lee Brackett
Tyler Mane as Michael Myers
Sheri Moon Zombie as Deborah Myers
William Forsythe as Ronnie White
Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode
Danielle Harris as Annie Brackett
Udo Kier as Morgan Walker
Danny Trejo as Ismael Cruz
Richard Lynch as Principle Chambers

Year Released
2007

Certificate
18

Synopsis

Inspired by Carpenter's 1978 original, Rob Zombie's Halloween focuses on the early years of the young Michael Myers. After going on a murdering rampage in his home-town Michael is sentenced to 17 years of incarceration at the Smith's Grove Sanitarium maximum-security mental facility where he is treated by noted child behaviorist Dr. Samuel Loomis - the only person who can truly understand Michael's evil nature.

Now, 17 years later, Michael escapes from the mental facility on Halloween and begins a murderous trek back to Haddonfield to continue his killing streak and seek resolution to events from his past.

In Haddonfield, Michael begins stalking a high school girl, Laurie Strode, and her friends, Annie and Lynda. When Dr. Loomis, now a successful author for his book on Michael, hears of his escape, he enlists the help of Haddonfield's Sheriff Brackett to find and put an end to Michael's reign of terror.  

Review

After watching movies like House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects, I became very interested in finally checking out the Rob Zombie version of Halloween.  Based on the seminal screenplay of the classic 1978 movie by John Carpenter, the movie had a very high standard to live up but I was hoping that Rob Zombie would put his own stamp on it.

The thing that struck me the most about this movie is that it didn't really seem all that much like a Halloween movie to me.  If anything, it just felt like a normal, bog standard serial killer movie and not a new version of a Michael Myers blood bath.

As a fan of the original movies myself, the thing that I always liked about the original movie was the simple fact that Myers was a simple, unstoppable monster that had an air of mystery as well as dread that surrounded him wherever he went.  Here Zombie makes quite a big mistake in my eyes.  He tried to make Myers more human and even more sympathetic but to me, it didn't work.  If anything, it changed the entire character and not for the better.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a terrible movie by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, if it was just a serial killer movie then it might have just worked better without the Carpenter link.  The writing just seemed to miss the point of the original movies and with that, Zombie created a movie that felt a little disjointed at  times.  He spends nearly 40 minutes at the beginning giving the once unstoppable maniac a back story but then when the murders do start, they almost do a 360 on it and have him just cut and slice through the victims.

That said, Mane gives a great performance as Myers and really puts off an air of menace throughout the movie.  The fact that he could portray a lot with just a nod of his head and more really made the movie a lot better.  The rest of the cast do a good job with their characters as well.  There is definitely a drinking game here where you could take a swig whenever you see a horror movie icon because this movie is jam packed with them.  Plus it's always great to see the criminally under rated Danielle Harris in a horror movie.

All in all, I have to admit that while the movie isn't a complete bust, it was a bit of a disappointment considering the cast and talent involved.  With Zombie at the helm, I was expecting something that would really get under my skin and stay with me long after the credits had rolled.  What we ended up with was a movie that was largely forgettable and that's a real shame.

Movie 5/10


Thursday, 22 January 2015

Salvagers: Issue 3 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Bob Salley

Art By
George Acevedo
DeSika

Lettering By
HdE

Cover By
George Acevedo
DeSika

Published By
Dirty Planet

Genre
Science Fiction, Action, Adventure

Synopsis

As we move forward, our band of salvagers have found themselves stranded on a Darzinean Warspray, deep in the Outer Rim. The mystery of the deadly security company known as Blackbane is unfolding and danger is around every corner of this "wreck" they have been commissioned to salvage.

Brigby has fallen into debt with some unsavory characters causing tension between crew members and someone will have to race time to avoiding impending doom.

Review

With the superb first two issues, I couldn't wait to jump back on board for the third installment of Salvagers by Bob Salley and his extremely talented team.

Here we pick up straight where issue two left off.  The feeling of panic and dread that ran through the second issue is definitely here as well and if anything, Salley has ramped up the atmosphere to another notch.

The action here is fast paced and really has a great way of hooking the reader in to caring about whether or not the characters are going to survive.  Considering the fact that this is only the third issue and Salley has taken a quite subtle approach to revealing some of the charcters past and their relationships, the writing really does get you to care about the crew.  In this, the third issue, more is revealed about how they work together, their past and more and it really raises the quality of the story.

I thought that the art in the first two issues was superb and really looked like it could be a science fiction movie on the big screen.  Here, the art has really exploded in a good way.  I don't know what has changed, considering it's the same creative team as the other issues, but it felt darker and grittier.  That really works on the final third of the comic where the action really flies off of the page.  In fact, I really liked the final panel because it had that sort of impact that makes you want to grab the next issue as soon as possible.

If you haven't picked up this series then why not?  This third issue just shows a series that is improving with each installment so jump on board for a science fiction tale with great characters, great pacing and some brilliant art work, you won't be disappointment.

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

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Charlie
Mac
Dennis
Sweet Dee
Frank

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Comedy, Television Tie In

Synopsis

Friendless?  Poor?  Ugly?

Need help luring the woman or man of your dreams onto a boat?  Hungry for Run Ham but don't know how long to cook it?  Confused as to the legality of keeping birds as pets in your particular home state?  Look no further, loser.  The gang from Paddy's Pub have combined forces to weigh in on life's most important topics.

Relationships, Financial Success and Career, Fashion and Personal Grooming, Health and Diet, Survival Skills.

Grab a beer, throw caution and common sense to the wind, and welcome the most influential working in the history of the written word (or at least since the script for The Nightmare Cometh), The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today.

Review

I have to admit that I wasn't all the familiar with the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia when I was sent this to review so I sat down and binge watched a lot of the episodes.  It's a funny show and one that is worth checking out here and there so I was quite excited to see just where they were going to go with this spin off book.

Well, they went in to a direction that I really wasn't expecting.  They went for a self help book.  No, I'm not joking.  A self help book.

After reading this one, I have to admit that people are going to find this very hit and miss.  If you are a fan of the show then this book will have you in absolute tears of laughter because not only is the book itself funny but there are loads of nods and references to previous episodes.  If you're not a fan of the show then you will be sat there wondering just what the hell you are reading.  That said, if you're not a fan of the show then you probably wouldn't have picked up the book anyway in all honesty.

As someone that has only seen a few of the episodes, thanks to binge watching them like I said earlier, a few of the references did go over my head so I wasn't really all that sure about the jokes there.  That said, the book came across as one that felt the writer (or writers) threw as many jokes in to the book as possible.  That kind of works to the books advantage because if there are references that go above your head or that you don't find funny then chances are there will be another joke or two that will tickle your funny bone.

All in all, this is a book that will either have you howling with laughter or scratching your head in confusion.  If you are a fan of the show then this will definitely be a book that you will want to pick up and add to your collection.  If you aren't then give it a miss.

Story 8/10 (if a fan) 5/10 (if not)
Characters 7/10
Cover 7/10
Recommended 8/10 (if a fan) 5/10 (if not)
Overall 30/40 or 24/40  

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Guns, Girls and Gambling Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written and Directed By
Michael Winnick

A Freefall Films, Hollywood Sky Entertainment, Releaseme Productions Film

Genre
Action, Comedy

Cast

Christian Slater as John Smith
Powers Boothe as The Rancher
Dane Cook as Sheriff Hutchins
Jeff Fahey as The Cowboy
Chris Kattan as Gay Elvis
Helena Mattsson as The Blonde
Gary Oldman as Elvis Elvis
Megan Park as Cindy
Tony Cox as Little Person Elvis
Anthony Brandon Wong as Asian Elvis

Year Released
2012

Certificate
15

Synopsis

When wrongly accused of stealing a priceless artifact during a poker game, corrupts cops, assassins and a drop dead beautiful blonde set out on a mission to hunt John Smith down with the aim of getting their hands on the million-dollar reward for its safe return.

Review

With a name like Guns, Girls and Gambling then you know what you are going to get, especially with Christian Slater in one of the leading roles.

While it is true that Slater's star has faded since his hey day, he has managed to crank out a lot of movies.  Some have been really good and others, well others have not been quite so kind to his career.

I picked this one up on a whim after seeing that not only Slater was involved but also the brilliant Gary Oldman.  Quite how they managed to rope him in to this movie is beyond me but after watching it, I have to admit that I was quite surprised at just how much I enjoyed this one.

Is it a perfect movie?  Far from it.  However, it is a fast paced action comedy that while not original in the slightest, it is a fun movie.  There are some absolutely brilliant cameo appearances, the humour is delightfully un-pc and the set pieces, along with the self aware dialogue, reminds me a little bit of Quentin Tarantino movies.  Granted with a lower budget but the influences are definitely there.

Cast wise, there aren't any surprises performance wise but they all seem to be having a lot of fun in the movie as well as not taking themselves seriously at all.  I've always been a bit of a sucker for a movie in that vein and this one has that in buckets.

Out of all the cast, I was most impressed with Slater himself.  A few of his more recent movies have had performances that felt phoned in but here, he really seems to be enjoying playing the part of John Smith, a hapless loser that always seems to be stuck in the middle of all sorts of mayhem.

The direction by Michael Winnick does really show some promise and with a slightly bigger budget I could easily see him making a really good balls to the wall movie.  However, the writing does let down the movie a little because it does start to flag in some places, almost as if the dialogue was just stuck in there to pad out the run  time a little.

All in all, this is a fun little movie.  It's not going to be one that you watch over and over but it's well worth a rental at least.  Just don't be prepared to take it at all seriously.  Then again, would you really take a movie called Guns, Girls and Gambling seriously?

Movie 6.5/10


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Cabra Cini: Voodoo Junkie Hitwoman - Dark New Year Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Sam Johnson

Art By
Bruno Letizia
Rodrigo Diaz Ricci

Lettering By
Bruno Letizia

Published By
Actuality Press

Genre
Supernatural, Action

Synopsis

No longer willing to let her boyfriend/pimp treat her like dirt, Cabra Cini got lethal payback with the help of voodoo magik - and liked it. Voodoo became her new addiction and Cabra has cleaned up her act and forged a deadly new vocation…

'Voodoo Trespass', Cabra's debut story, throws us headlong into her twisted world, when she is hired by bereaved parents to take out the teenage boy who killed their daughter, ‘playing vampire’. Cabra utilizes her magik to access a dimension known as ‘The Infinity’ – Limbo’s ‘crazy cousin, locked away in the attic’ – which, for those who trespass upon it, can serve as a dimensional gateway between where they are and wherever they want to go. Though with what The Rook, the ruler of The Infinity, throws at its abusers, the journey can come at a monstrously high cost...

Beyond the horrors of The Infinity, we meet some of the characters who will also feature in Cabra's forthcoming mini-series, including her friend-with-benefits Geoff; her pet werewolf El Hombre Lobo; and insane Neo-Nazi White Out and his lobotomized butler Chives...

Review

Sam Johnson, co-creator of The Almighties, returns with Cabra Cini: Voodoo Junkie Hitwoman - Dark New Year, a dark tale set forward as a taster of the four part mini-series that will soon be released by Actuality Press.

Completely different from the action comedy of his The Almighties title, Cabra Cini is a dark look in to the world of the title character and couldn't be more different.

With a great opening that gives us, the readers, just enough to hook us in but leaves us wanting more.  Being familiar with Johnson's work, Cabra Cini really shows just how versatile he is.  The story here is well paced, well written and really shows a lot of promise for the forthcoming mini-series.

We're shown Cabra herself, a couple of the characters that will no doubt play a big role in the title as well as seeing some great background work for the character.  Johnson manages to pack a lot in to the short page count without it feeling rushed or cluttered.  You are pretty much dropped straight in to the world but not once does it feel confusing.  Instead there's a great feeling of dread that runs through the story and I loved the idea of traveling between the worlds but there being a consequence if you do.

As well as the debut story for the character, which has some great art by Bruno Letizia that really brings the action to life, we're also treated to some promo art from the mini series as well from Rodrigo Diaz Ricci.  If the combination of the two are anything to go by then the series is going to be one that will be well worth picking up.

All in all, despite it's short page count, Johnson and his team really have made a title that feels unique and exciting yet manages to keep Johnson's unique writing style.  I, for one, can't wait to see the mini series and this is definitely a fantastic jumping on point.

Story 7.5/10
Art 8/10
Cover 7.5/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 31/40

 Cabra Cini: Voodoo Junkie Hitwoman – Dark New Year is out now, and available FREE at www.actualitypress.com

Monday, 19 January 2015

Paddington Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Paul King
Hamish McColl

Directed By
Paul King

A StudioCanal Film

Genre
Comedy, Drama

Cast

Ben Whislaw as the voice of Paddington Bear
Hugh Bonneville as Mr. Brown
Sally Hawkins as Mrs. Brown
Julie Walters as Mrs. Bird
Peter Capaldi as Mr Curry
Nicole Kidman as Milicent
Jim Broadbent as Mr. Gruber
Imelda Staunton as the voice of Aunt Lucy
Michael Gambon as the voice of Uncle Pastuzo

Year Released
2014

Certifcate
PG

Synopsis

A young Peruvian bear travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the kindly Brown family, who offer him a temporary haven.

Review

As a long term fan of the novels by Michael Bond, I was a little hesitant when they announced that they were going to make a live action movie based on the famous bear.  As with a lot of things, I was worried that they would take a well loved character, attempt to update it for the modern world but then ruin it.

After watching this one, I can honestly say that this is definitely one of the best attempts at a modern take on a classic children's character that I have seen in a long time.

One of the things that I noticed the most is that while watching the movie itself, it took me back to the days of my childhood when I grew up watching movies like Beethoven and other such films that would have enough excitement to keep the children happy yet have a nice emotion during the story as well.

I really like the beginning of the story where Paddington himself would learn to speak English using some old recordings that were left by an explorer that had come to 'Darkest Peru' and discovered Paddington's aunt and uncle.  This was the first thing that really impressed me.  The casting of Michael Gambon and Imelda Staunton as the voices of the two elder bears.  They really gave the bears a real sense of grandeur and class, which really made the relationship between them and Paddington feel realistic and loving.

The rest of the cast really do bring the characters to life superbly.  Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins work brilliantly well together and felt like a true couple.  The interplay between them and Paddington, voiced memorably by Whislaw, gave the movie some truly beautiful moments.

However, this isn't a perfect movie.  Nicole Kidman, while giving an enthusiastic performance as the villain of the movie, just seemed a little out of place.  She wasn't terrible but the way she played the character made it feel almost like she had come from a different movie and stumbled in to this one.  The other thing that bothered me slightly is that Peter Capaldi's character of Mr Curry seemed to be almost surplus to requirements.  He seemed like he was just there to give Nicole Kidman's character a foil almost.  He didn't even get a moment during the finale at the end of the movie as well and that seemed like a real shame and a missed opportunity.

All in all, this was a much better adaptation that I could have hoped for.  The performances were really good and gave us the memorable characters that really harked back to our childhood's where we grew up reading the books.  This one is definitely one well worth taking the little ones too and there are even a lot of moments for the older children inside of us too.

Movie 8/10


Saturday, 17 January 2015

The Disease Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
James Mulholland

Art By
Daniel Romero

Lettering By
Micah Myers

Cover By
Daniel Romero
Armand Jasmine

Published By
Self Published

Genre
Horror

Synopsis

An elder man, GERRY, wakes up in the attic of his Irish countryside house. But when his family isn’t around, he wanders outside his house into an Irish town, where the unknown is awaiting him. 

Review

As both a massive zombie fan and a zombie writer myself, I love to find new and interesting takes on the well used genre.  When I saw that James Mulholland, a very talented Irish writer, was going to take a stab at a zombie story then I couldn't have been more excited.

After reading The Disease I have to admit that one thing struck me.  At 32 pages, the length really shouldn't give a lot of time to the development of the characters themselves but Mulholland's writing more than does it justice. 

The story starts with the main character waking up in a broken down house, trying to piece together just what is going on around him.  The writing really does a superb job of not only creating a sense of fear and dread but there's also a real sense of paranoia running through the story as well.  The best way to describe the story is that it really gets under the skin as you read it.

Pacing wise, the team here have done a great job of starting off in a relatively subtle start but then seriously ramping up the tension.  You feel like there shouldn't be a lot of development during a one shot story of this length but then a moment comes during the story and it hits you hard, making you realise that you have started to care about him.  The emotion around the revelation really gives The Disease an emotional core that would otherwise be missing.

Art wise, the start black and white art really does give the story a gritty and grimy feeling.  That's most evident in the scenes where they show the creatures attacking.  It does a good job of showing the horror of what is happening but without going overboard with the guts and gore, which is a welcome change.

The striking cover really gripped me in and I was kind of hoping that the rest of the book would have been in the same style but on the other hand, I feel like if that had have happened then the story would have lost some of the dread and fear that the black and white art builds up so well.

All in all, this is definitely a great title to add to any zombie story lovers collection and well worth picking up.  I, for one, can't wait to see just what Mulholland and his team are going to throw our way next.

Story 8/10
Art 7/10
Cover 7.5/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 30.5/40

The Disease is available from here.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Big Hero 6 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Jordan Roberts
Daniel Gerson
Robert L. Baird
Paul Briggs
Joseph Mateo

Based On
Characters Created By Man of Action

Directed By
Don Hall
Chris Williams

A Walt Disney Animation Studios Film

Genre
Action, Adventure, Superhero, Animated

Cast

Scott Adsit as Baymax
Ryan Potter as Hiro
Daniel Henney as Tadashi
T.J. Miller as Fred
Jamie Chung as Go Go
Damon Wayans Jr. as Wasabi
Genesis Rodriguez as Honey Lemon
James Cromwell as Robert Callaghan
Alan Tudyk as Alistair Krei

Year Released
2014 / 2015

Certificate
PG

Synopsis

Robotics prodigy Hiro (Ryan Potter) lives in the city of San Fransokyo. Besides his older brother, Tadashi, Hiro's closest companion is Baymax (Scott Adsit), a robot whose sole purpose is to take care of people.

When a devastating turn of events throws Hiro into the middle of a dangerous plot, he transforms Baymax and his other friends, Go Go Tamago (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) and Fred (T.J. Miller) into a band of high-tech heroes.

Review

With the amount of hype surrounding this movie and the fact that it was made by the folks behind both Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen, I had some massively high hopes for this one.  I have to admit that I haven't read the comic books that the movie is based on but as soon as I saw the trailer I was hooked.

I was surfing the cinema times for a different movie when I saw that the local cinema was going to be having preview screenings for this one so my son and I decided to go to this one instead and boy am I glad we did.

The little snippets we saw in the trailer really don't do the movie justice at all.  There really is a bit of every type of movie fan here.  You have excitement, superheroes, some hilarious comedy as well as some really emotional moments that brought tears to my eyes.

One of the main strengths of the movie is by far the writing.  The story moves along at a great pace, dropping hints and types all the way through, yet gives you more than enough time to get emotionally invested in the characters.  There's a couple of moments that really drive home the emotional core of the story and that, to me, raises it high above some of the other superhero and animated movies that have been coming out recently.

Through out the movie, you literally find yourself on the edge of your seat as Hiro tries his best to discover just what is going on.  At first the story leads you down a road that you are completely sure is the right one then does a 360 and takes you by surprise.  I loved that about the movie because it didn't just leave it there.  Even when the main villain is revealed, it's not just a case of that person is evil and here are the good guys to stop them.  There's actually an emotional reasoning behind the actions and that to me made the character sympathetic.

Animation wise, as always, Disney have done a superb job.  The action is well animated and massively eye catching yet it doesn't lose it's impact on the quieter moments either.

Cast wise, I can honestly say that there isn't a single weak link in the team at all.  They all really bring the characters to life in a big way.  You can help but feel like you are involved in their lives and you find yourself rooting for each of them.

All in all, this has set a really high bar for the rest of this years Disney releases and I, for one, am wondering just how they're going to top this brilliant movie.

Movie 9/10


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

See No Evil 2 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Nathan Brookes
Bobby Lee Darby

Directed By
Jen Soska
Sylvia Soska

A Lionsgate, WWE Films Movie

Genre
Horror

Cast

Glenn Jacobs as Jacob Goodnight
Danielle Harris as Amy
Katharine Isabelle as Tamara
Chelan Simmons as Kayla
Kaj-Erik Eriksen as Seth
Greyston Holt as Will
Lee Majdoub as Carter
Michael Eklund as Holden

Year Released
2014

Certificate
15

Synopsis

Jacob Goodnight (WWE star Glenn 'Kane' Jacobs) returns to bring his own unique brand of judgment and punishment to a group of unwitting victims. City Morgue technician, Amy is getting ready to go out for an evening of birthday partying with her friends when the one-eyed corpse of psychotic killer Jacob Goodnight (Jacobs) is brought in. 

With the birthday plans ruined, Amy's friends decide to surprise her by bringing the party to the morgue. However, the surprise is on them when the corpse unexpectedly rises from the cold sub-basement slab. Their wild party quickly turns into a terrifying slayfest as the sadistic mass-murderer resumes his savage rampage. 

Review

The first See No Evil movie starring the WWE's Glenn Jacobs, better known to wrestling fans as Kane, was a well paced and enjoyable slasher movie with some fantastic nods to the classic 70's and 80's movies that made the genre so fun for horror movie fans.

Well, six years later we have a sequel, directed by the Soska sisters, where Jacob Goodnight returns to slay yet more victims.

After seeing their work directing American Mary, I was quite surprised yet pleased that WWE Studio's had chosen them to herald their own cult classic slasher characters return to the genre.  With them at the helm I was expecting a bold and fresh take on the genre but is that what we got?

Well yes and no.  One of the main problems for me was quite simply the pacing.  There were a few moments here and there where the movie really seemed to drag.  It almost felt like a 60 minute television episode stretched out to the 90 minute or so run time.

For the most part, the characters were merely cannon fodder.  That's expected for these sorts of horror movies but there were two that really stood out for me and really made me enjoy the movie.  You have the horror scream queen in the shape of Danielle Harris.  Harris really brings Amy to life and makes you care about whether or not she will survive the night.

Another stand out for me is Katharine Isabelle, reuniting with the Soska sisters after working with them on American Mary, as an incredibly unhinged Tamara.  Some of her scenes were really over the top and others came across as bonkers yet she really made them some of the most memorable of the movie itself.

With a lot of modern horror movies feeling like there is the need to flesh out the back stories for the killers, See No Evil 2 does the same.  For me, that took away from the character, played with menace by Glenn Jacobs, because the first movie gave us just enough information to make us believe how and why he is murderous.  Here they add to it but it felt like over kill and took away some of the mystery of the character.

All in all, this is a sequel worth watching.  For me, it wasn't as good as the original yet it was a welcome return for the character of Jacob Goodnight.  The direction by the Soska's gave the movie a dark and grimy feel, which when you couple that with the performances by Harris and Isabelle make this one of the better WWE Studio's offerings.

Movie 6.5/10