Monday, 27 July 2015

Inside Out / Lava Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Pete Doctor (Inside Out)
Ronaldo Del Carmen (Inside Out)
Meg LeFauve (Inside Out)
Josh Cooley (Inside Out)
Amy Poehler (Inside Out) (Additional Dialogue)
Bill Hader (Inside Out) (Additional Dialogue)

Directed By
Pete Doctor (Inside Out)
Ronaldo Del Carmen (Inside Out)
James Ford Murphy (Lava)

A Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios Film

Genre
Animation, Comedy, Adventure (Inside Out)
Animation, Romance (Lava)

Cast

Amy Poehler as Joy (Voice) (Inside Out)
Phyllis Smith as Sadness (Voice) (Inside Out)
Richard Kind as Bing Bong (Voice) (Inside Out)
Bill Hader as Fear (Voice) (Inside Out)
Lewis Black as Anger (Voice) (Inside Out)
Mindy Kaling as Digust (Voice) (Inside Out)
Kaitlyn Dias as Riley (Voice) (Inside Out)
Diane Lane as Mom (Voice) (Inside Out)
Kyle MacLachlan as Dad (Voice) (Inside Out)

Kuana Torres Kahele as Uku (Voice) (Lava)
Napua Makula as Lele (Voice) (Lava) (Credited as Napua Greig)

Year Released
2014 (Lava) / 2015 (Inside Out)

Certificate
U

Synopsis

Lava

A story that takes place over millions of years and is inspired by the beauty of tropical islands and the allure of ocean volcanoes.

Inside Out

After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness - conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.

Review

Lava

When I went to see the movie Inside Out with my little lad, I was pleased to see that they were going to precede it with another one of their gorgeous shorts,

This one tells the story of two volcanoes that just want to be in love and not alone anymore but it's told mainly in song and that idea really interested me.

For such a short run time of around 7 minutes, Lava really did manage to pack a whole load of emotion and beauty in.  I'm not ashamed to admit that this beautiful short really made me well up and is definitely one of the best shorts that I have seen in a long time.

Movie 8/10

Inside Out

There was a whole load of hype surrounding this movie on it's release with many people saying that it is the best release that has ever come from those guys and girls from Pixar.

Well, after seeing it, I have to admit that it is most definitely up there with the best of them.

The idea of a story told from the point of view of the feelings in a young girls head really sounded interesting but for me, the trailer for the movie didn't do the idea justice.  Instead, I was expecting a movie that was more slapstick comedy than the one that was on the screen.

Inside Out does have some really funny moments.  In fact, the whole movie is a sheer roller coaster of a movie.  There are moments where the movie will make you laugh until you cry but will also make you cry out of sheer sadness.  That is one of the main strengths of the movie in fact.  The writing really does a superb job of showing just how mixed up and complicated emotions can be in real life.

I've seen quite a few reviews saying that this is a rather dark and depressing film for children but personally, I don't see it.  The movie does deal with some heavy themes but does so with a quite gentle hand.  I'll admit that I did have to explain a couple of little bits to my little lad, who is six, but it was nice to sit with him and see a movie that showed him that it's fine to feel sad, it's fine to feel happiness and the such.  He was glued to the screen and really seemed to enjoy the movie and it was nice to see his emotions go up and down a little with the movie because of how into it he was.

The voice cast do a brilliant job of bringing the characters to life.  Amy Poehler, who I'm not a massive fan of, is absolutely spot on as the character of Joy.  Her almost childlike sense of wonder was adorable and really did feel like the linchpin of the movie itself.

There's a really beautiful scene in the movie involving the imaginary friend named Bing Bong that had both myself and my little lad crying yet willing them on as well.  There's also a nice twist in the end as to which character is going to save the day and I felt that was a very nice touch from the writing team.

All in all, while I can understand some of the complaints about the movie, I really do agree that it's one of the best and most emotionally beautiful movie that Pixar have made in years.

Definitely one to see,

Movie 8.5/10


Minions Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Brian Lynch

Directed By
Kyle Balda
Pierre Coffin

An Illumination Entertainment Film

Genre
Animated, Comedy, Adventure

Cast

Sandra Bullock as Scarlet Overkill (Voice)
John Hamm as Herb Overkill (Voice)
Michael Keaton as Walter Nelson (Voice)
Allison Janney as Madge Nelson (Voice)
Steve Coogan as Professor Flux / Tower Guard (Voice)
Jennifer Saunders as The Queen (Voice)
Geoffrey Rush as The Narrator (Voice)
Steve Carell as Young Gru (Voice)
Pierre Coffin as The Minions (Voice)

Year Released
2015

Certificate
U

Synopsis

The story of Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment's Minions begins at the dawn of time. 

Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters - from T. rex to Napoleon - the Minions find themselves without someone to serve and fall into a deep depression. But one Minion named Kevin has a plan, and he - alongside teen-age rebel Stuart and lovable little Bob - ventures out into the world to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. 

The trio embarks upon a thrilling journey that ultimately leads them to their next potential master, Scarlet Overkill (Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock), the world's first supervillainess ever. 

They travel from frigid Antarctica to 1960s New York City, ending in modern London, where they must face their biggest challenge to date: saving all of Minionkind...from annihilation.

Review

After being such a huge fan of the two Despicable Me movies, I have to admit that I was a little bit conflicted when they announced that they were going to make a spin off movie that focused solely on the little yellow Minions.  It's true that they work very well in small doses and that they are definitely popular because of the simple fact that they can pop in, cause chaos and then go off to do their own thing again.  Would that successful formula be able to be sustained through an entire movie?

Well, yes and no.

The movie itself is quite a funny one and there are some absolutely brilliant moments that had me in hysterics yet something felt missing and the jokes really did start to fall a little flat near the end.  It was almost as if the writers themselves had run out of funny lines and were just going through the motions.

Don't get me wrong, Minions is still a very funny movie, it's just that it felt a little forced at times and some of the blame of that has got to fall at the feet, or rather lips, of the voices used.  The cast really did feel like a very mixed bag of performances.  That said, Michael Keaton did sound like he was having an utter blast of a time as the character of Walter Nelson.

That said, Sandra Bullock seemed like a bit of a strange choice for the 'big bad' of the movie.  Her voice just didn't seem to really fit that of the character of Scarlet Overkill that well.  Some scenes were very well done and others felt like she was just really not feeling the lines.  I really did enjoy the choice of Geoffrey Rush as the narrator though, his voice really fitted in well with the story.

The story itself is an interesting one but it didn't really feel like it was all that needed.  It's a bit of a weird one to rate in that while it was entertaining for what it was, it just didn't feel like a movie that I needed to see.

However, if you have some little ones that like the little yellow fellows then you could do a lot worse than this movie and there are some very good moments of humor but also of some very heartfelt moments too.  One of the things I did like about the movie were the links to real life people and the use of the songs of the time period.  That, I felt, was a nice touch.  Personally, I think I'll stick to the Despicable Me movies.

Movie 6.5/10


Saturday, 25 July 2015

Reunion (2015) Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Bert Havid

Directed By
Shawn Chou

An ACH Reunion, Monsterworks66 Film

Genre
Horror, Mystery

Cast


Maria Olsen as Mia

Jack Turner as Brad
Sarah Schreiber as Carly
Cara Santana as Tamryn
Reign Morton as Grant
Ruth Reynolds as Young Mia
Arielle Brachfeld as Nurse Sandra
Leif Gantvoort as Orderly Dan
Christopher Wolfe as Harold
Matthew Jaeger as Kent

Year Released
2015

Certificate
TBC


Synopsis

An unstable mental patient goes on an overnight rampage to terrorize an ex-rock star and his friends, only to discover she is linked to him in mysterious ways.


Review

If you have read this blog once in a while, you'll know that I am a major horror movie fan and in turn a big fan of people such as Bill Oberst Jr., Tiffani Brooke Fest and Maria Olsen.  When I heard that Reunion was being released and I could review it, I absolutely jumped at the chance.

I watched the trailer first to see what kind of horror I was going to be watching and from that, I assumed it was going to be a bit of a stalk and slash horror film.  I was very wrong.

Instead, what I ended up watching was one that was a horror movie but it was so much more than that.  It was a deeply psychological look at the effects of domestic abuse, mental illness and more.  This was all underpinned by the absolutely powerhouse performance by Maria Olsen herself.  In her role as Mia, despite doing some really horrid things to people, there was a lot of sympathy there for character.  That was mirrored brilliantly well by Ruth Reynolds as Young Mia, who did a fantastic job of showing just what had happened to her.


Don't get the wrong idea however,  The movie wasn't just the Maria Olsen show.  The rest of the cast did a really good job of helping the horror and the terror move along at a very effective pace.  It's true that a couple of the characters just felt like they were there to make up the kill number but you get that with a lot of horror movies.  It's just that with this movie, it didn't prove to be distracting because of the strength of the performances by the cast themselves.

Writing wise, the movie did tell a very brave story.  Flitting between being a stalk and slash horror movie and one that delves deeply in to a disturbed mental state is one that could have come over as a bit cheesy and over the top but the writing here for the most part is quite subtle and that helps to make some of the scenes have a really effective punch to them.  A lot of that is helped by the direction and the fact that the team never seemed to just go for the stereotypical angles or shots of the scenes themselves.  It was rather refreshing to see a movie trying to do something a bit different instead of the black and white you bad guy, I good guy style that seems to be so regularly put out in the genre these days.

One of the things I liked the most about the movie was the very atmospheric score that was used to underpin the scenes on the screen, my favorite being the track used over the beginning credits.

All in all, this is an absolutely fantastic movie.  It's one that will stay with you after the end credits have rolled and one that is, in my opinion, one of Maria Olsen's strongest performances to date.  Not only did she make the character herself creepy and horrific, but also made her very sympathetic as well.  Also, watch out for the well placed twist too.  I won't reveal it here but I thought it was very well used.

Movie 8.5/10


Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Avengers: Age of Ultron Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Josh Whedon

Based on Characters Created By
Stan Lee
Jack Kirby

Directed By
Josh Whedon

A Marvel Studios Film

Genre
Action, Adventure, Science Fiction

Cast

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner / The Hulk
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye
James Spader as Ultron (Voice)
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Don Cheadle as James Rhodes / War Machine
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Paul Bettany as Jarvis (Voice) / The Vision
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / The Falcon

Year Released
2015

Certificate
12A

Synopsis

When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth's Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. 

As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to the Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for a global adventure.

Review

When the Avengers Assemble movie directed by Josh Whedon burst on to the cinema scenes, it brought the team to life in a mass of explosions and alien invasions.  That left me wondering how he would top that fantastic movie debut for the team.

Well, after I've seen this sequel, I was impressed to see that he didn't try to top that one in terms of balls to the wall action.  Instead we get to see a lot of character development for the team, expecially in the shape of Hawkeye, and that leads to the viewer really getting in to the mission that they were going to have to throw themselves into.

There were a lot of links to the previous Marvel movies and I loved the simple fact that while they keep them all connected, they all seem to work very well as a stand alone movie as well.  

While it was nice to see how the actors have really given the characters a lot more depth in this sequel, the movie most definitely belongs to the wonderfully menacing performance by James Spader as Ultron.  One moment he comes across as a major threat, one that the team may not even come remotely close to defeating and then the next, he comes across as a sulky teenager.  I loved the mix of personalities that came through in the performance and that even lead to some scenes where you can almost feel some form of sympathy for the character despite the fact that he is trying to wipe out the world.

The addition of the characters of The Vision, The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were very well done as well and they were great characters to have in this movie.

The one thing that bothered me about this movie was the simple fact that despite there being some absolutely amazing moments for the characters, moments where the action sequences just completely blew me away as well as some great performances, something felt like it was missing yet I couldn't place my finger on what.

That said, this was a very good installment in the Marvel world and one that is well worth watching.  Not only did it wear it's links to the previous movies with pride, it's also set up the next slate of movies to come.

Movie 7.5/10


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Bayani and the Old Ghosts: Issue 1 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Travis McIntire

Art and Cover By
Grant Perkins

Lettering By
Taylor Esposito

Published By
Caliber Comics

Genre
Adventure, All Ages

Synopsis

Bayani, a boy of 11, is desperately trying to care for his sick father (a fisherman) and keep food on the table for his small family. Unfortunately, the sun has been shining down on the islands for the last month and night refuses to fall. 

The land is growing parched from the constant heat and the fish are moving further and further away from shore. During this disaster, the rain god, Pati', recruits Bayani to undertake a quest rescuing the nine kidnapped daughters of Lady Moon from the horrible monsters of lore. Bayani embarks on a great adventure with his friend, Tala, and using their wits, the kids defeat one hideous creature after another in their quest to rescue each of the Moon's daughters.

Review

I've always been a fan of comic books that are full of adventure, magic and mystery.  Considering there aren't all that many of these sorts of comics that are suitable for younger children, when this one popped up then I knew it was going to be worth picking up.

With a name like Travis McIntire at the helm writing wise, you know what you are going to get with this story.  Great pacing, humor and a lot of excitement and this one has it in spades.  In fact, there's a real sense of fun that runs throughout this first issue and really does a great job of setting the scene for the issues to come.

One of the things that I really liked about the story was the simple fact that while it is set up for children of all ages, there is a lot here that would entertain even the most ardent of adventure fans raised on the likes of Indiana Jones and The Goonies.  

Art wise, it really does a good job of carrying the sense of fun and adventure that the writing sets up.  In fact, I would even say that the art has a real feel of a Saturday morning cartoon in the best possible way.  The bright and colorful nature of the art really brings the story to life in a big way and even feels both unique yet familiar at the same time.

I must admit that this isn't the sort of comic that I would have associated with Caliber Comics at all.  I'm used to their older releases being much harder and more mature in their approach but with this one, it really does to show that that doesn't have to be the case here.  This is definitely the sort of comic that you can not only read yourself but can also read with your little ones.

All in all, this is a title to keep your eyes on.  It's fun, adventurous and well paced so add it to your collection.

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

To check out their Kickstarter campaign then click here!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Papercuts and Inkstains: Book 2 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Rob Jones (Cast Adrift, Profits of Doom)
Michael Sambrook (Together Forever, Profits of Doom)

Art By
Rory Donald (Cast Adrift)
Jim Lavery (Together Forever)
Mike Smith (Profits of Doom)

Cover By
Jim Lavery

Published By
Madius Comics

Synopsis

Join the second book in the Papercuts and Inkstains series as an investigative space explorer as he plunges deep into a derelict planetary colony.  Jeff's bad day is about to get a whole lot worse as he struggles with everyday mundanity, otherwordly interventions and ungodly body hair then finally those brothers of B.O.O.B.D.A.E.are back as they deal with bringing forth the instrument of the apocalypse in the only way they know how...badly...and with a lot of faffing about.

Review

With the sheer amount of fun that I had with the first installment of Papercuts and Inkstains, I was really looking forward to the next one so when I had the chance to read one for this site, I jumped at the chance.

With Robin Jones having won Best Letterer at the Ashcan Awards, there was quite a large amount of expectation that came with this issue and when I started to read this one, I couldn't help but think that this would more than live up to the high standard set by the first issue.

The issue starts with a science fiction story called Cast Adrift and it really brought forth the feeling of dread and wonder that I got while watching the Alien movies for the first time.  The deliberate pacing of the story really gave it a chance to grow and to get the reader hooked.  The twist at the end was delivered in such a way that while it wasn't the biggest shock in the world, the writing made it seem like a big deal.

With the first story giving the issue a superb and quite creepy feel, I was wondering where the Madius team would take the style next.  Well, they took it in a horror feel but with a great comedy slant that made me think of The 'burbs but with a darker feel.  I also loved the Jeff Goldblum references.  I won't list them all here but believe me, they are definitely worth reading.

This installment ends with the return of the brothers of B.O.O.B.D.A.E and their misadventures continue in a wonderfully funny way.  There are some instantly quotable moments as well and I, for one, hope that they will be making another appearance in issue three.

The art here is very varied and really does well to fit in each respective story.  The best is by far the art for Cast Adrift because it really gives that story a classic science fiction feel but without feeling at all cliched.

All in all, this is a brilliant follow up issue to the fantastic first installment but it does lead to one question.  How are they going to top this one?

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

Monday, 20 July 2015

Indie Spotlight: Blood Red Moon Kickstarter Campaign


Article By
Patrick Scattergood

I know it's been quite a while since the last indie spotlight article on here so be prepared for some great ones coming up.

With that in mind, the first one in this series is going to shine the spotlight on the new Kickstarter campaign by the supremely talented writer Victor Wright.


Name: Victor Wright
Occupation: Writer

The British indie scene is one full of variety and full of some incredibly talented people.  The scene is also full of creators that not only create their own titles but also help other creators get their work out there.

One of these such people is Victor Wright, from Geeky Kid Comics.  Known for some very interesting and well written titles such as Exposed and more, Wright has since turned his hand to the often written werewolf title in the shape of Blood Red Moon but what will make this addition to the full genre stand out?

Synopsis

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could control a werewolf? 

If you could raise an army of them, would you keep peace within a hostile world or would you try to conquer it? 

Blood Red Moon is about a clan of Viking warriors who capture a werewolf and use him to turn their own people into savage beasts ready for all out war. Forcibly wed into the clan the monster has no alternative other than to obey and he does so – at first reluctantly, but soon he succumbs to the way of the beast realising he can benefit from the ordeal.

Overview

Personally, with some superb looking art from Carlos Villas and an alternative cover from Ryan Brown, Blood Red Moon sounds like it will be a rather interesting take on the world of the werewolf.  The addition of the vikings and the creatures interactions with the clan sounds like it will be a superb and different way of looking at just how that would affect their world.

With Wright at the helm, you just know that you are going to get an action packed story but one with characters that will be able to hook you in from the very first page.

Check out the campaign here!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Affinity Bridge: A Newbury and Hobbes Investigation Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
George Mann

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Crime, Thriller, Steampunk, Supernatural

Synopsis

Welcome to the bizarre and dangerous world of Victorian London, a city teetering on the edge of revolution.  Astounding new technologies abound; airships soar over the capital, trains rumble through the streets, and clockwork automatons carry out menial tasks.  But beneath this dazzling veneer lurks a sinister world.

Ghostly policemen haunt the alleyways of Whitechapel, cadavers rise from the dead, and now an airship has crashed under strange circumstances.

Mystified by a series of grisly murders, Scotland Yard call upon the brilliant Sir Maurice Newbury, Gentleman Investigator for the Crown, and his recently appointed and unflappable assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes.

So begins the first thrilling adventure of Newbury and Hobbes, in a steampunk London that you will never forget.

Review

As a big Newbury and Hobbes fan, and that of George Mann's writing itself, Titan Books releasing the newer books in the series has been a massive plus for me.  When they announced they were going to re-release the first books too, I have to admit that I was excited to see them revisiting the stories that made the pair of investigators so popular.

I must admit that it had been a bit of a while since I had read the first novel so to revisit this new edition from Titan Books was a real treat for me, especially after having such high hopes for it.  There is sometimes the flaw of reading a book and then not revisiting it for a long for the reader to then view it with rose tinted glasses.  With this one that wasn't the case.

Mann has a reputation of writing exciting stories with such fully fleshed out characters that you find yourself caring about each and every thing that happens to them during the story.  That is the case here.  Even with their early selves, the characters of Newbury and Hobbes are here in all their popular glory and they leap off of the page in such a way that you almost feel like you know them personally.  It's not wonder that Mann's characters are so well respected when they feel this realistic.

The story itself is very well paced and written.  If you have ever read a George Mann book before then you know exactly what you are in for.  There are some absolutely brilliantly thrilling action sequences in here that manage to both excite you but also doesn't take away from the almost subtle nature of their investigation.  I loved the fact that you had all the grisly murders and almost supernatural feel of the crimes going on around them but the writing still managed all of that in a subtle and sometimes quiet nature.

The world of steampunk novels is started to feel rather crowded at the moment but with books like this one coming out and being revisited, the old saying of the cream rising to the top is definitely true and that is the case with the work released by George Mann.  I, for one, can't wait for more adventures from the team of Newbury and Hobbes and nor should you.

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

Gotham: Season 1 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Created By
Bruno Heller

Based on Characters Created By
DC Entertainment

Genre
Crime, Thriller

Cast

Ben McKenzie as James Gordon
Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock
David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne
Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth
Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot
Erin Richards as Barbara Kean
Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle
Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma
John Doman as Carmine Falcone
Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney
Morena Baccarin as Dr. Leslie Thompkins
Drew Powell as Butch Gilzean
David Zayas as Sal Maroni

Certificate
15

Synopsis

The story behind Commissioner James Gordon's rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman's arrival.

Review

When it was announced that there was going to be a television series exploring the world of Gotham City before Batman, I have to admit that I wasn't all that sure that it was needed at all.

After watching through season one, I have to admit that there are some absolutely brilliant ideas here and there were also some brilliant appearances from some of the best characters in the rogues gallery for one of the worlds most iconic superhero characters.  That said, the execution of it all seemed a little off for me.

Stories wise, the whole season seemed a little bit like it couldn't really make up it's mind as to which tone to take.  Some had a rather macabre sense of humour to them and others were dead serious detective stories.  That lead to some of the episodes really clashing styles wise and for me, as the viewer, it took me out of the season at times.

The season was at it's best when it was just being a straight up, very dark detective story but with the added hints at who the characters were becoming.  Those little hints and nods were very well done and I especially liked Victor Zsasz being utterly insane yet with a quiet sense of intelligence to him.

Characters wise, they were very well done.  I loved the growing resentment of James Gordon at the world crumbling around him.  I loved the evolution of  the Selina Kyle character and watching that of Oswald Cobblepot trying to put all the pieces in place to rise to power.  There were times where the series felt more like it was the 'Cobblepot Show' and not about Gotham itself but with a performance as strong as the one that Robin Lord Taylor gave, it made that part of the story very gripping.

For me, the highlight was Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth.  I've always thought that Pertwee was a massively underrated actor and here he gives the character of Alfred a sense of strength yet also makes him in to a very sympathetic character as well.  I loved that they hinted at a darker past for the character but left it to the viewers imagination instead of having to spell it all out.

However, for me, the weakest link was that of the Fish Mooney character.  There were some brilliant moments where she came across as menacing and dangerous but then times where she came across as an almost comical version of the character and that lead me to not being able to take the character seriously, which hurt the ending parts of the season massively because it had gotten to the point where I wasn't all that bothered about what was going to happen to her character next.

All in all, I was a little disappointed with this series.  There were some absolutely brilliant moments that really gripped and hooked me in but then they would follow it up with an episode that would feel so confused as to whether it wanted to be funny or dead serious and that would destroy the momentum that series had built up.  That confused style took away the 'what would happen next' feeling that I love my shows to have and that meant that I did have the urge to watch episode after episode.

That said, the quality of the episodes that were very well done were done so to such a degree that I'm still looking forward to seeing where season two is going to take these characters next but I'm still hoping that they will manage to pick a style and try to at least stick to it.

Show 6/10

Monday, 13 July 2015

Avengers Grimm Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written and Directed By
Jeremy M. Inman

An Asylum Film

Genre
Action, Fantasy, Adventure

Cast

Casper Van Dien as Rumpelstiltskin
Lauren Parkinson as Snow White
Lou Ferrigno as Iron John
Milynn Sarley as Cinderella
Marah Fairclough as Sleeping Beauty
Rileah Vanderbilt as Rapunzel
Elizabeth Peterson as Red
Kimo Leopoldo as The Wolf

Year Released
2015

Certificate
15

Synopsis

When Rumpelstiltskin destroys the Magic Mirror and escapes to the modern world, the four princesses of "Once Upon a Time"-Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Rapunzel-are sucked through the portal too. Well-trained and endowed with magical powers, the four women must fight Rumpelstiltskin and his army of thralls before he enslaves everyone on Earth.

Review

The Asylum are like the Marmite of the movie world.  You either love them or you hate them.  Personally, some of their movies are in the 'so bad they're entertaining' camp so sometimes I just stick one on and have a bit of a giggle.  Other times, their movies are so bad that you can't get all the way through them but which side of the fence would this one fall in to?

Well, with a premise that combines that of being a superhero team, much like Marvel's The Avengers, and combining it with being fairytale characters, I went in to this one with admittedly low hopes but with my interest high.  I mean, surely it will at least be watchable and fun with a story like that.

After watching it, I have to admit that it's not one of those Asylum movies that falls in to the 'so bad it's good' camps.

Don't get me wrong, there are some really good moments.  I especially liked Elizabeth Peterson as Red, who came across as being supremely confident in the role.  Casper Van Dien did a relatively good good as Rumpelstiltskin too.  The addition of the original Hulk, Lou Ferrigno, was a nice touch, even if the make up job did make him look like Dr Freeze and Colossus had a love child.

The rest of the cast looked utterly bored for the majority of the movie and that lead to some of the dialogue, admittedly already quite high on the cheese quota, coming across as quite flat and life less.  In fact, some of the delivery came across as either the actor or actress being bored or downright confused by what they were meant to be saying.

With a movie that promises magic and loads of battle scenes, there would need to be someone that was capable of using their rather low budget in an effective manner and for the most part, those effects did their part.  There were a few moments where they did look a little rushed and unfinished but for the budget that the team had, they weren't the worst I've ever seen in an Asylum movie and that's saying something.

If you can look past the flaws, the dead acting and some of the most obvious continuity errors I've seen in a long time, especially when Red's stunt double is a good foot taller than the actual actress, then you might enjoy this one.  It had an interesting idea but the execution of it sadly felt lacking and didn't even venture in to the 'so bad it's fun' category that I mentioned earlier.

Definitely one I won't be rushing to watch again any time soon.

Movie 3/10


Screams and Good Deeds: Tiffani Brooke Fest Talks to COASM



The folks here at COASM are clearly big horror movie fans and with that in mind, it’s our pleasure to welcome Tiffani Brooke Fest in to our little slice of the internet to talk to Patrick Scattergood about her work as well as her fundraising campaign.

PS: Firstly welcome to COASM.

TBF: Thank you so much! And thank you for offering to interview me!

PS: Your bio says that you moved to New York with only $500 and a dream. What made you decide to take such a brave move? 

TBF: Hmmm. Well let’s see. I guess you could say I’ve wanted to be an actress from a very early age. I did community theatre in my hometown in Texas, from around the age of 8, & then went on to performing arts high school. I always told my mom I was moving to NYC to become an actress. And since my mom was a single mother of four, & we didn’t have money for me to go to college, I knew I would have to work hard & get a scholarship. Which I did! So I moved to NYC to go to Fordham University at Lincoln Center and payed my own way by working different part time jobs & going to school.

PS: You’re perhaps best known for movies such as ‘Circus of the Dead’ but what first drew you to the horror genre? 

TBF: To be honest, horror was never my intention. Although I LOVE movies like the original SCREAM, & Sigourney Weaver in ALIENS. I just knew I wanted to act. I sort of fell into the genre by accident.
Tiffany During a Photo Shoot For Malevolent Magazine

The first film I booked when I moved from NYC to LA was a horror film called BLOOD ISLAND, which shot on location for 14 days in Belize. After that – horror seemed to find me I would say. And I’m happy it did. You can’t find more loyal fans, or more down to earth people to work with. It’s truly been such a blessing.

PS: In ‘Circus of the Dead’, you worked with the legendary Bill Oberst Jr, one of the hardest working people in horror today. What would you say was the best moment shooting that movie and working with someone so respected in the genre?

TBF: Well Bill & I have the same talent manager, so I had met him a few times previously but we had never worked together. He is so natural on-camera. I remember we ran through the scene & he was so attentive, his eyes always looking right through you. It made my job really easy. All I had to do was listen & react. It was a surreal experience really. And he’s so caring between takes. Making sure I was comfortable & that I wasn’t hurt. We had a really intense, disturbing scene together & it felt really intimate. Billy Pon – the director, made me feel right at home too. We plan to work on many more projects together. I really love the COTD family.


PS: With the horror genre getting so much flack recently for being violent or gory, what would you say has been the most positive or beautiful impact on your life from being involved with that?

TBF: Like I mentioned before, I have never met more loyal, loving, & supportive fans in my life. They really made me feel like I belonged. Like my performance meant something. It’s funny, because for making such a creepy or “gory” film, I’ve never been on a friendlier set. Horror films are mostly passion projects. So you get people who LOVE what they do. They aren’t in it for the money or the fame, so there is no pretense or Hollywood egos. It’s like a family movie making experience really. Everyone is there because they love it.

PS: What are some of your upcoming projects? Any new genre films?

TBF: Circus of the Dead has opened up so many doors for me. I am forever grateful. So far this year I am shooting the lead role in a paranormal thriller called FORESEEN – you can follow us on FB & check out the trailer at www.facebook.com/foreseenmovie & at www.foreseenmovie.com

I am also in the middle of shooting a horror comedy called Dinner with the Dwyers – produced by Marv Blauvelt & co-written by Trevor Wright, I get to act alongside some pretty amazing scream queens, like Felissa Rose & Maria Olsen! I feel really lucky! Not only do I play one of the lead roles, I also wrote & perform 2 original songs for the soundtrack. You can follow our FB page for updates – www.facebook.com/dinnerwiththedwyers

I’m also shooting Krampus The Devil Returns this winter with Jason Hull – so stay tuned! Follow us on FB at www.facebook.com/krampusreturns

PS: You’ve recently announced that you are fundraising for a trip to Nepal in the fall to help the survivors of the recent disaster there. What made you decide to step up and volunteer in the efforts to help the survivors there?

TBF: To be honest, I’ve always wanted to volunteer abroad. But for some reason this tragedy just really struck me. I remember the first thing I read was that some 50,000 pregnant women were displaced & giving birth in deplorable conditions. I really wanted to support these courageous women survivors.

PS: With the fundraising in place for the trip, what would be your biggest goal to achieve while there?

TBF: Really my only goal while I’m there is to help these devastated communities rebuild. And to connect to the people there with my whole heart. To offer them my support & encouragement. It’s going to be difficult I know – I was warned to expect to walk up to 4 hours each day to the rural communities we are working with, & that I will either be camping with other volunteers or staying with a host family in very minimalistic conditions. Things like hot showers & wifi won’t be accessible. Things we all take for granted daily – myself included.

PS: How would you say that your Buddhist faith helps you in wanting to help those less fortunate and how would you say that it affects your choice of projects?

TBF: As a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, world peace, & the spreading of humanistic ideals, are part of my mission in this lifetime. Gratitude is the key to happiness & I wanted to express my deep sense of gratitude for my life. When we help others – we truly help ourselves, for it allows us to break through our own suffering & delusion, & builds our inner capacity for compassion & sincerity.

In terms of it affecting the kind of roles I take, all human beings are inherently Buddhas. And suffering equals enlightenment. So as long as I am portraying a human being who is having a human experience, good or bad, I am happy to do it! And if through their suffering we can learn something valuable, then even better!

PS: Before you go, we all here at COASM, just wanted to say good luck with your Nepal journey and the fundraising.

TBF: Thank you soooo much Patrick! I am honoured that you offered to share my mission. I will be arriving in Nepal Sept 28th & will be staying for 3 weeks. I am still ACTIVELY fundraising & EVERY DOLLAR TRULY MAKES A DIFFERENCE! Please share this page with others if you can! Any donation is 100% tax deductible, & goes directly to rebuilding supplies, & housing & feeding volunteers like myself who will be traveling to Nepal & giving their time, their hands, & their hearts. 

Thank you so much for sharing! www.gvnfundraising.org/tiffanifest

Tiffany behind the scenes with Felissa Rose at Dinner With the Dwyers



Sunday, 12 July 2015

Adventure Time: Sugary Shorts - Volume 2 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Roger Langridge
Alex Cox
Bryce Carlson
Josh Williamson
Derek Fridolfs
Kory Bing
Sfe Monster
Noelle Stevenson
Ryan Pequin

Art By
Roger Langridge
Alex Cox
Dustin Nguyen
Jason Ho
Derek Fridolfs
Whitney Cogar
Kory Bing
Sfe Monster
Noelle Stevenson
Ryan Pequin

Lettering By
Britt Wilson
Steve Wands
Mad Rupert

Published By
Titan Comics

Genre By
Comedy, Television Tie-In

Synopsis

CANDY COLORED SHORTS GALORE!

Collecting stories by amazing comic creators from around the world, SUGARY SHORTS volume two stars all your favorite characters from Marceline the Vampire Queen to Cinnemon Bun illustrated in a variety of wildly different styles.

This all-too-sweet collection contains so much sugary goodness it's almost too delicious to handle.

Review

As a big fan of the Adventure Time television series, there have been some great tie-in titles coming from the folks over at Titan Comics.

With so many stories in this collection, 18 in total, the length of the stories can range from 2 pages to 8 and really feel as varied as they could possibly be.  With that in mind, I would have thought that Sugary Shorts: Volume 2 would be incredibly disjointed and feel too busy at times.  That's not the case here at all.  The stories really do manage to catch the feel and atmosphere of the television show itself and does so in a way that will really impress the fans of the show.

The writing itself also does a great job of staying relatively cohesive and give the collection a great sense of flow and pacing.

Art wise, there really isn't any certain art style that you would be able to pinpoint at all.  In fact, I would even go so far as to say that the art here really does have a bit of something for each and every fan.  You have some that look absolutely identical to the television series but then you have some much darker styles.  The sheer variety of art here does add a great touch to the collection.

The stand out story for myself would have to be the soft and subtle storytelling of 'Heart' that deals with a charming story of friendship.

One of the biggest strengths of the collection is the fact that it deals with so many different themes that each story that it really feels like a collection of episodes.  That said, there were a couple of times where the sheer difference of the stories did tend to feel slightly jarring but not to the point of being distracting.

All in all, if you are a fan of Adventure Time then this is definitely a collection that you will want to add to your collection.

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

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Rabbit Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written and Illustrated By
Rachael Smith

Published By
Avery Hill

Genre
Drama, Comedy

Synopsis


Eleanor and her younger sister, Kathy, have ran away from school, from home and from all of their troubles.  They may also be running from reality itself, as they seem to have acquired a new friend in the form of a talking cartoon bunny rabbit called Craig.

As Craig grows bigger and bigger, the girls soon discover exactly what kind of creature has joined them on their adventure.  Running away is not as easy as it seems.

Rachael Smith's follow up to the acclaimed House Party is a surreal and affecting coming-of-age tale that captures the wonder and vulnerability of youth.  Both funny and sinister, familiar yet fantastical, you won't soon forget The Rabbit.

Review

Rachael Smith is a writer and artist that I am a very big fan of.  Her wonderfully surreal yet down to Earth style coupled with her bright and playful art style always seems to hook me in and give me an enjoyable and heartfelt story.

With The Rabbit, I have to admit that I am not all that sure as to how to explain it without giving loads of the story away but here's my best shot.

One of the things that struck me the most about this one is that it manages to do something rather unique.  It manages to be very familiar and keep all of the things that I love so much about her work yet at the same time it manages to feel completely new and even a new direction for her writing.

A lot of this is down to the simple fact that despite there being some rather fantastical moments in the story itself, the story was kept rather subtle for most of the release and that helped some of the 'louder' moments have a lot more impact.  The almost lyrical flow of the story itself really gave it a great pace and feel that really had me wanting to turn page after page to see what was going to happen next.  

Another thing that I liked was the simple fact that the relationship between the sisters is so well written that you almost feel like you know the pair of them yourself.  It's both funny yet sweet and realistic at the same time.  You really do end up feeling like they are real life sisters and that's thanks to the superb writing by Smith.

If you have read any of Rachael Smith's work before, you will be very familiar with the colourful and fun artwork that populates her work and that is definitely here in this one.  Thanks to the story alternating between the real world and a world that you're not sure if certain characters exist or not, the story works superbly well and it really brings the fantastical tale to life in a bold and exciting way.

I must admit that before I read this one, I was a little unsure if it would match the superb heights of her previous stories but not only did it do that, it surpassed them in a big way.  I really felt like this was a bit of a new direction for her work and each work that she has released has really shown a growth in her craft so this is by far, the best one she has done yet and I can't recommend it high enough.

Story 9/10
Art 9/10
Cover 9/10
Recommended 9/10
Overall 36/40

Pre-Orders will be available from the beginning of August from Avery Hill Publishing

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Sense8: Season 1 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Created By
J. Michael Stracynski
Andy Wachowski
Lana Wachowski

Genre
Drama, Science Fiction

Cast

Aml Ameen as Capheus
Doona Bae as Sun Bak
Jamie Clayton as Nomi Marks
Tina Desai as Kala Dandekar
Tuppence Middleton as Riley
Max Riemelt as Wolfgang
Miguel Angel Silvestre as Lito Rodriguez
Brian J. Smith as Will Gorski
Freema Agyeman as Amanita
Daryl Hannah as Angel
Terrance Mann as Mr. Whispers
Naveen Andrews as Jonas Maliki

Certificate
18

Synopsis

A group of people around the world are suddenly linked mentally, and must find a way to survive being hunted by those who see them as a threat to the world's order.

Review

Once in a while a television show turns up in a blaze of hype and seems to be loved by everyone that watches it.  Sense8 is one of those shows.  Created by the Wachowski's, creators of The Matrix trilogy and J. Michael Stracynski, creator of Babylon 5, this show had a massive reputation to live up to.

I must admit that while they were good, the first two episodes didn't grab me nearly as much as I thought it would but due to my wife's insistence that I should carry on watching, I binge watched the rest of the series and I am more than happy that I did.

As the series progressed, the characters not only grew but also turned in to a group of people that I, as the viewer, really started to root for and care about.  This was especially true in Lito's story as well as Nomi's too.  I won't say much about it because I hate reviews with spoilers in but there is a truly beautiful moment in the 9th episode between Lito, played by Miguel Angel Silvestre, and Nomi, played by Jamie Clayton.  The way their personalities grew as the series progressed and then played their later scenes with such sympathy that it turned in to my favourite episode of the the entire series.

With such an intelligently written series full of twists and turns, you would have to have an incredibly strong cast to do it justice.  That's exactly what we have here.  I've already noted the performances by Clayton and Silvestre but it's not just their show.  Far from it.  I can honestly say that there isn't a single weak link in the cast at all.  Terrance Mann as Mr. Whispers is a definite delight as the wonderfully evil and chilling villain of the season.  Personally, I can't wait to see more of him during the second season.  

It's a rare thing for a series to actually live up to the mass of hype that surrounds it but for once, this one not only matched it but surpassed it with style.  With some truly fantastic writing, so many twists and turns that you can't help but keep your eyes glued to the screen, a very strong cast and an ending that leaves you wanting more, this is a series that I honestly can't recommend high enough.

Stand Out Episode

Episode 9 - Death Doesn't Let You Say Goodbye

Show 8.5/10

The Cat With a Really Big Head Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written and Illustrated By
Roman Dirge

Cover By
Roman Dirge

Published By
Titan Comics

Genre
Supernatural, Comedy

Synopsis

From the ridiculously silly and twisted imagination of Roman Dirge comes the story of a cat called Cat and his stupidly ridiculous big-head and a tale of what really happens deep inside your body when true love ups and dies.

This collection of two of Roman's strangest and weirdest tales will take you from the bottom of a cat bowl to the very heart of human despair!

Featuring all new coloring by Adam Bolton.

Review

The thing that I have always liked about the Lenore series of stories is that while there is a macabre sense of humour running through them, there's always a really strong emotional core there too that makes you really care about the characters.

On the other side of things, I've not really read a whole lot of Dirge's other work so when I was offered the chance to read this one, I have to admit that I absolutely jumped at the chance to take a look.

With a title like The Cat with a Really Big Head, you kind of already know what you are in for from Dirge,  A tale that has a Tim Burton style sense of the macabre while still hooking you in emotionally and this collection does exactly that.

With the first tale, The Cat With a Really Big Head, the style that Dirge is known for is definitely there in spades.  The story itself flows with a great sense of pace and charm.  There are moments that you find yourself laughing yourself raw but then all of a sudden find yourself feeling really sorry for the character.  That shows a real sense of quality to Dirge's writing and it really shows here that Dirge is definitely one to know how to craft a quality story.

The second tale in the collection is called A Big Question and has a really dark sense of humour to it.  If you like the Lenore stories then you'll like that one.  It's the sort of story that wouldn't have been out of place appearing in Beetlejuice or another such movie.

That's then followed up with The Monsters in my Tummy.  Now this one is an absolute heart breaker of a story.  According to the foreword, it is based on a break that Dirge had at the time and that really shows through the writing.  You can almost feel the raw emotions of it all flying off of the page at the reader.  The art really does go hand in hand with this one too and does an utterly brilliant job of making the story come to life.

All in all, this is a fantastic and heart felt collection.  The stories here really do show Dirge at his best and if I'm honest, he's one of the few people in the comic book world that you know you can count on to deliver a quality release and this is just another one in his long line of titles.

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

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Husk Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written and Directed By
Brett Simmons

An After Dark Films Movie

Genre
Horror

Cast

Devon Graye as Scott
Wes Chatham as Brian
C.J. Thomason as Chris
Tammin Sursok as Natalie
Ben Easter as Johnny
Joshua Skipworth as Corey
Nick Toussaint as Alex
Mike Cornelison as Farmer Comstock

Year Released
2011

Certificate
18

Synopsis

A group of friends stranded near a desolate cornfield find shelter in an old farmhouse, though they soon discover the dwelling is the center of a supernatural ritual.

Review

As regular visitors to this site know, I sure do love my horror movies.  I don't mind if they're big budget or no budget as long as they keep my interest.

I'd heard a lot of very bad things about this movie and, to be honest, it had kind of put the movie out of my mind.  That's when I saw it going for next to nothing in a shop and decided to pick up a copy to see if it truly was as bad as it had been made out to be.

After watching Husk, the thing that struck me was the simple fact that I couldn't see why it had gotten so much bile thrown towards it upon release.  I'll admit that while it's not exactly the most original horror movie that I have ever seen, it is one that is very well made considering the fact that you can see it had a much smaller budget than some of the other movies in this genre.

The thing that I liked the most was the feeling of dread that ran through the entire movie.  Even with characters that kind of merged together, the story itself was an interesting one and one that was shot well and with style.  There were some fantastic moments where the tension was built up superbly well and the effects were used to their utmost effectiveness.

Whenever the scarecrow's would appear on screen, the movie would use a lot of great angles and used the settings as if they were another character in the film.  That, for me, really raised the quality of the movie much higher than other, similar movies.  

As horror fans, I know a lot of you will want to know about the deaths and the gore.  Here the deaths themselves are done well and do create some very effective 'jump' scares for the viewer.  Some of the deaths do look very well done with the effects used and I'm a big fan of using as many practical effects in a movie as possible and they do that with style here.

Personally, while Husk isn't the most original thing that I have ever seen in the horror genre, it's a well shot and well paced movie that has a great, grimy feel to it all.  There are a few plot holes here and there but for the most part, I enjoyed it for what it was.  A chilling and effective horror movie so if you get the chance to pick it up then do.

Movie 7/10