Monday, 31 August 2015

Sarah Jane Adventures: The Complete Collection Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Created By
Russell T. Davies

Genre
Science Fiction, Adventure

Cast

Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith
Daniel Anthony as Clyde Langer
Alexander Armstrong as Mr. Smith (Voice)
Tommy Knight as Luke Smith
Anjli Mohindra as Rani Chandra
Ace Bhatti as Haresh Chandra
Yasmin Paige as Maria Jackson
Mina Anwar as Gita Chandra
John Leeson as K-9 (Voice)
Paul Marc Davis as The Trickster

Synopsis

Investigative journalist Sarah Jane Smith, with the help of her adopted son, his friends, and an intelligent supercomputer, combats evil alien forces here on Earth.

Review

As a bit Doctor Who fan, I'm always a bit weary of the various spin off's that seem to come from the long running shows as they are very hit and miss.  For every great one that comes along, you seem to get two or three that are utterly awful but I was intrigued enough to see where this series would land on the quality scale, especially considering it featured one of my favourite companion characters of all time.

The first couple of episodes of the first season were good at introducing the various characters but there just seemed to be something missing but then it kicked the series in to high gear and there were some absolutely brilliant episodes that not only gripped my little lad but also gripped me as a Doctor Who fan.

The thing that kept the series together for me as a viewer was the simple fact that it not only stood on it's own merits but it was also an entertaining addition to the Doctor Who canon.  There were loads of links to the Doctor's adventures but also some very well written episodes the expanded on some of the lesser known characters and aliens that appeared in the series through the years.

Russell T. Davies has got a great mind for creating much loved shows such as Cucumber, Queer as Folk and many others but I wasn't really sure how his very visceral writing style would translate to a children's show but the transition was seamless.  After seeing his writing here, I really think that Davies could turn his hand to writing anything and it would be entertaining and character driven.

For me, the major plus of the series was quite frankly the beguiling performance by Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith,  She gave the character that spark of energy that made her so popular with fans of the original series but also gave her a mature, sometimes even sad sense of personality to the character after being left on Earth by the Doctor.  It was quite to see her as a character with so many layers instead of just fawning over him and for me, that made the series well worth watching for that alone.

All in all, I don't think it quite matches the brilliance of the Doctor Who series from which it span off from but it is definitely a series that will please fans both young and old.

Show 7.5/10

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Deathday Presents: Issue 1 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
David McCluskey

Art By
Pankaj Tulaskar
Tina Ghadge

Lettering By
Micah Myers

Cover By
Pankaj Tulaskar
Tina Ghadge

Published By
Dammaged Comics

Genre
Horror, Comedy

Synopsis

Did you know that each year Satan celebrates his deathday?

And did you know that each and every demon living, in the bowels of Hell has to bring him a present...a good present?

Well.. Gillgoth, Rhynoph and Mollong'hell all forgot.

Now they face a race against time to get 'topside' to appease Satan and bring him his...

Deathday Presents.

Review

David McCluskey is a name that regular visitors to this blog should be very familiar with.  His work treads a fine line between horror and comedy, although his recent release Doppleganger was a much darker and horrific affair, and that works very well with his wry and cynically sarcastic humour.

Here in Deathday Presents McCluskey has crafted a very funny tale that feels a bit like a comedy horror as if it had been written by an almost more sarcastic Monty Python team.

The story itself moves along at a great pace and really flings the jokes out at a very rapid pace.  I have to admit that not all at knee slapping gaffaw inducing gags but I had a big smile on my face while reading this one and that's exactly what it set out to do.  I loved the idea of taking the often used 'forgotten gift' idea but turned it on its head by setting it in Hell and using a slight hint of horror as well.  It felt almost like the feel that the movie Little Nicky would have had if the movie had been a lot funnier than it ended up being.

Character wise, we're not told too much about the main trio of demons here but there's enough to want to get to the next issue and see where they are going to take this mission of trying to find Satan a suitable gift.  I did like the interaction between the main characters and some of the more background related ones because it showed that there are some relationships there that would be interesting to explore so I'm hoping that McCluskey will pick up on those in future issues.

Art wise, I loved it.  The creative team here hit a home run with the mixture of a sometimes near cartoon look but had a lot of horror story nods added in to the background and more.  The subtle little things in the backgrounds and the character mannerisms were very nice touches indeed and that did a lot to make the story and characters really feel memorable.  Each character felt unique and showed their personalities very well, especially in the later pages.  Definitely a creative team there to keep an eye on.

All in all, this is a great addition to the comedy horror genre.  The jokes were well placed, there were memorable characters and some brilliant and subtle nods to the horror genre were very much appreciated by this long term horror fan.  Definitely a title well worth picking up if you're in the need for a chuckle or ten.

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

Adventure Time: The Original Cartoon Title Cards - Seasons 3 and 4 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Various

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Television Tie-In, Art

Synopsis

Adventure Time’s adorably weird and wonderful post-apocalyptic world has captured the hearts of fans worldwide. 
Featuring all the title cards from seasons 3 and 4 of the show, plus early sketches, creator commentary, and exclusive insights into the vast and varied inspirations behind the art, the second volume of Adventure Time: The Original Cartoon Title Cards is an absolute must-have for every fan.

Review

Since it's premiere episode in 2007, Adventure Time has grown in leaps and bounds.  The story of a boy and his strange dog like creature going on crazy adventures burst forth from the mind of Pendleton Ward and an absolute crowd pleasing creation was born,

Last year Titan Books released the first volume jam packed with art, background information and interviews that not only pleased fans of the show but also gave newcomers to the series a fantastic glimpse in to the inner workings of the popular television show.

The thing that worried me was that maybe the second volume would feel like it was little more than a repeat of the first volume and that it wouldn't cover any new ground at all.  That was massively far from the end result.  Instead we have gotten what can only be described as an absolute treasure trove of a book that will not only thrill fans of the show but will hopefully show other people just what they are missing by not watching.

Art wise, and let's face it because that's one of the main things that people have bought this book for, it's near unbeatable.  There are so many different styles of art here that you really can see just how talented a team the people behind Adventure Time are.

I've always though that the title cards for Adventure Time never seem to get enough credit for what they actually are.  They lay down the foundations for what the episode is going to be about or even what style the episode is going to take.  That's an important part of the appeal of the show.  The title cards may just seem to be eye candy on a passing glance but they are so much more than that.  That's why a book like this is so welcomed by the fans.  The insight in to the creative process of making the title cards and the show is an absolute gem.  I loved the little tidbits that they put forward and the quotes accompanying the title cards are brilliantly picked and really fit the book like a glove.

All in all, if you are an Adventure Time fan then this is most definitely an essential purchase because it truly does capture the feel of the show perfectly and gives the gorgeous title card art the space in the spotlight that it truly deserves.

Presentation 9.5/10
Informative 9/10
Recommended 9.5/10
Overall 27/30

Gotham By Midnight: Annual #1 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Ray Fawkes

Art By
Christian Duce
Lee Loughridge

Lettering By
Saida Temofonte

Cover By
Juan Ferreyra

Published By
DC Comics

Genre
Horror, Supernatural, Crime

Synopsis

Get set for a tale of love and vengeance in this centuries-old mystery for the Midnight Shift – and the Gentlemen Ghost!

Review

As a fan of the Gotham By Midnight series, I was intrigued to find that there was an standalone annual to go with the series that I hadn't read yet.  The overall series really does do a good job of delving in to the sometimes supernatural side of Gotham but I was left wondering where this story would fit in to the world that they had created for the characters of the Midnight Shift.

One of the things that has always stood out for me is that each character is completely separate and each has their own motivations for being in the team and taking part in the teams investigations.  The writers took a slow burning approach to revealing the personalities of the characters and that has worked extremely well.  Two of the most interesting characters for me have been that of Drake and Corrigan so when I saw that they were taking centre stage here, I was quite excited to see where the story would take them.

This story takes more of a classic detective vibe for this stand alone story and it really gave it an almost Sherlock Holmes feel, which as a Holmes fan myself I appreciated.  The relatively subtle pace, although it picks up massively near the end, let the story grow and let the reader slide in to the twists and turns.  Fawkes also gave the tale a sympathetic and slightly romantic feel as well but did so without going overly sappy or over the top.  That, in itself, lead to some very good character development for the characters of Corrigan and Drake.  I would have liked to have seen a little more substance to the attraction between Craddock and Drake but with hindsight, that may have taken away slightly from the crime side of things but there was a good back story for the character of Craddock as the Gentleman Ghost.

The one thing that I felt the story lacked was in the ending.  They had a fantastic build up, there was an appearance of Spectre that was handled well and they even had the normally unbeatable and unflappable character of Drake show a little bit of a softer side but the ending itself felt a little off.  I'd even say a little bit rushed but that said, it did leave me wanting to know more about the characters connections to one another so hopefully they'll reunite in the series itself.

The art has always been one of the things that has attracted me to the series and here they take a little bit of a style change.  The dark and brooding nature of the series is kept here but is done in a slightly more subtle way so that the action and story aren't lost under a mass of shadows and darkness.  I loved the slightly different look to the Gentleman Ghost and appreciated that they didn't have him go in to the weird spider-like creature until right at the end because  that really kept in line with the rest of the style of the annual.

All in all, if you are a fan of the Gotham By Midnight series then this is a very good read.  It does a superb job of showing some of the more interesting characters in Gotham in a different light and gives us a good, character driven and sometimes even sympathetic story that I would love to have been explored in a little bit more detail but it's an entertaining story and one that is well worth picking up.

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

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Revolutionary Road Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Justin Haythe

Based on the Novel By
Richard Yates

Directed By
Sam Mendes

A Dreamworks, BBC Films, Evamere Entertainment, Neal Street Productions, Goldcrest Pictures Film

Genre
Drama, Romance

Cast

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Wheeler
Kate Winslet as April Wheeler
David Harbour as Shep Campbell
Kathy Bates as Mrs. Givings
Richard Easton as Mr. Givings
Kathryn Hahn as Milly Campbell
Zoe Kazan as Maureen Grube
Dylan Baker as Jack Ordway

Year Released
2008

Certificate
15

Synopsis

It's 1955. Frank and April Wheeler, in the seventh year of their marriage, have fallen into a life that appears to most as being perfect. They live in the Connecticut suburbs with two young children. Frank commutes to New York City where he works in an office job while April stays at home as a housewife. But they're not happy. April has forgone her dream of becoming an actress, and Frank hates his job - one where he places little effort - although he has never figured out what his passion in life is. 
One day, April suggests that they move to Paris - a city where Frank visited during the war and loved, but where April has never been - as a means to rejuvenate their life. April's plan: she would be the breadwinner, getting a lucrative secretarial job for one of the major international organizations, while Frank would have free time to find himself and whatever his passion. Initially skeptical, Frank ultimately agrees to April's plan. 

When circumstances change around the Wheelers, April decides she will do whatever she has to to get herself out of her unhappy existence.

Review

In Revolutionary Road we see the powerhouse acting duo Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio reuniting for the first time since their turns in the movie Titanic.  

The story here needed people such as Winslet and DiCaprio as the leads for the simple fact that this subtle story has a real slow burning feel to it and that would rest solely on the leads shoulders.  Here, the story moves along at such a pace that you really do feel yourself becoming part of the characters lives and it slowly creeps up on you.  That gives the more heartbreaking scenes a real emotional impact that otherwise would be missing from such a subtle movie.

With such a slow pace, you can't help but be so focused on the characters lives and personalities.  I really loved that approach to the movie because of the simple fact that it really did feel like you really were watching it unfold before your eyes.

The performances here are absolutely brilliant.  This is one of those rare movies where I can honestly say that there aren't any weak links in the cast at all.  DiCaprio and Winslet are utterly beguiling in their roles and the chemistry here is used so well that you come away from the movie feeling like they were a real life couple.  The way you are feeling so involved in their lives really give their performances an extra layer.

One of the things that I liked the most about the movie is the absolutely brilliant direction by Sam Mendes.  If you think back to his direction on American Beauty then you are completely on the right path here.  I loved the fact that Mendes never seemed to go for the stereotypical sort of scene and angle.  Instead he went for some very brave choices and they worked superbly well.

All in all, this is an extremely well paced, hard hitting and extremely well acted movie that is both hopeful in some places but also utterly heartbreaking as well.  Definitely well worth seeing, especially for the performances from DiCaprio and Winslet.

Movie 8/10


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Zero World Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Jason M. Hough

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Science Fiction, Thriller

Synopsis

In the near future, technologically enhanced superspy Peter Caswell is dispatched on a top-secret assignment unlike any he's ever faced.  A spacecraft that vanished years ago has been found, along with the bodies of its murdered crew - save one.


Peter's mission to find the missing crew member, who fled through what appears to be a tear in the very fabric of space.

Through this mysterious wormhole lies an even more confounding reality: a world that seems to be Earth's twin.

Review


Jason M. Hough is known to the visitors of this site for his series of novels in the Dire Earth trilogy.  While I loved the series itself, I felt it went a little bit disjointed in places but that said, it was a well paced and interesting series.

Here he returns with a spy thriller mixed up with a space traveling science fiction story and what a mix it is.  It feels kind of like a James Bond or a Jason Bourne thriller with a science fiction element and enough twists and turns to make James Patterson blush.

The story itself feels like one that you will pick up and not want to put down at all.  The mixture of an old school style spy story with the idea of someone being 'enhanced' is one that would sometimes come across as a little bit cheesy but here, Hough's writing gives it such an assured edge that it comes across as completely gripping.  The pacing is well thought out and the twists spread out so well that you can't help but go for 'just one more page'.

I really liked the variety of characters in this one.  I loved how the characters weren't paper thin and had reasons for all of their actions.  The best of these lay with the main character of Caswell himself.  I loved the way the story dealt with the idea of accountability in that Caswell had none because he could forget everything he had done at the end of each mission.  What would that do to a person?  How would it affect their mental health?  The story itself left the reader with some fantastic questions to think over about some of the characters and the twists itself.

For the action fans out there, the sheer body count and scenes of violence are often shocking and bloody.  The scenes don't glorify the violence itself, instead it treats it like a means to end almost.  I liked that about the story because some spy thrillers tend to try to make the violence and fight scenes feel 'cool' and 'different' and that can sometimes come across at the expense of the story itself but that's definitely not the case here.

All in all, I absolutely loved this new novel from Hough.  The twists and turns were well thought out and some were even quite shocking in their execution.  If you are either a spy novel fan or a big science fiction fan then this book does a fabulous job of mixing the two without it feeling disjointed or too busy.  Well worth picking up.

Story 8/10
Characters 8.5/10
Cover 7/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 31.5/40

Monsters University Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Dan Scanlon
Daniel Gerson
Robert L. Baird

Directed By
Dan Scanlon

A Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios Film

Genre
Animated, Adventure, Comedy

Cast


Billy Crystal as Mike (Voice)

John Goodman as Sully (Voice)
Steve Buscemi as Randy (Voice)
Helen Mirren as Dean Hardscrabble (Voice)
Peter Sohn as Squishy (Voice)
Joel Murray as Don (Voice)
Sean Hayes as Terri (Voice)
Dave Foley as Terry (Voice)
Charlie Day as Art (Voice)
Nathan Fillion as Johnny (Voice)
Alfred Molina as Professor Knight (Voice)

Year Released
2013

Certificate
U

Synopsis


Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn't always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn't stand each other. 


"Monsters University" unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.

Review

When it was announced that there would be a sequel to Monster's, Inc after more than a decade, I was curious as to how it would work.  Especially after the original movie had ended in such a beautiful and perfect way.  Well, that was easy.  The movie wouldn't be a sequel, it would be a prequel.

Disney and Pixar have long had a really productive and successful relationship but even them making a new movie with some of their best characters seemed like it might be a step too far.

That said, Monsters University is one of those movies that completely took me by surprise.  When you look back on their other sequel called Cars 2, a movie that didn't even remotely come close to the fun of the original, this one is a movie that really shows that movie how to do it right.

The story itself is a rather interesting one if you are a fan of the original movie.  It may not be the most original story in that it shows how the two main characters became friends but they handle it in such a deft manner that it comes across as really heartfelt and charming.  Some of the popular characters make an appearance too and the new additions to the cast really do help to bring the story to life for the viewers.

During the story there are many jokes and moments that will keep the little ones more than hooked all the way through it but there are also some superb moments for the mums and dads that are watching alongside their little ones.  I've always loved it when a family movie manages to do that and this one does it very well.

Cast wise, this is honestly one of the strongest Pixar movie casts that I have seen in a long time.  Their performances really do mesh incredibly well and it really does sound like they're having a fantastic time.  The addition of Helen Mirren to the cast was an inspired choice, she really does give the story not only a touch of class but also a very strong and interesting take on her character of Dean Hardscrabble.  I also loved the addition of Nathan Fillion, one of my favourite actors, as the character of Johnny.  He sounded like he was having a great time hamming it up and coming across as a cocky and unlikable character.

All in all, this was a brilliant prequel to one of my favourite Pixar movies.  I'll admit that it doesn't quite match the sheer brilliance of Monsters, Inc but it does come very close.  At the heart of the movie is a story of friendship, belonging and, at times, bravery.  The team here really took that idea and gave us a very sweet movie that managed to handle the story without feeling saccharine and melodramatic.  Definitely one that the family will want to watch and rewatch.

Movie 7.5/10


Saturday, 8 August 2015

Virtues of War Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Bennett R. Coles

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Science Fiction, Action, Military

Synopsis

The Terran military, the Astral Force, launches a mission to crush a colonial rebellion on the Centauri colony. Although Expeditionary Force 15 succeeds, the surviving veterans remain scarred —physically and emotionally, and the consequences of their actions follow them back to Earth when terrorists seek to exact catastrophic revenge.

Lieutenant Katja Emmes is a platoon commander, leader of the 10-trooper strike team aboard the fast-attack craft Rapier. Although fully trained, she has never led troops in real operations before, and lives in the shadow of her war-hero father. 
Sublieutenant Jack Mallory is fresh out of pilot school, daydreaming about a fighter pilot position in the space fleet. He is in for a rude awakening.

Lieutenant Commander Thomas Kane uses a six-month deployment in command of Rapier is to secure his rise to stardom within the Astral Force. He also plays the subtle politics of the military.

Review

As visitors to this site know, I'm a bit of a science fiction fan and recently I've been reading a lot of science fiction novels and watching shows / movies etc.

As well as reading a lot of William C. Dietz books, I was given a chance to review this book by Bennett R. Coles.  The synopsis on the back of the book made it sound like it would be right up my alley so I literally jumped at the chance to review this one.

After reading this one, I was both impressed and a little disappointed.

One of the things that struck me was the fact that despite it being quite a long book, there didn't seem to be a whole load of character development here.  That's a bit of a shame because of the simple fact that just when you would start to get interested in a character, they would either disappear in to the shadows and barely get mentioned again or they would be killed off.

The main strength of the book is by far the sheer amount of detail and effort that Coles has put in to the technical side of things here.  For a science fiction nerd such as myself, I really appreciated that part of the book and it's one of the strongest parts of the entire novel.

There are some really well paced and thought out twists as well as some cinematic battle sequences, although those felt a little bit too busy at times.  I think that because of the volume of the battle and action sequences, the book would have benefited from a little bit more detail there because of the simple fact that there were a couple of moments where they all seemed to blend in to one.  Some of that was down to the fact that some of the ships felt a little nondescript and it was the same with some of the planets.  That said however, these moments did their job in that they created an exciting and sometimes claustrophobic atmosphere.

Overall, with this apparently being the first in a trilogy of books, this felt almost like an opening for the series and not an actual novel.  That may sound strange considering the length of the book but it truly did feel almost like it was there as a way of setting things up for the following two books.  That was a little disappointing in that there is a lot here for the science fiction fans and it had enough of a spark to make me want to get to the second book.

Story 7/10
Characters 6.5/10
Cover 6/10
Recommended 7/10
Overall 26.5/40

For Those Who Fell Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
William C. Dietz

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Science Fiction, Military, Action

Synopsis


The ice planet Algeron may be cold, but it offers an oasis of safety for the Confederacy at a time of shifting alliances and conflict in the galaxy.  The natives, however, are not so happy about the Confederation's presence on their planet, for this brings the threat of the dreaded Ramanthians to their doorstep.

Meanwhile, General Booly has received news that will change everything; at the heart of a Ramanthian fortress lies the key to a game-changing interstellar communication technology.  The military importance of stealing this technology is immediately obvious, as well as the ideal man who is fit to lead the Legion of the Damned on this vital mission: Lieutenant Santana.

Review


This is being the sixth entry in to the Legion of the Damned series, you would think that the quality would start to dip by now.  However, with this being written by the incredibly talented William C. Dietz, that is quite simply not the case.

It is true that the series has had a couple of books that were better than the others but with the quality being so high anyway, this series has always maintained a rather strong sense of quality with its various stories.

Here Dietz has crafted an intelligently paced and well thought out story.  One of the things that struck me the most about this installment is that this novel works on quite a few levels.  It is true that you will get more entertainment from the story if you are at least familiar with the previous installments but the really interesting thing about this one is that a newcomer can also pick this one up.

The idea behind the story being one of a quest to get some technology to turn the tide of the war isn't that new an idea in the science fiction genre, Dietz writes it in such a way that it feels completely absorbing.  The story really has a way of dragging you in to it that it feels like you are watching it unfold before your very eyes.  One of the things that has always been a strength of the series are the action sequences that have an almost film like quality to them and that's the same here.

Another strength of the story is the simple fact that, with the same as the other installments, the story never sticks to one side.  You get the entire story from both sides, especially in the battle scenes, and even shows how they improvise when their plans go wrong.

Some of the characters here do feel a little bit like they are there to be cannon fodder but with the main characters, we get some great character development here.  It's always been a strength of the series that you feel like you are involved in the characters live and have watched them grow as the series has progressed.

If you are a fan of the Legion of the Damned series then this is yet another quality addition to the series and one that is well worth adding to you ever growing collection.  If you have never read one of Dietz's novels then this one more than stands up on it's own.

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

Star Wars: Imperial Handbook Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Daniel Wallace

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Science Fiction, Movie Tie-In

Synopsis

The Empire has taken hold of the galaxy.  With this Imperial expansion, high-ranking officials from each branch of the military have set down tactical guidelines and procedures as well as collected mission reports and classified documents for all the newly ascending commanders.

In the wake of the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance intercepted this top-secret manual and have circulated it among their own commanders, who have added notes and commentary in the margins.

This collection of tactics and philosophy offers valuable insight into the Imperial military - no matter which side of the rebellion you're on.

Review

As a massive Star Wars fan, I can't get enough of reading books about the series of movies, novels set in the massive world that various writers have created for the characters and even books about the military aspects of the movies as well.

Here we have a book by the wonderfully talented Daniel Wallace, best known to this blog as the author of Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman, is an author that has a reputation for writing books about some of the most interesting aspects of movie making as well as getting to the heart of the characters themselves.

In Star Wars: Imperial Handbook, Wallace really has taken a huge step in to the already crowded Star Wars world to create a book that takes a look at the tactics that the Imperial military would have used against the Rebel Alliance.  I loved the fact that the book was not only written like a real manual but there are some great additions in the margins too.  It really does do a utterly brilliant job of not only being very interesting but also really doing a great job of showing the personalities of the characters involved.

One of the things that really stood out for me, other than the writing being so well laid out and paced, was the gorgeous art throughout the book itself.  Titan Books have done a brilliant job of amassing a great team of artists and that dedication shows in the finished book.  

This book is definitely one for the fans.  If you are a Star Wars fan then this book is the equivalent of a treasure trove of information and art.  There's something new on every single page and it even comes across as the kind of  book that you can read many times and notice something new each time.

Star Wars: Imperial Handbook is an absolutely essential purchase for any Star Wars fans out there.

Presentation 9/10
Informative 9/10
Recommended 10/10
Overall 28/30

Friday, 7 August 2015

Reuniting the Screams: Ruth Reynolds talks to COASM


Ruth Reynolds, star of the recently released movie ‘Reunion’ has kindly popped in to our part of the internet to chat to Patrick Scattergood about her career and influences.

PS: Firstly, welcome to COASM. It’s an absolute pleasure to have you here.

RR: Thank you for having me!

PS: What would you say was the biggest part of your decision to enter the acting world?

RR: I got addicted to telling stories and realized my dream could be my reality.

PS: You’ve had a wide range of roles, perhaps being best known for the movie The Guest House but what role would you say is the one that you are the most proud of?

RR: I get excited about every new journey I get to embark on. I really enjoyed working on a film we shot recently called Dessert. It was a new experience knowing the character I was playing was the writers real life story. I got the opportunity to develop a character to portray her truth in everything she was and wanted to share with the world

IMG_1478.JPG
Screenshot of Ruth Reynolds in Dessert
PS: Your most recent role is that of the young Mia in the psychological horror Reunion directed by Shawn Chou. What drew you to the movie? 

RR: I love Maria Olsen’s work and I saw that they were casting the younger version of her character. I was excited that I would have an opportunity to work with someone I admired. Then I got the script and was blown away. A psycho thriller that can make you sympathize with the cast as well as fear for their lives. I knew then I wanted to be a part of the project.
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Behind the Scenes of Reunion
PS: A lot of praise has been given to your performance as Mia in which your portrayal mirrored that of Maria Olsen’s performance superbly. What was it like working with such an important name in the horror world?

RR: Unbelievable! She built a beautifully broken character. To get the opportunity to work with her was something I had been hoping to do. The opportunity I got to work with her, as her, was unexplainably awesome!
  
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Behind the Scenes of Reunion with Lucas Barker
PS: As a reviewer myself, Reunion came as a breath of fresh air in that it was a horror movie but also tackled the tough and hard truth of domestic abuse. What kind of preparation did you have to go through to shoot such hard to watch scenes? 

RR: My first day on set, Maria and I talked about the story and the character she had developed. We both had an instinct of protecting the kid. This meant survival and doing whatever it took to keep him safe. Christopher Wolfe, my husband in the film, and I built a trust that allowed us to be present and deal with the real life situation of these characters.
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Behind the Scenes of Reunion with Christopher Wolfe
PS: After working with such talented people as Maria Olsen and many others, who would you say would be your dream person to appear in a movie alongside? 

RR: That is a very hard question, there are many people I would adore to work alongside. If I had to pick just one, right this second, I would say Juliann Moore.

PS: When getting ready for a role or appearance, do you have any quirks or traditions that you follow?
RR: Before walking out my door I always tell myself, it’s time to go play!

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PS: During your time as an actress, what would you say has been the strangest or funniest thing that you have seen written about yourself?

RR: I honestly am not sure.

PS: What do you like to do during your down time in between your appearances?

RR: I adore spending time with loved ones. If I am not with friends or family than I am most likely reading, hiking, learning something new. I also have a blast volunteering at local charities and as a Coach for Girls on the Run LA.

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Operation Gratitude
PS: Where can your fans see you next?

RR: The next flick coming out is Voodoo! A couple shorts and I am excited to say we will be shooting in the next year, Witchula (Excited to work with Maria Olsen again!!!)

I will also be in Austin for the Austin Revolution Film Festival! I'm honored to say that I am up for Best Actress in a short for the film Kook!

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PS: Thank you very much for popping in to our end of the world to chat with us today.

RR: Thank you! Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Chris Kobin
Tim Sullivan
Christopher Tuffin

Directed By
Tim Sullivan

A Tax Credit Finance, Social Capital, Ambergreen Entertainment, BloodWorks Film

Genre
Comedy, Horror

Cast

Bill Moseley as Mayor George W. Buckman
Lin Shaye as Granny Boone
Christa Campbell as Milk Maiden
Nivek Ogre as Harper Alexander
Andrea Leon as Val Turner
Ahmed Best as Crow
Katy Johnson Evans as Rome Sheraton (Credited as Katy Marie Johnson)
Asa Hope as Tina Sheraton
Alex Luria as Jesus

Year Released
2010

Certificate
18

Synopsis

When this year's round of unsuspecting Northerners fail to show up for their annual Guts N' Glory Jamboree, the residents of Pleasant Valley take their cannibalistic carnival on the road and head to Iowa where they encounter spoiled heiresses Rome & Tina Sheraton and the cast and crew of their "Road Rascals" reality show. 

Performing "The Bloodiest Show on Earth", our Southern Maniacs prove more than ratings killers.

Review

As a remake of Two Thousand Maniacs, the remake 2001 Maniacs starring Robert Englund was a great slice of completely over the top and politically incorrect fun.  In fact, it was a great throw back to the 1970's and 1980's slasher movies.

Fast forward to 2010 and there's a sequel that was written and directed by the same folks.  Personally I didn't know that this one even existed yet I was excited to check this one out despite the knowledge that Englund himself hadn't returned.

After watching this one, I have to admit that I kind of wish I hadn't discovered it existed.  I'm pretty easy going with my horror movies but this one has got to honestly be one of the worst ones that I have seen in a very long time.

For a start, the setting for the movie just appeared to be an empty field with some cheap looking tents.  Because of that, there never seemed to be that much of a sense of danger despite the simple fact that they were getting picked off one by one.

Talking of getting picked off, despite this being a 'harder cut' of the movie, the blood and gore that horror fans love so much is very sparingly used here.  Granted, I honestly don't think that would have saved this movie.

Story wise, it seems almost like this movie was stuck in a bit of a time warp.  Using the idea of making a reality show in the same vein as the God awful 'The Simple Life' with Paris Hilton in, to spur the movie on just didn't work for me.  If you are going to use a show as something to parody then you should first make it a funny one and secondly make it one that wouldn't make the movie feel so obviously dated.

One of the things that bugged me the most was the simple fact that a lot of the characters were so badly acted that they didn't even portray the fact that they were in danger all that well.  In some scenes, they weren't even running away when given the chance to escape!

Talking of the awful acting, I was surprised to find people such as Bill Moseley and Lin Shaye in this one.  Both are absolutely fantastic actors and truly deserve to be in much better movies than this one.  Moseley does such a great job as the Mayor that you almost forgot that Englund hadn't returned and Shaye is, as always, her normal bonkers self.  It was these two performances that were the only reason I actually managed to slog through to the end of the movie itself.

All in all, if you are a fan of the original movie or the Robert Englund fronted remake then I would strongly avoid this one.  It felt a hell of a lot longer than it actually was and didn't even manage to be one of those 'so bad it's fun to watch' type movies that I love so much.

Movie 3/10