Youth (2017)

Youth, takes a look at the lives of a group who are members of a Military Cultural Troupe in 1970’s China. Over the course of the movie friends find love, but the death of Chairman Mao throws the country into chaos. The innocence of youth is then stripped away on the battlefield, and life for these young people will never be the same again.

The director, Xiagang Feng, really captures the period well. The lives of these young men and women is shown to be an enjoyable one. Communism and politics is always there, but never becomes the focal point of the movie…well at least not for the first half.

It’s uplifting to see these young people enjoy their time together, having fun and finding love, all while the threat of civil unrest looms. To then see their lives thrown into complete disarray, and for the reality of their situation dawn on them, is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking because I felt they were essentially forced into fighting. They act or they die. This was a regime where independent thought was not welcomed at all. So to watch friends torn apart, it is sad to see.

All the time you can see each of those young men and women yearn for the past to be the present. For the ‘good old days’ to be here again. It’s never a case of nostalgia taking over, it’s just the desire for life to be simple again. I think we can all identify with that, especially with society as it is today. You want to go back to when things were easier to understand, to when life never felt so complicated. ‘Youth’ captures that feeling in a very bittersweet way. The horrors of war are never underplayed either, which makes it all the more painful to know that those men and women will never return to the way it was.

4/5

JM

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Gomorrah – Season 3 (2018)

After the brutal, gut wrenching denouement to season two, I was on tenterhooks to see how the third season would unfold.

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Still reeling over the shocking murder of his daughter, Ciro (Marco D’Amore) has left Naples and relocated to Sofia, though his means of earning a living continue to be morally sketchy. Genny (Salvatore Esposito) has taken over his father’s affairs, after the latter’s death by Ciro’s hands, and continues to do things the way he sees fit rather than caving to pressure from others, with devastating consequences.

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Scianel is released from prison and sets about clawing some lost power back, whilst Ciro battles his demons and returns to Naples, making new alliances and new enemies. He meets up with a new acquaintance called Enzo, nicknamed Blue Blood, a young hot-headed man with a gang of equally hot-headed friends. Enzo wants to reclaim the city he believes should be his by right, as his family has some history with the ruling power. Ciro sees something in Enzo that he likes, and decides to help him in his quest. However in doing so it causes problems with old friends, and creates some new enemies.

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Gomorrah has been a powerhouse on television in its native Italy, and it is just as popular in the UK. The acting from everyone involved is top quality and each person’s arc progresses naturally, leaving you eager for more. Season three continues the trend of wrong footing the viewer, and is equally as brutally devastating as before.

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One of the finest crime sagas in history, and one I hope has many more seasons to come. Fantastic.

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Season 3 of Gomorrah is released on 12th March, and is available to pre order now:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B0794MCD33/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519649540&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=gomorrah+season+3&dpPl=1&dpID=514xn45gpvL&ref=plSrch

5/5

JM

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Bad Day for the Cut (2017)

Directed by Chris Waugh, ‘Bad Day for the Cut’ sees a mild mannered farmer called Donal (Nigel O’Neill) catapulted on a mission of vengeance after his mother is murdered. On his journey of revenge he discovers shocking revelations about his mother, who harbored dark secrets of her own.

With the help of a would be hitman Bartosz (Jozéf Pawlowski), Donal seeks to find those responsible and make them pay.

Also co starring Susan Lynch as psychotic gangland boss Frankie Pearce, ‘Bad Day for the Cut’ is a movie that marries brutal violence with pathos and raw emotion, evoking similarities to the classic thrillers of the mid 70’s. The script feels real and things happen as you expect they would, not as you want them to. Donal is an ordinary man looking for revenge, and makes mistakes that an ordinary man would make.

At certain times heartfelt, and at others brutal and unforgiving, ‘Bad Day for the Cut’ is a revenge thriller that will be remembered for years to come, making Chris Waugh a director I shall be following very closely in the future.

‘Bad Day for the Cut’ is out now and available to order digitally from iTunes or on DVD from all good stockists.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B076W9ZC5P/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515596115&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=bad+day+for+the+cut&dpPl=1&dpID=51zEB1nqIqL&ref=plSrch
Highly recommended.

4/5

JM

Bruce Lee – LEGEND

Bruce Lee will always be a legend. His skill is unmatched, even today. There have been many collections of his movies, but this has got to be one of the most stunning sets ever. 

House in faux leather, and containing four of his movies, plus a documentary, this set is a rare find. Made by Spectrum DVD, a Korean company, this is a set that very rarely ever shows up for sale anywhere. Now you have a chance, as it’s up for sale on eBay. Click the link below to view:

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F322938303685

A seriously rare set that any serious Bruce Lee fan owes it to themselves to have. 

JM

Prepare for the assault. 

The awesome Assault on Precinct 13 is getting another exclusive release from the folks over at Cine Museum. Below are pictures of all the available editions and a link to purchase. This will be the first exclusive from Cine Museum, with more titles to follow in the coming months.

Here’s the link to purchase

https://cinemuseum.store/collections/cinemuseum-exclusive
JM

Black Sails Season 1-4 Steelbook Unboxing

Wow. What a stunning steelbook set this is. Coming in two separate steelbooks, each one containing two seasons, this is a magnificent set that would be a treasure in anyone’s collection.

Housed in a lovely plastic slip cover, the steelbooks are glorious to look at, the artwork alone has been lovingly applied and advertises that there are over 100 minutes worth of extras to indulge in after you have binged all four seasons.

Out of the slip case, the steelbooks come together to form an amazing piece of art, detailing several characters, ships and of course pirate skulls. The likeness of Toby Stephens is really well captured, I would love to have something like this on my wall.

The rear of the steelbooks also form a piece when joined together. Okay, not as impressive as the art on the front, but nice to look at all the same.

The interior artwork of the first steelbook is mightily impressive however. Showing the characters relaxing and looking suitably moody, it is striking stuff. Black and gold being the only two colours used to bring it to life.

The art inside the second steelbook is just as good. This one is a bit lighter in tone, utilising a grey and gold look, it resembles a photo from the 19th century and looks amazing. All of the art would make great posters to be framed.

Black Sails Season 1-4 is available now to buy from Amazon, just click the link below:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B01N6X8UX0/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504381127&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=Black+sails+steelbook&dpPl=1&dpID=41wEcco6aRL&ref=plSrch
JM

Beck: Vol. 2 (2016) (TV Series) 

The Scandinavians really do know how to make thrilling drama. With the likes of Trapped, The Killing, Borgen and many others, they have thrilled UK audiences. Beck is another jewel in that crown. 

Peter Haber plays the brilliant Martin Beck, a Swedish detective who hunts down all sorts of criminals. He is called back into action when a journalist is found beaten to death in his home. Various fingerprints are found which may allude to the killer’s identity, but the further Beck and his team dig, the more they realise that things may not be as straightforward as they seem. 

However that is only the first case in this series. This wonderful procedural weaves through different grisly cases, whilst simultaneously delving into each of the characters lives. It does a great job in really investing in the characters and making you care for them. The acting really is first class.

The stories are thoroughly gripping too. The writing is intelligent and there are various twists and turns keeping you on the edge of your seat. The supporting cast are fabulous, and you never get the feeling like any one character feels redundant in their role. 

If the Scandinavians can continue to produce awesome television such as this, then I think we will always have something decent to watch. Even more than once. BECK – THE SERIES VOLUME TWO is released on DVD on Monday 10th October by Nordic Noir & Beyond.

5/5

JM

Gomorrah: Season 2 (2016)

Don’t read if you haven’t seen the first season. 

*CAUTION SPOILERS AHEAD*

With Don Pietro sprung from his prison convoy and Gennaro clinging to life after being shot and left for dead by Ciro, a power vacuum has been created and Don Salvatore is manoeuvring to take complete control of the city. Continuing on from the blisteringly good first season, Gomorrah aims to capitalise on its gripping story on the fall and possible rise of the Savastano clan. 

Ciro has decided to make a power grab himself, though not for complete control, rather just to stay alive. Gennaro looks to reconnect with his father but it doesn’t go as he would’ve hoped. What Gomorrah does well is fully flesh out every character, even those that are sometimes relegated to the background. The first season did it too. There were episodes that contained just a handful of characters, and didn’t need to constantly remind you that others existed. Same for season 2. One episode is dedicated almost completely to Gennaro and Don Pietro. It’s a thrillingly told episode, that shows you how deep bonds are between father and son, and how damaging a mistake can be. 

The acting is second to none. Seriously. Everyone owns their respective roles and nobody feels like they’re not pulling their weight. Same goes for the script. The story never feels like it flags, and is constantly keeping you on the edge of your seat. I seriously cannot wait for season 3.

Gomorrah season 2 is available to order now on Blu Ray and DVD from all good stockists. 

5/5

JM

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

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We can thank writer Seth Grahame-Smith for mashing up Jane Austen’s classic ‘Pride and Prejudice’ with the undead. It’s something that shouldn’t really work, as it’s two wildly different ideas being melded together. That said, it does work, and work quite well.

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The story really is just the standard tale of love between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, with hordes of the shuffling undead thrown in. Lily James is fantastic as Elizabeth, really getting into the fights, with the dashing Sam Riley playing Mr. Darcy, fighting by her side. Director Burr Steers said that most people couldn’t really figure out how to film the movie as they weren’t sure what direction to take it in. Burr Steers said he took the job because he was just going to film it like he would if it didn’t have zombies in it. Everyone plays it so straight and it makes it a very funny movie because of it.

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The gore is not bad, not as gory as I was expecting, considering we have flesh eating zombies on the prowl. The fight choreography is very well put together, and everybody seems to be throwing themselves into their roles. The supporting cast of Lena Headey, Charles Dance, Jack Huston and even Doctor Who actor Matt Smith are all cast brilliantly in their respective roles.

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The film does lag in the third act, which I was a little disappointed about, as that is exactly when it should be firing on all cylinders. The movie is released on Blu Ray and DVD on 27th June.

3/5

JM

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Angel (1982)


Danny is a saxophonist with a jobbing band that play in various cheap locations. One late night after a gig he goes outside the venue to get some air and speak to a girl that has taken a shine to him. Shortly after he witnesses the murder of his band manager and an innocent girl in the wrong place at the wrong time. The violence he witnesses sends Danny on a quest for revenge, which will change his life forever. 


Swapping a saxophone for a machine gun, Danny works his way through terrorists that had a hand in the murder of his manager and the destruction that followed. At the same time he tries to keep some semblance of normality in his life, and continues playing with the band and trying to form a meaningful relationship with the lead singer, Dee. However Danny’s journey is fraught with peril and threatens to ruin the relationship he has with his band, plus fail to give him the closure he so desperately seeks. 


Moody and dripping with atmoshphere, this was Neil Jordan’s first directing gig and contains themes (troubles in Northern Ireland) that would echo through his following movies. Stephen Rea is brilliant as Danny, fumbling his way through his quest in seeking retribution for the deaths he has witnessed. The police follow and question Danny, but their motives are vague to say the least. You’re never quite sure just what they are trying to achieve and Danny usually finds himself arousing no suspicion whatsoever. The film leaves you with the feeling that revenge is a fruitless endeavour no matter how you go about it. Some things just have a way of going their own way, no matter your efforts to change the outcome.


The acting is great from everyone involved, and the movie displays a dreamlike quality at times, with the music from Danny’s saxophone playing in the background. It’s one I recommend, though it isn’t the bloody revenge type thriller you may be expecting. 

4/5

JM