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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The Night of the Virgin (2016)

Nico, a naive 20yr old man, sets out on New Year’s Eve to lose his virginity. He comes across a mature woman called Medea, who invites him back to her apartment. What follows is a night Nico will never forget….if he lives to remember it.

From the big lettered opening title, this has a real late 80’s midnight movie feel to it. It doesn’t take long for the craziness to start and once it does, it doesn’t let up. I’ve heard a few liken this to early Peter Jackson’s work, and I am inclined to agree. Blood and other bodily fluids hit the screen with wild abandon.

Javier Bódalo who plays Nico has a great geeky quality that makes you root for him and will him to survive. He’s like a Spanish McLovin, someone who has a exudes an inner confidence that his outer appearance doesn’t live up to.

Destined for cult status, The Night of the Virgin is a great gore filled horror to watch on a Friday night, post pub and pre takeaway. Its one I definitely recommend.

4/5

JM

Pyewacket (2017)

Pyewacket stars Nicole Munoz as Leah, a teenage girl frustrated at her life after her mother decides to uproot and move out into the countryside. In an act of desperation, Leah summons a demon called Pyewacket to kill her mother, however later has a change of heart. But Pyewacket has already been summoned, and it won’t go away empty handed.

Superbly crafted and dripping with tension, Pyewacket is a slow burner. Time is taken to get to know each of the characters, and to understand Leah’s frustration at being separated from her friends and been taken out of her comfort zone. It also shows that if you do believe in black magic and the occult, then you really shouldn’t take it lightly and should always be careful what you wish for.

Leah and her friends feel like real people, still in that moody teenager phase and treating black magic as a novelty. Leah’s petulant reaction over having to move house also seems like something a typical teenager would do. Nothing ever feels cliche or run of the mill. It’s refreshing to watch a horror movie that is true horror, and treats the audience with respect, rather than resorting to cheap jump scares and the like.

The final third is very impressive, and whilst the horror is stepped up, it never loses its identity and caves to typical horror tropes. The ending will be talked about for a long time. A horror movie that is genuine terror all the way through and teaches you to never mess with things you don’t understand.

4/5

JM

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.

Gomorrah S3 (14)

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

Modus (TV Series) (2015)

The Scandinavians do it again. Seriously. Very rarely have I watched  a programme from Sweden or Denmark where I have been bored or found the story uninteresting. Detective Ingvar Nyman is sent to Uppsala to investigate the grisly murder or a bishop. Teaming up with a psychologist, they seek to uncover just why people are turning up dead in some very strange circumstances. 

There are gruesome scenes which may not be for the squeamish, but this series is never gratuitous. It’s superbly acted and the story is gripping. It’s mostly subtitled, but there is quite a bit of English speaking in it too for those that have an allergic reaction to reading subtitles. Seriously folks, you’re missing out on some gems if you refuse to watch movies or programmes with subtitles. 

The cast do a very good job in keeping you engaged, and play their parts to perfection. I really hope that there is more of this to come. MODUS  is released on Blu-ray & DVD on Monday 19th December by Nordic Noir & Beyond.

Modus is definitely a series that you need to give your time to. Very impressed. 

5/5

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