Follow The Money (TV Series) (2016)

  
Alexander Sødergren (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) is a ruthless business man who works for a Danish company called Energreen. He has plans to corner the energy market, and believes wind farms are the future. When a dead body is pulled from the sea in which a wind farm is situated, a detective called Mads Justesen (Thomas Bo Larsen) believes that the shady Energreen had something to do with it. 

  
One thing I’ve noticed about these Scandinavian crime dramas is that it nearly always starts with dead body being pulled from the water. Maybe they should take up swimming perhaps? 

Also playing into proceedings is a young mechanic and ex convict called Nicky (Esben Smed Jensen), who finds himself tangled up with Energreen when he tries to resort to blackmail. There’s also a young lawyer called Claudia (Natalie Madueño) who receives a promotion which helps her in her investigation into the dodgy goings on inside Energreen. 

  
The plot moves along very slowly, and is nowhere near as gripping as previous Scandinavian dramas like The Killing or Trapped. This is more the political side of things like Borgen, which is no surprise really as it was created by the same guy. The dialogue is very wooden in places, though one would guess that maybe something has been lost in translation. Nikolaj Lie Kaas is very good as the ruthless Alexander or ‘Sander’ as he’s also called. He is very convincing in his role and thankfully the poor script doesn’t seem to hamper his acting quality whatsoever. 

Thomas Bo Larsen is also good as the dogged detective Mads Justesen, who’s home life also weighs him down as his wife suffers with multiple sclerosis. I felt that the aspect of his wife suffering with such a debilitating disease was kind of shoehorned in, just to make us feel more sympathetic towards him. I felt it was unnecessary as his character was already adequately defined for us to relate to as an audience. 

  
The camerawork is great in my opinion however, as it moves around the office like a shark, perfectly capturing the claustrophobic atmosphere of an office where so much is going on. 

Scandinavian dramas have always been worth watching, and ‘Follow the Money’ is no different. However I would love to see a series which delves even more into the dark hearts of man, maybe something involving the occult. 

FOLLOW THE MONEY is released on DVD & Blu-Ray Monday 25th April by Nordic Noir & Beyond and is available for pre order now. 

3/5

JM

  

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Hot Toys Kylo Ren 1/6 Scale Figure

  
  
“There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?” In terms of quality Star Wars figures from Hot Toys, there really has been an awakening. Straight out of the box you can see how impressive this figure is. Hot Toys have really shown their skill with this Kylo Ren figure. The quality of the clothing is so good, and everything just feels good in the hand. 

   
  
 Included in the box are three pairs of interchangeable hands, two spare pins for the wrists should the others be broken, the stand to sit this beauty on, a spare lightsaber hilt which is attached to one of the hands. The reason the hand is attached to the lightsaber is because the lightsaber lights up, and comes with the three small batteries required to power it up. You will need a small screw driver to remove a cover to insert the batteries, which can be a bit tricky. 

   
   

When changing the arm with the LED lightsaber, you need to unzip the sleeve, pull the arm out of the socket and then insert the other arm. You can remove the red lightsaber parts from the hilt of the loose lightsaber and attach them to the hilt of the one attached to the arm. The LED lightsaber arm doesn’t offer as much movement as the standard arm, as the wrist joint isn’t as flexible, so you may need to alternate between the arms when posing the figure. 

   
   

The loose lightsaber hilt can be hooked onto the belt and sits on it quite nicely. The hood can be pulled down should you decide you want to have it that way. The movemen and articulation is second to none. It really is an amazingly designed figure. The belt can’t be removed, nor can the hood, so don’t try as you may damage what is a stunning figure. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the wonderful Jennifer at Sideshow Collectibles for providing this for review, without her help none of these reviews would be possible. You can order your figure now directly via the following link: 

Kylo Ren

  
This really is worth getting for all you collectors out there. Stellar work!
5/5

JM

  

Albert Pyun – Moviemaker 

 Those of you out there that love trashy movies, movies with cyborgs or movies set in post apocalyptic wastelands, then chances are you’ve seen Albert Pyun’s work at least once. My first foray into the work of Albert Pyun was the Jean-Claude Van Damme action movie ‘Cyborg’ back in 1992. I had already been a Van Damme fan at this point, but I loved the whole post apocalyptic setting and after watching it, I set out to find more of Pyun’s work.
  
My next stop was Dollman starring Tim Thomerson, and also an early role for Jackie Earle Haley. This was a crazy movie, with Thomerson as an intergalactic space cop who crash lands on earth. However whereas he is normal size on his home planet, he is only doll size on Earth. After befriending a woman and her son, Dollman must protect them from an angry gang and other enemies that seek to cause them harm. It was great fun with some good effects. Although I must say the effects have aged badly now that we are in the realms of high end CGI. 
  
After Dollman I found out that Pyun had directed a Captain America movie, which I was very eager to see. At the time I remember really enjoying it, but again now that we have CGI and Chris Evans as Cap, it just doesn’t hold up well to repeated viewings. Albert Pyun does well with limited funds, and this is something that is true with all of his movies. He’s a man who’s creativity seeps forth from every frame, and who’s passion for movies is so infectious, that you can’t help but admire the man. He is inspiring because he adapts to whatever restrictions may be placed on him, which is usually in the form of limited budgets. 
  
Brain Smasher: A Love Story was the next film I stumbled across. Andrew Dice Clay stars as a bouncer who has to protect Teri Hatcher from Shaolin Monks. There’s a bit more to it, but that’s the basic gist of the story. It’s not the best film I’ve ever seen, and to be fair probably not something I would watch again anytime soon. That said it was cheap to buy so I can’t complain too much. Only recently have I stumbled across the Nemesis series. So far I’ve only watched the first one, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Oliver Gruner stars as a cyborg cop who is tasked by his boss to find and subdue some cyborg terrorists. It’s pretty basic stuff story wise, but the action and stunts are top shelf and I must say that this is my second favourite Pyun movie, just behind Cyborg with Van Damme. 
  
Another Albert Pyun movie I have recently watched is Mean Guns starring Ice T and Christopher Lambert. It’s about a group of villains gathered together in a prison, forced to fight to the death for $10million dollars. It’s got good action, but the dialogue feels very forced, and Ice T isn’t the best actor in the world. He pretty much seems to play the same character in every movie I’ve seen him in. 
  
I’m happy to say that Albert Pyun is still making movies, but health issues have required him to slow his output down just a tad. I do hope we get to see many more of his movies for a long while yet. He really does dig deep and deliver his best effort, even if the end result isn’t always something you’d watch again in a hurry. It’s that kind of willingness to entertain that I find very admirable, and is why he is a director I have a lot of time for. There are still plenty more of Albert Pyun’s movies out there for me to discover, for that I am both thankful and excited. 
  
I’d like to thank 101 Films for the Nemesis boxset and Mean Guns. They are both available to purchase now via https://101-films-store.myshopify.com/

 
JM

Does Zavvi hate you?

  
Zavvi. Everyone pretty much knows the above logo, and can remember when they first came on the scene. I’ve dealt with Zavvi on multiple occasions and for the most part it has not been a pleasant experience. Zavvi are so inept at dealing with customers that it borders on total incompetence.

 One incident I had, and I know a few others who were in the same boat, was when Zavvi accidentally changed the price of the original Star Wars trilogy steelbook. I can’t remember the exact price it was changed to, but it was somewhere around £15. There was a mad scramble and many placed their orders. When Zavvi realised their massive cockup they went into damage limitation mode. Now most companies that would make that sort of error would honour original purchases and changed the price before any future purchases can be made. But not Zavvi. No they decided to cancel all orders made and basically tell people who complained that it was tough shit. Zavvi don’t always make those sort of errors, but how they deal with customers and their complaints is consistently awful. You can’t phone Zavvi and complain. You can phone them, but it’s automated and tells you to email them via the site before the call cuts out. Emailing them is equally infuriating. The reply is nearly always robotic in its tone and lacks any real sense of wanting to help the customer. Basically in a nutshell, Zavvi just don’t care. 

  
Zavvi tend to release a lot of steelbooks. A lot of these are also ‘exclusive’ to Zavvi and no other retailer. Now this is bad. Bad because it forces you to buy from them rather than give you the option of shopping around. Now this means Zavvi get to set the price. They also pull a few nasty tricks too. One involved the Guardians of the Galaxy steelbook. Zavvi quickly sold out, but later on ‘discovered’ a few in the warehouse. However when the steelbook went back up on the site the price had risen from £24.99 to £49.99. Zavvi decided they’d beat the eBay scalpers to the punch and marked that sucker up for double the price. Film companies need to stop giving Zavvi exclusive rights to release some movies, maybe then Zavvi would start to treat their customer base with some respect.

 
Which brings me to the dreaded ‘ZBOX’. The ZBOX was Zavvi’s way of tapping into that whole mystery box thing which seems to be all the rage. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if their ZBOX wasn’t full of junk that Zavvi charged £19.99 for. When the ZBOX wasn’t selling that well Zavvi tried lowering the price, but this didn’t work in raising its popularity. So Zavvi tried a different tact. They started selling the ZBOX with exclusive steelbooks. Meaning if you wanted a choice steelbook, you’d have to buy their box of useless shit too. Didn’t buy the box, don’t get the steelbook. It’s that kind of underhanded approach to selling that really makes me dislike Zavvi. 

  
Their packaging is probably the only positive thing about Zavvi. The above picture is not what they send steelbooks in, but it was for a time. Zavvi changed from the sturdy boxes to the crap Jiffy bags as it was cheaper. However after some uproar Zavvi went back to using the boxes. Lots of people complain about Zavvi, but I don’t think Zavvi listen. Even complaining to them via Twitter elicits a robotic response. Zavvi need a drastic overhaul if they are to instill any confidence in customers looking to purchase from them. 

JM

Stan Lee 1/6 scale figure from Hot Toys

  
Wow. Just look at the sculpt on this awesome 1/6 scale figure of comic book legend Stan Lee. Available to pre order now on the link below via Sideshow Collectibles:
Stan Lee Stan Lee Stan Lee Sixth Scale Figure

 
Hot Toys and Sideshow have always been at the top of the table when it comes to scale figures and busts. This really is an uncanny likeness of Stan Lee and it is available at a great price. 

JM

  

Out Now – Slow West 

Starring Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee is a movie that is “Tense, twisty and Brilliant” – The Guardian. 

   
 
Below is an interview with Fassbender in which he discusses what attracted him to the role:

Slow West is available now on DVD & Blu Ray from all good stockists. 

JM

  

Stung (2015)

  
Julie (Jessica Cook) and Paul (Matt O’Leary) are on their way out to the American countryside to cater a fancy party. However things take a turn for the sinister when a wasp nest is disturbed and the partygoers are set upon by giant mutated wasps. 

  
The wasps tear through the party, forcing some to retreat to the house in a desperate fight for their lives. Lance Henriksen plays the Mayor, Carruthers and the home owner is played by Clifton Collins Jr. The practical effects and gore are done very well. There is mild CGI, but this is a film that understands its core audience and also pays homage to the horror films of the 80’s, so the CGI is used sparingly and mainly just to show the wasps flying. 

  
More of a horror comedy, than a straight horror, there are some laugh out loud moments, particularly from Henriksen who seems to be enjoying himself. Some may recognise Matt O’Leary from another one of my favourite horrors ‘Frailty’. He plays the part of the reluctant hero quite well, and throws himself into the role. Jessica Cook is okay, but just feels like the generic damsel in distress, despite the films best efforts to make her appear otherwise. Clifton Collins Jr. is great as the hunchbacked Sydney, the homeowner with a dark secret. He seems to be able to slip into any role with ease and I’m always pleased to see him on screen. 

  
Lovers of old school horror comedy will find plenty to like here, however it’s not hard to see why this has gone straight to DVD here in the UK, as it lacks in places. That said I still recommend you give it a watch as it’s perfect beer and pizza entertainment. This copy of Stung was generously provided by the folks over at http://www.fetch.fm, and is available to pre order now with a release of October 26th….just in time for Halloween. 

  

3/5

JM

The Voices (2014)

  
Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) lives alone with his dog called Bosco and his cat, Mr. Whiskers. He works in a factory that makes bathroom products and makes regular visits to a psychiatrist whom he tells his problems to, and Jerry has problems. Jerry hears voices, his cat and dog speak to him on a daily basis, but Jerry tries to get on with his life without that affecting him. 

  
When Jerry meets Fiona (Gemma Arterton) at the office party, he thinks he may finally have a chance at normality. However when Fiona stands Jerry up after they make a date, things take a turn for the sinister and slightly bizarre. 

  
My problem with The Voices is it tries to balance horror and comedy, but fails miserably. Its wild shift in tones make it hard to enjoy, and the film doesn’t really flow. Where films like Shaun of the Dead managed to seamlessly mix horror and comedy, The Voices jumps between the two rather than have them work harmoniously. Ryan Reynolds is good in the role of Jerry, and also in doing the voices of Bosco and Mr. Whiskers, but the film just can’t recover. 

  
The film tries to show mental illness in a realistic light on occasion, but the comedic tone undoes any hard hitting effect of the seriousness that we are presented with. We see what Jerry’s apartment looks like when he’s off the pills (clean), and what it looks like when he’s on them (blood soaked and excrement filled), but it’s so cackhanded that it hurts the movie. The Voices is available to purchase now from http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk. 

  
2/5

JM

Voices of the Damned (2015)

  
When I read ‘The Venus Complex’ by Barbie Wilde, I was enthralled. It was magnificent in every way, and I knew then that the literary and horror fiction world in general, truly had someone special on their hands. So you can probably imagine my glee when I was offered the chance to review Barbie Wilde’s new work, the brilliant short story collection ‘Voices of the Damned’. The opening story is erotically charged and bristling with descriptions of violence, that those who’ve read Barbie’s previous work will have come to expect. 

   

Hellraiser fans will be happy to discover that the ‘Female Cenobite’ actually has a name and a past which is given great detail in this book. It really is an experience worth having, and those of you with a love of horror, violence and the odd dash of erotica will find much to like here.

 

Dotted between each story are pieces of exquisite artwork from folks such as Clive Barker, Nick Percival, Eric Gross and Steve McGinnis, plus a few others. I found myself studying each piece before pressing on with the story and they really do capture the essence of the horrors Barbie Wilde manages to put down on paper.  ‘Voices of the Damned’ is released on October 31st 2015 and is available for preorder now via this link: 

https://www.sstpublications.co.uk/Voices-of-the-Damned.php

*Update* Barbie Wilde has informed me that there’ll be two editions available of Voices of the Damned. A standard hardback release and a deluxe edition. Both will be available via Amazon on 31st October. However, if you order directly from the link above, you will get a free book will all of the artwork inside. Now that’s great news. 
  
5/5

JM