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

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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

OThe Out-Laws (2016) (TV Series) 

The Goethals have always been a tight bunch. 5 sisters who have always relied and trusted each other. After the premature death of the their parents, their bond only grows stronger.

However their lives are thrown into disarray when one of the sisters marries a devious and manipulative man by the name of Jean Claude, the other 4 sisters realise they need to take drastic measures to restore order. 

The sisters begin a plot to murder Jean Claude, but things go awry from the get go and only proceed to get worse from there. Everyone is on top form, and the blend of comedy and thrills is really well handled. There were moments where I wasn’t sure if I should be laughing, but it couldn’t be helped. The Out-Laws has been doing very well in its home country of Belgium, and I am certain that success will carry on in the UK. 

The Nordic Noir label has been distributing some absolute belters, and ‘The Out-Laws’ aka ‘Clan’ is no different. It took an episode or so to get going, but by the end you will want more. The wonderfully named Dirk Roofthooft shines as the scheming Jean Claude, and I hope to see him in more things in the future. 

THE OUT-LAWS is released on DVD on Monday 19th September 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

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

  

Romanzo Criminale. Coming soon from Arrow. 

  
Following the success of their most recent Italian language TV drama titles, most notably the acclaimed Naples-set crime saga Gommorah, along with the likes of Inspector De Luca and Inspector Nardone, Arrow Films will continue to house quality international crime thriller shows from various European territories and beyond, under their sub-label ‘Nordic Noir and Beyond’.
 Ahead of the arrival of the upcoming Witnesses and the highly anticipated The Bridge Season 3, both due for release later in Q4, Arrow are excited to announce the arrival of Romazo Criminale, a hard edged and violent look at the criminal underworld of Rome set between the 1970s and the 1990s. Season One will be released on DVD 14th September and focuses on the darker side of Rome during the 70s.

 Synopsis

A criminal known as ‘Lebanese’ has a dream: to conquer the underworld of Rome. To carry out this unprecedented feat he puts together a ruthless and highly organised gang. Their progress and changes in leadership take place over twenty-five years, from the 1970s into the 90’s, and are inseparably intertwined with the dark history of modern Italy: terrorism, kidnappings and corruption at the highest levels of government. Throughout these years Police Lieutenant Scialoia sticks to the gang’s trail, trying both to bring them to justice and to win the heart of Gang Member Dandi’s girlfriend Patrizia.

JM

The Killing (2011)

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The Killing is a US remake of the Danish series which has had stellar reviews. The first two seasons of the US Killing didn’t really deviate from the Danish plot line, but started to do its own thing with seasons 3 and 4. The story involves the death of a young girl by the name of Rosie Larsen. Rosie was known around the city of Seattle, and it soon becomes apparent that there are many people who could have played a part in her death.

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Tasked with solving the murder are Sarah Linden played by Mireielle Enos and Holder played by Joel Kinnaman. They are a great partnership and the chemistry as friends is done very well. Holder has his own demons that he tackles with, as does Sarah.

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It was a tad frustrating that it wasn’t resolved at the end of season 1 and I think this had a crippling effect on its ratings, which I think went some way to explaining why Netflix paid for the production of seasons 3 and 4. That being said, the story is incredibly gripping and every member of the cast brings their A game. Stellar work. Seasons 1-3 are available for purchase now from all good stockists. Many thanks to Aim Publicity for providing the review copies.

5/5
JM

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Crimes of Passion (2014)

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Scandinavian drama is doing very, very well in the UK. Now adding to the long list is Crimes of Passion, based on the best selling novels by Swedish author Maria Lang. Starring Ola Rapace as Christer and Tuva Novotny as Puck, it’s a lavishly designed period drama/murder mystery.

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The set which has been kindly provided by the folks at Arrow Films, contains six feature length mysteries, packed to the gills with sex, intrigue and whodunit’s. Everyone is on top of their game, and the stories leave you really scratching your head until the final third. It’s currently being screened on BBC4 here in the UK, and has audiences responding really well. Tuva Novotny is great as Puck. She plays the part really well. Puck is attentive, yet strangely manages to always be in the right place at the right time. Her inquisitive nature is usually the key to cracking whatever mystery befalls her and her friends.

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It is a wonderful programme, very reminiscent of Midsomer Murders or even Inspector Morse, well to me anyway. The set is released on October 6th and is available to pre order from http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk now.

4/5

JM

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Braquo (TV series) (2009-)

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Wow! What an absolute stunning piece of television this. I could literally use every superlative in the English language to lavish praise on this show, and it still wouldn’t be enough. Jean Hugues-Anglade plays Eddy Caplan, the leader of a group of Parisian police officers, who have no qualms about stepping over the line when it is required.

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They spring into action when their colleague Max commits suicide after being mercilessly persecuted by Internal Affairs, which is headed by the slimy and borderline socio-pathic  Roland Vogel (Geoffroy Thiebaut). The team seek to do whatever it takes in clearing Max’s name, even murder. They are a team held together by a strong bond, and clearly have morals of which they never waver. They all have flaws, some which threaten to bring them down on occasion, but it’s their togetherness which carries them through.

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The action is nothing short of breathtaking. It is visceral stuff, and doesn’t skimp on the gore or sex. The acting is top notch from everyone, there is not one character I would say that lets the side down. The story-lines are equally gripping, showing that sometimes the police and criminals are more alike than either would care to admit.

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The creator of the show, Olivier Marchal, is a former police officer, so the attention to detail is second to none. It’s this meticulousness which really gets across the shows quality. I really cannot recommend this series enough. I did start watching it when it was showing on FOX. I am now on season 3 which was graciously provided by the wonderful folks over at http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk. Season 1 and 2 are available to buy now and season 3 is available to pre-order now, due for release on July 21st. It is a show I highly recommend. If you are a fan of The Wire or The Shield, then you will absolutely love Braquo.

5/5

JM

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Nobody does it better.

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Coming from Arrow Films on January 6th 2014, hit Danish drama ‘Unit One: Season3’. For me Danish drama is some of the finest stuff on television. You already have The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge not to mention others, and now you also have this. I will be doing reviews of each season soon, so bear with me. For now however you can pick up your copies of Season’s 1&2 and pre-order season 3 from http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk.

JM