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Blair Witch

Lots of leaves and not much else.
If you like foliage, shaky cameras, blurry dark scenes, screaming 20-somethings that you're willing to die from outset, and a plot where virtually nothing happens, then this film is for you.

This apparently cost five million to make. If I'd financed this I'd be chasing those responsible through woodland for real. And not to congratulate them. If I'd been involved I'd have wanted my name taking off it. I can't believe Adam Wingard, such a promising director, blew his shot at a bigger career with this. All the material for a great horror film is there in the Blair Witch lore, but isn't utilised well at all here.

Total, absolute, garbage. Book Of Shadows was better, and that's one of the worst movies of all time.

I can't ever see them being able to do anything else with this franchise after this mess.

Silent Hill: Revelation

Entertaining Enough But Had Limitations.
I'm a huge fan of the first "Silent Hill" movie, and also of the director of this sequel. He's made some interesting films to date, including the remarkable "Deathwatch". When I heard he was on board for the latest instalment of the series I was very pleased indeed. I hoped he would be given an opportunity to move up into the next tier of directors. I didn't let the swamp of bad reviews drag me down and, albeit with lower expectations, finally saw the film in 3D last night.

I think there are issues with the film but there are also some positives. First off, the good points:

1) The re-cast Sharon was better than I expected her to be. Of course it would have been nice to have the original actor return, but I felt she made a valiant effort to make the role her own. Likewise, the 'new' Alessa was OK and looked very close to the original character. 2) Some of the special FX were very good and the 3D, although at times very predictable, did work well. I was particularly impressed with the ash which at times felt as if it was falling on you. 3) The nurses scene, and that with the new "stock room monster" were both very good. 4) I liked the use of music from the original film. It helped tie them together, which was essential given the cast was virtually all new.

For me, these were the problems:

1) The story. I have never played the games but I gather that they stuck close to the 3rd game, which was a mistake. It did not translate well and seemed to undo the lore of the first one, in which you leave the film thinking the inhabitants of the town are all dead. I feel more work was needed here to explain who these new inhabitants were and more fleshing out of their agenda. Malcolm McDowall and Carrie Ann Moss weren't utilised much at all and there was no characterisation of them. Even an extra 10 minutes on the running time might have helped address these flaws. 2) The script. It was poor. A good script doctor would certainly have helped some of the scenes, although, like "Prometheus" showed, not even a big budget can guarantee a good script. 3) It often felt boxy, which I guess is a symptom of the budget, which is apparently less than half that of the 1st one. Much of the film was shot close up and certain sets, to me, lacked detail (specifically the sanctuary under the fairground). That said I think the director probably did the best he could with the money he had for set dressing. 4) The big boss ending. I'd lost track what was going on by then and it was all very brief.

There's a set up at the end for another film, but I can't see that happening, unless it does amazing things on rental or retail. A shame as the world of Silent Hill is one of the creepiest ever committed to screen and as a franchise I think it could have done well, from a classic horror perspective, if the game lore is used in moderation. I feel a little sorry for Bassett, who I am sure did his best to try and please people with what must have been a tight budget and poor story from outset, but I hope that when people adapt future games for the big screen they take on board the lessons learnt with this one - computer game stories don't always make good films. Take what you need from them but don't be over-reliant.


Good light entertainment which is improving each episode
I don't normally write reviews but I was compelled to do so for this series in light of many of the general downbeat comments. I have to say that I am enjoying this show. Like anything new, I believe it is important to give it a chance and by the third episode I was finding it to be quite a good series, for what it is - light evening entertainment. It's filled with plot holes and the characterisation is a little light, but when you have an 8 episode series character development probably isn't going to be a major factor of a show, particularly in action dominated sci-fi. The concept is interesting, and hopefully more questions about what happened on earth and why there is no military presence in the colony will be answered over the series. The acting is good, as are the set pieces and most of the FX, particularly in episode 3. Script wise it is at times a little clunky but I think the actors have done a respectable job with what they have to work with.

A note now on all the "one star" reviews. Writing a negative review and brandishing one star ratings is unfortunately a way for people to excercise a little bit of the power that is lacking in their life. I do not believe this series is a one star show, but that is my opinion. I think people can state if they truly feel something is poor without resorting to some of the vindictive things being said here. No one deliberately sets out to make a bad show just to ruin your day. Many people have worked very hard on this series (and no I am not one of them or affiliated with anybody involved). Ultimately it is about entertainment, and if people do not like it, don't watch it. Why waste your time writing such horrid things. There are zillions of channels to choose from now. Often the comments people write online are things they would never dare say to someones face, and are a complete overeaction to what is in reality just a TV show. All that negative energy could be channelled into something much more constructive.

So, soldier on Outcasts. I for one am enjoying the ride, and grateful to the BBC for trying something new in sci-fi.

Flash Gordon

Give It A Chance
I generally don't pass comment much on movies or shows here on IMDb but I felt compelled to write a few words of support following the terrible things getting written about this show.

It is not that bad. In the UK we have just had the third episode aired and I am beginning to get into the characters and enjoy the show. Granted, it could do with a lot more money spending on it, but it is early days, and no doubt the show has to demonstrate it has legs in order to ensure further commitment and a bigger budget.

I'll keep watching because I think with more time the show will definitely improve. It has a lot of the elements needed for good TV. It just needs more development to fully bring them out.

After Death (Oltre la morte)

Easily the worst Zombie film I have ever seen.
The concept of a ninja zombie that speaks seems to go completely against everything a zombie should be. This film is full of them !

Having been a huge fan of the original Zombie Flesh Eaters, this film was a bitter disappointment, bearing absolutely no connection to the first film. The acting and direction are below par, even for low budget horror, and the 'zombies' are laughable.

Spending an evening looking at your bank statements will be scarier than watching this film.

Stay away. Far away.

The Thing

Alien In The Antarctic
I recently bought this film on DVD. It had been a number of years since I had last seen it, but I recalled being impressed with the special effects and location so I decided to check it out again. What an excellent film !

The basic outline of the story is that a group of American scientists are alerted to strange goings-on in a nearby Norwegian outpost. After investigating, they discover the charred remains of a hideously deformed 'thing' outside the burnt out Norwegian compound. As you do, they take it back to base, only to discover it isn't dead and whatever it is that they have found has the ability to transform itself into other living organisms, including the scientists. Without giving too much away, the scientists must try and identify who is human and who is alien before it's too late. Excellent special effects and a great supporting cast lead by Kurt Russell, breathtaking cinematography and exceptional direction by John Carpenter make this a timeless film which will have you on the edge of your seat. Does anyone survive ? You'll have to watch and see ! The DVD features a wealth of extra features including a documentary and commentary, which further add to the enjoyment of the film itself.

Double Platinum

Diana Ross' finest film since Lady Sings The Blues
I am a huge Diana Ross fan, and as such I was compelled to watch this movie just to see her. What I found, however, is that I actually FORGOT that I was watching Diana Ross and really began to believe that this person was Olivia King (her character), which to me is the sign of a good actor and script. The story concerns a wannabe singer who abandons her young child (played by Brandy) to pursue what becomes a Diana Ross level-of-success singing career.

As the film progresses, the two are reunited. What ensues are some extremely moving scenes between the two as Miss Ross attempts to gain her daughters forgiveness, respect and love by helping her with her own fledgling singing career and trying to be the mother she never had.

There are some great songs by both artists. Several of Brandy's biggest hits are featured, and Miss Ross performs some of her most enchanting music in years, particularly the ballad 'Someone That You Loved Before' and 'He Lives In You' (both featured on her album Every Day Is A New Day, which is well worth purchasing). An exclusive duet was written for the two stars by Diane Warren - Love Is All That Matters, and is featured as a duet in the film.

Both the DVD and video versions feature a promotional video clip by each artist.

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