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    • Vue Cinema Blackburn / Other UK / Ireland topic / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
      More +
      23.01.2017 22:29


      • "Nice cinema"


      • "Not cheap"

      Kill the Messenger - a film I saw here

      Star – Jeremy Renner
      Genre – Drama >Biopic
      Run Time – 112 minutes
      Certificate – 18
      Country – USA
      Awards – 2 Wins & 4 nominations
      Amazon – £2.20 DVD £5.62 Blue Ray
      = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

      Gary Webb: ‘American kids did die and are still dying, just not the ones you care about, apparently’.

      The Oliver North and the CIA/Contra alliance is a story we have all heard about in Britain but not a story we really know about. One of the biggest believed conspiracies by most Black Americans is that the CIA flooded their communities with cheap crack cocaine in the 1980s to get them addicted so they would fail in big numbers, a life of welfare and self destruction. It was one of those statements at the time that had white people ‘tut tutting’ again and the prejudice only grew between the two. Well it turned out there is more than an element of truth to these claims, the subject mater of this enjoyable true story about California investigative journalist Gary Webb, who an unearthed an unholy alliance between the US government, the drugs trade and Central American guerillas.

      When it happened it was the height of the Cold War and Central America on the front line. The US was covertly truing to overthrow left wing democratically elected socialist regimes and their illegal actions couldn’t go through the books. They had to find ways to fund it and arm the Contras in Nicaragua to overthrow the Russian backed government, the same way the Russians have kept in power with Assad in Syria, that cold War freeing over once again. The chosen method was for the CIA to work with the cartels to ‘assist’ the arrival of cocaine into the United States and take a cut of the profits to buy arms for the contras back in Nicaragua. The byproduct was they moved the Drug War to America as thousands of disaffected and now addicted unemployed young black kids couldn’t resist buying the deliberately cheap drugs (effectively government subsidized) over and over again. The oversupply caused cutthroat gang wars and thousands died as the cancer spread across America. But for Gary Webb the biggest story of his life would be his downfall as the jealous bigger print publications who missed the story would turn on his paper and then the mainstream TV media and establishment join in to rubbish his claims by claiming shoddy journalism to try and destroy him. Back then you may have had the greatest news scoop in the world but if you can’t prove it 100% you can’t print it. It’s all change today, of course.

      Jeremy Renner plays Webb in the movie and wisely turned down the chance to play that prat Julian Assange in the misfire that was The Fifth Estate, a similar tale of the journalist becoming the story. Renner read Nick Schou’s book on the Contra affair and, like me, amazed this stuff went on. But it was still an embarrassing taboo subject with the CIA and various members of the cast and crew have did and admitted to receiving government-level "push back" to the project, both during filming and in post-production. Just as Webb was threatened they were. Even the cinema chains and studios backed off with a limited release and poor marketing.


      • Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb
      • Rosemarie DeWitt as Susan Webb
      • Ray Liotta as John Cullen
      • Tim Blake Nelson as Alan Fenster
      • Barry Pepper as Russell Dodson
      • Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Anna Simons
      • Paz Vega as Coral Baca
      • Oliver Platt as Jerry Ceppos
      • Michael Sheen as Fred Weil
      • Richard Schiff as Walter Pincus
      • Andy García as Norwin Meneses
      • Robert Patrick as Ronny Quail
      • Michael K. Williams as "Freeway" Rick Ross
      • Jena Sims as Little Hottie
      • Joshua Close as Rich Kline
      • Yul Vazquez as Danilo Blandon
      • Robert Pralgo as Sheriff Nelson
      • Lucas Hedges as Ian Webb
      • Michael Rose as Jonathan Yarnold
      • Matthew Lintz as Eric Webb
      • Michael H. Cole as Pete Carey
      • David Lee Garver as Douglas Farah
      • Andrew Masset as Johnathan Krim


      Small time investigative reporter Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) of the regional California paper the San Jose Mercury News is running a column on drug lords and dealers in his home state– suspected or not – having their possessions sized by the government. One day a gorgeous Latin girl called Coral Baca (Paz Vega) approaches him with a story and an intriguing top secret government document. Coral’s boyfriend Daniello Blandon (Yul Vazquez) is an international drug dealer and up in court in Pasadena. Coral uses her feminine charms to trick Webb to get these documents to the defense lawyer to expose the fact her man was in coalition with the CIA in Nicaragua. This unexpected revelation triggers the arrival of shady government types to the courtroom and after some whispering with the judge the surprising miss-trial verdict and so the release of Blandon. Webb knows he has been played but doesn’t quite realize what he has with the document. When he begins to make some calls he is astounded what he rally has.

      A flight to Nicaragua to meet with imprisoned druglord Norwin Meneses (Andy García) reveals the route the drugs took and who was paid that end and then a meeting with the incarcerated "Freeway" Rick Ross (Michael K. Williams) in a US jail reveals how they distributed the product in the US and received help from the CIA to get it in, an agreed percentage of the sale of the drugs in America buying arms for the Contras.

      Those court and newspaper revelations in his paper draw positive and negative reaction in equal measure. The editor (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and general manager (Oliver Platt) love the story and puts the San Jose paper on the map. Webb has exposed a government conspiracy of the highest order. But the CIA are soon leaning on him to back off and threatening his family. Rightful paranoia ensues, checking his car and home security overnight for bombs and intruders. But the powers that be switch tactics when he goes to print some more and begin to discredit Webb so to make him and his extremely damaging ‘Dark Alliance’ column go away. The big media outlets with their even bigger budgets are embarrassed they didn’t get the story and a little local did and so can’t resist attacking his tradecraft. But once Webb’s own paper turns on him and he is moved sideways to an even smaller publication out in the sticks he knows he has become the story and now fighting for his integrity. Even his wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) loses faith in him as each source is contested through the media, many now denying they spoke to him. The question then is was he making most of it up after all or was it just sloppy local paper journalism and the alliance very real?


      Gary Webb: I thought my job was to tell the public the truth, the facts; pretty or not, and let the publishing of those facts make a difference in how people look at things, at themselves, and what they stand for...


      Like Apollo 13, if you don’t know the true story then the film is a far more enjoyable experience. Most of us have heard about the Oliver North scandal but a very American story and so we didn’t really take note of it at the time. I have always thought the story was about Iran for some reason but now I know different. It is incredible to think the CIA would sanction such a crazy scheme of flooding the ghettos with cheap drugs and all the consequences thereafter. But they did and this mid budget biopic headed by an excellent performance by Renner brings that story back into the public eye and well worth seeking out.

      Jeremy Renner has yet to really make his mark in cinema after buggering up the Bourne movies and being that bloke with the bow-and-arrow in the Marvel background and so nice to see a good workout of his acting chips here. Some critics say the film lacks momentum and jeopardy because the story concentrates on his Webb and so becomes a character study piece but for me that’s what made it interesting. If you do the whole thing with the dark music and hitmen with silences ready to silence the good guy it also loses its edge on the subject matter it’s actually about and becomes a bog standard thriller, The International with Sean Penn an example of. I think there is a certain reality here of the way journalists are undermined by the sate when they get an important story. Its not going to be agency guys staking out your house that stop publication and so authentication of the story but simply making the journalist the story and throwing enough mud until some sticks. Dr Kelly was probably murdered by the state as he knew too much but the story went away as it was discredited from on high. In fact Webb and Kelly’s story draws parallels as Webb was also found dead ten years later with’ two’ bullet holes in his head. His wife said he was suicidal at the time after the event as he simply could not find journalist work after he was discredited but you just don’t know. The sinister way we were tricked to go to war in Iraq and the actions of the CIA in Central America prove the state can be sadistic enough to get rid of people like Webb and Kelly.

      It’s an entertaining film if not that gripping. It lags a little in the middle and too long at nearly two hours. We don’t get enough detail about the actual drug operation and some of the key characters around Webb rather two dimensional. There were also some ‘alterations’ in the script that did not match those told in the real story but not veering from the actual criminality or facts of the actual case. For instance Blandon was gay in real life and the Pez Vega character a muchacha. For some reason the director didn’t want that in his film. Maybe the macho cartel didn’t want it in the film? It bombed big time in the cinema though because the forces that be didn’t really want it out there and for its $5 million budget did just $2.5m back, a shame as it’s an interesting little film. Webb is my kind of guy, telling the truth when it’s needed to be told, come what may. With Donald Trump in The Whitehouse and the news media all about entertainment over real news now I fear we will see fewer and fewer of the hero’s like Webb.


      Imdb.com –7.0 /10.0 (34,527votes)
      Rottentomatos.com – 78% critic’s approval
      Metacritic.com – 60% critic’s approval

      ===Special Features===


      Little White Lies –‘Solid, though director Michael Cuesta doesn't have the journalistic balls of his subject’.

      Guardian –‘Not since 2003's Shattered Glass has the journalistic pursuit of truth been presented on screen as such a mortally serious matter of honor.’

      Daily Telegraph –“Jeremy Renner is superb as a reporter ruined by his biggest story, but The Parallax View this isn't’

      Empire Magazine –‘The type of well-intentioned docudrama more likely to leave your head shaking than your pulse pounding’.

      The Observer –‘It's sporadically gripping but ultimately rather frustrating fare, leaving us intrigued enough by the conspiracy-theory backstory to want hard documentary evidence rather than mere dramatic license’.

      South China Morning Post –‘The script by former journalist Peter Landesman, who recently directed the medical drama Concussion, does a good job of simplifying a complex real-life chain of events’.

      The Film Stage –‘The film doesn't demand that you now respect Webb or sing his praises, but it does ask you to look at the cracks in that tranquil façade, and to keep looking, no matter how much it seems to fracture’.

      The Sun –‘The first half of the movie captivates as it runs through his impressive investigation. But the fallout from Webb's scoop is less enthralling and the story loses traction as it focuses on his crumbling personal life’.



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    • pcspecialist.co.uk / Online Shop / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
      More +
      23.01.2017 18:51


      • "Easy website to follow"
      • "Upgrades available"
      • "Building around a budget"
      • "Great advice (especially if you need a certain power source or not)"
      • "Fast build times"


      Will always go back to PCS. Can not fault them.

      This is my second machine built by PC specialist. I can not fault the process from start to finish.

      The delivery was on time. The tower was packed so no moving parts could break.
      The pc itself is used for video editing. From a standard video on my old machine would take 30-40 minutes to render this new machine did it in 8 minutes.

      Not only is it fast but silent too.

      I don't know much about PC's, that is why I need PCS. The forum was a great help for ideas and advice.

      Thank you.


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    • pcspecialist.co.uk / Online Shop / 1 Reading / 1 Rating
      More +
      22.01.2017 21:05
      Very helpful


      • "Easy to use website"
      • "High end components"
      • "Concern for customers budget"
      • "Good technical knowledge"


      I would absolutely recommend them and will order from them again.

      Very good company, can't recommend them enough. Their warranty allows you to put in your own components as well so you can open PC case up and take a look if you want. My friend found them and send me the link. When I checked all the numerous positive reviews, on various websites I decided to take a chance. Based on other customers experiences from the reviews I decided to order over the phone as I wanted to confirm the PC specification I was ordering would be a good one and last. I had extremely helpful considerate advice given to me. In contrast I had ordered from Dell before but cancelled it as it was not worth the money and the customer service was non-existent, everyime I tried to contact Dell it was a 10-25min wait on the phone. In contrast calling PC Specialist was a 1-4min wait on average if more then a minute and even my minor concerns were met with consideration, and there was never a sense that they were pushing me to spend, spend, spend. From my ordering experience PC Specialist have excellent customer service, I ordered my high spec PC 3 January around, and was lucky that they were waiting for new components, as I then had my cpu upgraded from I7 6700k to I7 7700K and my motherboard from the asus Z170 to asus Z270E rog strix, when I called to confirm if this would be applied they confirmed this with no problems to my delight. I made several calls afterwards with further amendments which were easily made with no problems over the phone. Emails where sent regularly with order status updates and I could check on their website all the amendments and confirm details of changes made were included so no mistakes were made. I opted for the silver warranty. I am very pleased with PC Specialist, the PC was nicely packaged and pretty straight forward to set up. There are also other satisfied customers who have posted on youtube unboxings of their pc's from PC Specialist which made the set up even easier. The PC arrived and I made really chuffed with it, Specification Snapshot:
      Intel® Core™i7-7700k, Asus ROG STRIX Z270E Gaming, 16GB HyperX FURY 2133MHz, 8GB GEFORCE GTX 1070 NVIDIA® GeForce, 512GB SAMSUNG SM961 M.2 SSD


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    • More +
      22.01.2017 12:00


      • "Film of the year at a cool cinema"


      • "Not cheap cinema"

      The Big Short - a film I saw here

      Star – Steve Carrell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt
      Genre – Comedy
      Run Time – 1 minutes
      Certificate – 18R
      Country – USA
      Oscars – Won 1
      Awards – 80 Nominations & 35 Wins
      Amazon – £5.00 DVD £8.00 Blue Ray
      = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

      So the Big Short, based on the book ‘The Big Short: Inside Doomsday Machine’, by Michael Lewis, a book that details the main players in the 2008 housing bubble collapse. The story just had to be turned into a movie as it was so bloody mind-blowing and recklessly unbelievable. Hollywood decided to give it to comedy director Adam McKay (he of most of Will Ferrell’s’ films) and his wring partner Charles Randolph, a masterstroke as a comedy movie is probably the only vehicle to describe and deliver the unpalatable and complex world of investment bankers and the best way to keep us engaged. The Academy certainly thought so and the pair won the Oscar for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’. We had previously the serious and intelligent Margin Call movie about the same crisis and it’s been serious ever since so why not a bit of brevity and levity around a near comical collapse of the world banking system? Trust me; this method and film will keep you hooked.

      99% of us are still none the wiser what happened and why it happened but this film is the first to really lay it out in an articulate and entertaining way that one can follow. You will certainly be a whole lot clearer about sub prime mortgages and CDOs (Credit default Obligations) by the end of this cracking film. We also know financial services are 20% of the U.K.’s GDP and 12% of the taxes raised. We know that the banks knew along that they were too big to fail and we would bail them out.

      What seems to have happened is that up until the 1970s people that should be allowed to have a mortgage that wanted a mortgage had a mortgage. They were the house owners who would pay on time and had good jobs and so owned most housing stock and so a rock solid banking asset. Then in the 1980s when the City and Wall Street was deregulated the bankers decided they needed to sell more mortgages as they had run out of new reliable house owners and mortgage payers that would never default, the so-called triple AAA’S, and so wanted more buyers. This was achieved by selling mortgages to people who were slightly less reliable but still good credit payers, the new middle-class, the AAB’s. The first bill to be paid is always the mortgage payment and who doesn’t pay the mortgage, right? Because the banks were making millions through interest mortgage rates and commissions on those mortgages they continued to drop the ‘requirements’ to get a mortgage. In the 1990s they realized that they could bundle in the AAA’s with lesser mortgages, say ABBs’, in financial packages. As long as the value of the AAA’s covered the defaults on the ABB’s, etc then the products would remain sound. But, by the beginning of the new millennium everyone had got too greedy and even unemployed black Americans were getting loans and mortgages just so the the realtor got a commission, the so-called Sub Prime, known as the NINJA loan --No income, No job, No Assets. As long as the banks could keep hiding this bad debt in those Collateral Debt Obligations and the Rating Agencies could be paid off to keep those Triple AAA ratings coming to say the packages are perfectly safe then this could go on for a while yet. But it couldn’t and they knew it so they started selling/offloading these CDOs to other investors to decrease their exposure. And they were selling them everywhere! At one point they were demanding South American banks buy them or trade deals would suffer. Most South American banks told them to get stuffed and so those painful tarrifs came in. It was later discovered that the banks colluded with the major bond-rating companies to maintain ratings on worthless CDOs, allowing them to sell off their losing positions before the true values became known. But smart traders knew ‘enough’ of the bad debts would eventually be defaulted on and the whole lot would come crashing down one day, the people just as irresponsible as the banks for taking those loans. We hoped the corrupt bankers and co would go to jail for their madness but only one ever did - a black guy for Credit Suisse. Nothing has much changed in America under Obama.


      • Christian Bale as Michael Burry, M.D.[8]
      • Aiden Flowers as young Michael Burry
      • Steve Carell as Mark Baum (based on Steve Eisman)[8]
      • Ryan Gosling as Jared Vennett (based on Greg Lippmann)[8]
      • Brad Pitt as Ben Rickert (based on Ben Hockett)[8]
      • Melissa Leo as Georgia Hale
      • Hamish Linklater as Porter Collins
      • John Magaro as Charlie Geller
      • Rafe Spall as Danny Moses
      • Jeremy Strong as Vincent "Vinny" Daniel
      • Finn Wittrock as Jamie Shipley (based on Jamie Mai)[9]
      • Marisa Tomei as Cynthia Baum (based on Valerie Feigen)[9]
      • Tracy Letts as Lawrence Fields
      • Byron Mann as Wing Chau
      • Adepero Oduye as Kathy Tao
      • Karen Gillan as Evie[10]
      • Max Greenfield as Mortgage Broker #1[11]
      • Billy Magnussen as Mortgage Broker #2[12]
      • Rudy Eisenzopf as Lewis Ranieri
      • Margot Robbie as herself (uncredited)[5]
      • Anthony Bourdain as himself[5]
      • Richard Thaler as himself[5][13]
      • Selena Gomez as herself (uncredited)[5]


      Michael NBurry (Christian Bale), an eccentric hedge fund manager, nose is twitching when he notices an anomaly in the mortgage market. Mortgage fraud is rising fast in 2007 and so are defaults and so maybe trouble brewing? He has gone over the numbers in almost autistic detail and believes there is a housing bubble about to burst when defaults hit 8.1%. But no one on Wall Street is seeing anywhere near 8% and so he goes to his boss to explain it. Chief Executive Lawrence Fields (Tracy Letts) trusts him to a point as he often delivers big deals and so profits for the firm with those instincts but cant believe the housing market is about to collapse. But Nburry is sure and begins to spend the company’s money on shorting the housing market. He does that by going to a bank on Wall Street to ask if he can buy a product that will do exactly that and when they hear how much he wants to spend with their bank on something that they think will never happen they willingly invent that product and take his money, the so-called CDO. They think the housing Market is fine and every month it is then Nburry $50 million investment will have to pay them at last $50,000 dollars. But if the market goes then he will get back twenty times that. Nburry is so sure he agrees the deal with other banks as word get out some nut is betting against the mortgages of America, considered a rock sold market and Triple A safe.

      Our second and third players are a maverick investment firm headed by Mark Baum (Steve Carell), an obnoxious and righteous trader who believes in ethical investing, and bonds salesman Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling). A misplaced phone call alerts Vennett to Nburry’s actions and calls a meeting with Baum to get him to buy into it. Baum hates the bankers and blames them for his brother’s suicide and joins in the short to bring them down.

      Our final players are a growing investment firm from Denver, young investors Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock), in Manhattan to try and get a seat at the big table. When they are rejected for that license they accidentally discover a prospectus by Vennett in the lobby, convincing them to become involved in the swaps. They decide to call retired hedge fund guru and neighbor Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) for advice. He looks the numbers over with his sageful eye and agrees the boys could have something and get seriously rich with that information.

      As 2007 ticks into 2008 the pressure is on Nburry as nothing seems to be happening to the housing market and his firm is hemorrhaging money. He is in for 1.3 billion and something is wrong. All the indicators are the market should have collapsed. Defaults are at 9% and lending as high as ever. Baum decides to check out market for himself and sends a team down to Florida to talk to house owners on the ground while he attends a conference in Vegas with all the players in the housing market. He finds a striper able to get that cheap credit and she owns 5 house on just $22,000 a year! What he hears in Vegas not only confirms his fears but terrifies him. Not only is the market going to collapse but the whole baking system.


      Watching The Big Short makes you as happy as a dog with his head stuck out of the car window with the ears flapping and the wind in their gums. This is a belting movie and the best of 2016 for me. It has all the ingredients you want from an Oscar winner and should have been Best Picture for me. I felt Spotlight didn’t quite have the all around appeal this one did but both biopic’s on two of the biggest scandals of the decade. You are quickly drawn in from the opening scene where Bales somewhat mumbling character starts to notice the catastrophic flaw in the mortgage market and then further characters being introduced just edging up the interest, enjoyment and outright anger some more. Through quirky little touches like well timed occasional celebrity cameos breaking the fourth wall (addressing you the viewer watching the film) to explain the most important and pivotal facts on the banking crisis, and the writer and directors ability to make us laugh over something so horrendous, this film has you buy the cajones throughout. Its all there, from the opening Michael Moore style archive footage commentary of bankers being fired to the detailed breakdown of the backing collapse through a zinging script and great performances I guarantee you will love this film. Steve Carrell is excellent and steals the move as his righteous angry trader character and there is no real point where this film lags or slows down. There is no baggy love interest or side stories either as we just crack on through the banking demise with humor and astonishment.

      Admittedly it ends up a polemic against the greedy banking system and Wall Street rather than the corrupt bankers. Like I said only one guy went to jail and he was black, the bankers causing the most damage being Jewish of origin. That accusation would have been too much for Hollywood to handle. It remains a fact though. The film also admonishes the people that took out the crazy loans and mortgages of any blame and clearly a bias to keep the audience on side and rooting for a mixed bag of likable Wall Street rogues. The banks were simply creating money out of thin air to give to people who could never pay it back and the people who could and did pay their mortgages having to pay the penalty around the world. It’s notable that in the United Kingdom very few people took out mortgages over 100% and the bulk of the sub prime debt was in America. But the banking system is global and the American banks had off loaded a lot of the risk though those corrupt rating agencies that allowed them to flog useless CDOs as anything but. The Tory Government simply took the opportunity to destroy public service and blame black immigrants.

      For it $28m budget it did a decent $133 million for an excellent issues movie, a mockery when you think the dreadful Batman V Superman did $850million! Hype sells movie more than quality. This is one of those films that people may have been put off because its requires brain power but its done in a way when its not as complicated it looks and should have pulled a bigger crowd if that was communicated.


      Imdb.com –7.8 /10.0 (227,435votes)
      Rottentomatos.com – 88% critic’s approval
      Metacritic.com – % critic’s approval



      ===Special Features===

      -In the Trenches-

      A short film about the real characters involved and plenty of behind the scenes stuff from cast & crew from the excellent movie.


      The South China Morning Post –‘It's a fine feat of screenwriting; particularly given its 'heroes' are bankers about to get rich on public misery. ... This is one Hollywood film that doesn't come up short’.

      London Evening Standard –‘Confronting these facts while snorting at how funny this film often can be is quite confounding’.

      Total Film –‘Slick and funny, this is the years most entertaining economics lesson, making the facts of the financial crisis easier to digest without making them any more palatable’.

      Film Enquirer –‘The Big Short's faults aren't hidden, but neither is its remarkable ability to entertain while giving a rather complex lesson’

      The Star –‘It's to McKay's credit that he makes The Big Short so fun; there are a lot of talented comedic actors here, the banter is strong, and there are pop culture montages strewn throughout, meant to mark the passage of time, that help maintain visual interest’.

      New Statesman –‘The knowing, boisterous humor comes off as irredeemably smug and the A-list cast can't disguise the fact that they are portraying points of view, rather than characters’.

      Financial Times –‘A big, clever chortle, full of sardonic insights into a time of woe’.



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    • Hotel Chocolat / Supermarket / 1 Reading / 1 Rating
      More +
      22.01.2017 11:50
      Not Helpful


      • "Large quantities"
      • "Great quality chocolate"


      • "Very expensive"

      The best store online and in shop for high quality chocolate.

      I have used hotel chocolat numerous times and i can confirm that their goods are of high quality and taste simply amazing. At first one may be intimidated by the price of some products but i can assure you it is worth every penny for the simply delicious chocolate supplied at this store. Every year we buy the giant Christmas cracker containing 40 chocolates for £36, though that is a lot of Money every single chocolate tastes as good as the last. The delivery is perfectly fine.


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    • Dead Snow (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
      More +
      21.01.2017 01:24


      • "Good zombie film"


      • Subtitles

      Who doesn't love Nazi zombies munching on junior doctors?

      Star – Nazi zombies!
      Genre – Horror
      Run Time – 90 minutes
      Certificate – 18
      Country – USA
      Awards – 1 Win & 1 Nomination
      Amazon – £2.2500 DVD £8.99Blue Ray
      = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

      If you want to secure funding for your first ever film project pitch then the words ‘Nazis’ and ‘Zombies’ should do it. But these are not your typical zombie Nazis, director Tommy Wirkola mixing in the ancient Norse mythical beings known as Draug, the undead who would inhabit Scandinavian graves of important men, as they often had treasures in them. A draug would protect these treasures as if they were their own. Wirkola thought how about mixing that in with some local folklore about an elite Nazi unit going missing in the remote Norwegian mountains just after the war and make a Norwegian subtitled horror film about it? And so he did. And who doesn’t love zombies dressed as the Third Reich attacking a log cabin in the woods? I did.


      • Vegar Hoel as Martin
      • Stig Frode Henriksen as Roy
      • Charlotte Frogner as Hanna
      • Lasse Valdal as Vegard
      • Evy Kasseth Røsten as Liv
      • Jeppe Laursen as Erlend
      • Jenny Skavlan as Chris
      • Ane Dahl Torp as Sara
      • Bjørn Sundquist as The Wanderer
      • Ørjan Gamst as Standartenführer Herzog


      An attractive woman, Sara (Ane Dahl Torp), is being chased through the spooky forest of the Norwegian mountainside in mid winter, heading to her small family cabin. But, as luck would have it, she is cornered and eaten by World War II SS zombies.

      She was a friend of the seven students on Easter vacation arriving at the cabin near Øksfjord to have weekend of snow sports and beer. Sara is the girlfriend of the handsome Vegard (Lasse Valdal), the group’s alpha male. The friends are oblivious to her fete and begin to drink into the night, until a mysterious hiker (Bjørn Sundquist) arrives and bangs on their door, a real mood killer as he warns the kids about old wives tales of the lost German regiment and mysterious disappearances. He tells them that during World War II, a force SS, led by Colonel Herzog, occupied the area. For three long years the Nazis abused and tortured the locals as Germany swept across Europe. Near the end of the war, with Germany's defeat inevitable, the Germans looted all the town's riches. But the citizens were having no more of it and an uprising ensued and they ambushed the Nazis, brutally killing many. The survivors, including Herzog, were pushed into the mountains and it was assumed that they all froze to death.

      The next morning, Vegard, out looking for Sara on his skidoo, discovers the hiker's body, not in very nice state. He searches the area, tumbling through a void into a cave, and is knocked clean out. After sunset, medical student Erlend (Bjørn Sundquist) finds an old wooden box filled with valuables of gold and trinkets. The kids celebrate, and one of them pockets a gold coin, returning the rest of the treasure to the box. Erlend then goes to the outhouse to bonk Christine (Jenny Skavlan), and afterwards, Erlend return to the cabin, and drops a gold coin that rolls through the floorboards. This triggers the zombie attack on the cabin as the body count rises. Its time to tool up with what tools thye can fins (chainsaws and pickaxes etc) to see if they can survive the night as the blood and limbs fly!


      For a budget of $800,000 this looks pretty good and certainly entertaining in that funny, silly and gory way you demand of zombie films. For aficionados of the genre these are not Frankenstein slow clunky zombies but Danny Boyle superfast zombies as the somewhat apologetic middle-class twentysomething do battle with the undead. That $800.000 for a debut movie pulled back a decent $2 million from its limited release in 2010 and spawned the sequel ‘Dead Snow: Red Vs Dead’. It was also a foot up for director Tommy Wirloka to go into bigger and better things directing Hollywood special effects fantasy adventure ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)’, which did $55 million dollars, the sequel in production. I think we will see something spectacular up there with 24 Hours later from this guy soon. He has made a cracking little horror with Dead Snow.

      With a pounding Norwegian rock track, inventive camera angles and lots of fun running around the snow being legged by zombies you can’t help but enjoy this. As usual the best bit is the improvised destruction of the Zombies and the extraction of human organs and limbs by the frenzied zombies. Every second of it is predicable but with that fussy and polite middle-class humor and awkwardness around the impending doom of having to battle zombies. Every cliché is box-ticked here and that’s why you watch this genre.

      That humor is dry and feels like English humor in certain ways and helps an English audience enjoy it more. There are not too many subtitles to worry about so don’t let that put you of. It’s a comedy zombie horror and so you will quickly get into it. The special effects are not the best but that just adds to the charm and purely down to a budge issue. In fact they are generally deliberately naff if the truth be told. The Nazi Zombies here have a bit more about them to set up the sequels.


      Imdb.com – 6.4 /10.0 (56,127votes)
      Rottentomatos.com – 67% critic’s approval
      Metacritic.com – 61% critic’s approval


      ===Special Features===

      To get the extras, you need the Blue Ray disc although I didn’t buy this for that. The extras are all subtitled so no point. But if you are going to enjoy a zombie blood and guts fest in rich white snow then it has to be a Blue Ray option when it’s affordable. The fjords have a real atmosphere and I do feel the sharpness of the colors of Blur Ray adds to the foreign film horror genre.

      -The Making Of –

      -A 78 minute film of the making of (in subtitles) was seriously not a good idea guys.

      -Cast & Crew-

      They do like doing behind the scenes stuff.

      -Make up featurette-

      The gore freaks love dressing up and buckets of Kensington gore


      More talking heads stuff from cast & crew.


      The Mail –‘This is terrific, a dryly hilarious horror comedy with a macabre sense of splatter humor a la Evil Dead 2... but minus the self-conscious wisecracking of the genre’.

      The NY Times –‘Dead Snow reinvigorates the genre with zombies, gore and humor spilling off the screen in equal measure’.

      Reel Films –‘Gorehounds will undoubtedly be willing to overlook the movie's various flaws once the admittedly stellar third act rolls around’.

      The Adelaide Times –‘There's a smidgen of kicky fun in the thing, but the craft varies wildly between clever and sloppy, the acting is rudimentary, and the Nazi element is truly arbitrary.

      Washington Post –‘If it sounds silly, it is, but in the best way’.

      The Horror Show –‘Earns points for enthusiasm, creativity, and a powerful devotion to all things ultra-splattery’

      Dead Central -‘If you just enjoy watching Nazi zombies hunt and be hunted, then Dead Snow is definitely the flick for you’.



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    • Ebuyer.com / Online Shop / 1 Reading / 1 Rating
      More +
      19.01.2017 16:13
      Not Helpful


      • "Top Class Service in Problem Solving"


      Ebuyer's most Devoted Employee, not just to her company but to the customer too

      i Recently had a problem , which was no direct Fault of Ebuyer, where one of my parcels that i was waiting for before Christmas, was accidently delivered there along with a batch of 88 other parcels. the Courier company had told me all this information , but they were unable to find this parcel of mine. Therefore they told me to inform the seller for him to refund me and sort a claim out. in the mean time I took it upon my self to contact Ebuyer directly (as they are only 2 miles form me) Chloe (my point of contact) said she would do her up most to sort this problem out by investigating this issue and trying to find the missing parcel. In the end less than one week later Yodel delivered my "Lost " parcel and I got an email from Chloe at Ebuyer to tell me it was found and on its way.
      Therefore the service that she provided was far beyond the call of duty and she should be given a raise if not a bonus for her hard work and devotion to helping the customer (me)


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    • More +
      19.01.2017 13:02
      Not Helpful


      • "Ensures that both parents provide "


      • "Bias and unfair "

      Floored bias system out to make money

      I am the partner of a father that pays CSA.
      We have a child together and he has 3 children to his ex wife. I agree that BOTH parents should contribute however I do not agree on terms of the CSA. Ex wife has also got a baby with her current partner. They both work one full time in Morrisons and the other as a pool supervisor. On minimum wage and topped up obviously again by the government in receipt of benefits. £350 a month my partner paid continuously till oct when his dad died of cancer and through ansence and stress his business went under and not received a wage to make a payment. He offered to make less amounts out of savings to which the reply was I'd rather deal with csa and wait for them. He has since got a new job due having a degree and worked hard and earning 70k a year to which he would have to pay £800 a month. More than his ex earns enabling her to not have to go back to work after having her child. RIDICULOUS. Penalised for having a decent job. The kids stay th us Friday Saturday (refused any involvement during the week) should be a set amount which the other parent should have to match as BOTH should be equal not penalised for bettering your life.


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    • Glasgow Imax Cinema / Other UK / Ireland topic / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
      More +
      19.01.2017 12:25


      • "Modern space"


      • "Good film here"

      Blue Ruin - a film I saw here

      It’s better to burn out than rust

      Genre – Drama > Crime
      Run Time – 90 minutes
      Certificate – 18
      Country – USA
      Awards – 7 Wins & 15 Nominations
      Amazon – £5.99 DVD £6.99 Blue Ray
      = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

      The big Vegas casinos never use mirrors as they want Blue collar Americans to feel like James Bond when they stride to the tables ready for some macho gambling. They don’t want you to see your reflection, reminding you of your chubby waste line, the likewise wife and your boring dead-end job. Blue Ruin takes that guy who best not catch his reflection in the mirror (lets face it, we all hate that) and throws him into an alien world of violence, revenge and killing in this above average low budget crime drama.

      ‘Blue Ruin’ is the Deep South slang for ‘tragedy’ and the fourth film from director Jeremy Saulnier, who is not best known for the Green Room (2016). He was not a rich man through some TV work and his first two movies and so chose to crowd fund Blue Ruin, pulling in $430,000 dollars through kickstarter. He didn’t get his money back as this rather enjoyable crime noir pulled only $393,435 back from just a seven cinema release but enough here to suggest we have a real talent to explode onto the scene with more access to funding. He reminds me a bit of Nuneaton boy Gareth Edwards, whose distinctive and low budget Sci-Fi movie Monsters quickly led to greater things, that of the Raid movies and none other than the billion dollar responsibility of Star Ware: Rogue One. Saulnier is definitely a talent to watch out for and Blue Ruin featuring on many films critics top 20 list in 2013. I’m good at picking winners.


      Macon Blair ... Dwight
      Devin Ratray ... Ben Gaffney
      Amy Hargreaves ... Sam
      Kevin Kolack ... Teddy Cleland
      Eve Plumb ... Kris Cleland (Sister)
      David W. Thompson ... William
      Brent Werzner ... Carl Cleland
      Stacy Rock ... Hope Cleland (Cousin)
      Sidné Anderson ... Officer Eddy
      Sandy Barnett ... Wade Cleland, Jr.


      Dwight Evans (Macon Blair) used to have his own place and a decent I.T job in the state of Virginia. When his parents are murdered by a stranger it’s all too much and after the trial and conviction he takes off and now lives out of his car on the Delaware coast. One day a local police officer who knows Dwight through his bad habits of dumpster diving taps on his windshield and informs him that Wade Cleland (Sandy Barnett), the man who did the brutal killing, is to be released from prison early. Dwight immediately knows what has to be done and drives to the prison and watches the Cleland’s collect Wade from the main gate.

      Following Wade and his extended family to a celebration at a club, he sneaks into he restroom and takes his chance and, after a fight for his life, fatally stabs Wade in the neck, who bleeds out and dies. Revenge has been taken. Dropping his car keys in the club in a panic, Dwight steals the Clelands' limousine and drives away, but discovering a teenage boy, William Cleland (David W. Thompson), in the back. He lets him go as he has no beef with him. But the kid has seen the killer.

      After losing the beard, cutting his hair short and dumping his tatty clothing, Dwight visits his sister (Amy Hargreaves) in Virginia to break the news. Sam is shocked but also glad he has done the deed, amazed that her meek brother had it in him. As the killing has gone unreported on the news, Dwight surmises that the Clelands have decided to seek revenge without police involvement. Sam flees her home with her daughters and Dwight waits in her house for the Clelands' attack. It won’t take long to trace his car to the house. The Clelands arrive in that car and Dwight surprises himself by injuring two of the Clelands but taking a crossbow bolt to the leg but escaping with one of them, Teddy (Kevin Kolak), placed unconscious in the trunk.

      Unable to get a firearm and the situation escalating, Dwight has no choice but to ask help of an old friend, ex national guardsman Ben Gaffney (Devin Ratray). Ben has all the firepower he needs and willing to lend him some. After some brief firearm training he is ready to take on the Clelands.


      Ben Gaffney: I know this is personal and that's how you'll fail. No speeches. You point the gun, you shoot.

      But first to deal with Teddy in the trunk to try and cut a deal and end the vendetta by explaining his decision to kill Wade. Teddy is sympathetic to his revenge but there is a problem – wade didn’t kill his parents, and now it’s extremely personal for the Cleland’s.

      Teddy Cleland: That's how this works, man. The one with the gun gets to tell the truth.


      What’s interesting about this movie is the tone. I’m guessing there are not many IT assistant that are ready to join the army. Putting one from suburbia in a fight or flee situation with some country boys works well and you suddenly feel yourself backing the geek to kick ass. But he is not a kickass guy and desperation not heroics to his actions and so always vulnerable on screen. But many Americans have access to guns so Jeremy Saulnier says lets see what happens when they have to use one?

      The director has shaded his film with the color blur to emphasize the color of revenge in these parts as our hero becomes emancipated and so a man. The settings clash between rural Virginia and downtown Virginia add an extra dimension to the film as Dwight is driven deeper into his mission of redemption as a man by the supreme but misguided act of vengeance. Many people watching this probably feel their lives are leading up to a moment like this that makes a man of them and spend that life hiding from that moment.

      It crackles with tension and an oppressive atmosphere hangs over it as our hero enters into a violent world. This is not one of those films where the handsome hero has a Special Forces background and the body count rises with his skills. No, this film is about you in Dwight’s situation, like facing a mugger alone on a dark London street after work or standing up to your boss. It brings those two worlds smashing together. Acting and scripting is good and although this lost money at the box office that’s no judge of the movie. This is a directing talent emerging and I look forward to seeing Green Room now.


      Imdb.com – 7.1/10.0 (46,345votes)
      Rottentomatos.com – 96% critic’s approval
      Metacritic.com – 77% critic’s approval



      ===Special Features===

      -Audio Commentary –

      Jeremy Saulnier talks about his movie

      -Behind the Scenes-

      The little known cast talk about being on set and the movie

      -Deleted Scenes-

      Not that many

      -Art Work-

      -Premier -

      Some red carpet stuff.


      Washington Post –‘The world doesn't need another empty genre exercise. But as Blue Ruin reminds us, it can always use more filmmakers of Saulnier's resourcefulness, sensitivity and quiet assurance’.

      Entertainment –‘With the same brand of realist irony the Coens used to cool down Blood Simple, writer-director Jeremy Saulnier slows the genre's heartbeat to gripping effect’.

      The NY Post –‘Blue Ruin starts promisingly with a hairy hobo living in a blue, rusty, bullet-holed Pontiac on a Delaware beach’.

      Film Comment Magazine –‘[A]n atmospheric, elegant piece, a more delicate, intriguingly nervous piece of pulp noir’.

      Daily Mail -‘Saulnier makes impressive use of silence and slow camera movements, allowing the suspense to simmer until violence seems practically inevitable’.

      Little White Lies –‘It's a dark film, with a sicko sense of humor, that's not for all tastes. But the talented director knows how to keep things tense, taut and exciting’.

      The Seattle Times –‘Brilliant stroke to have a nerdiish carrying out a one-man vendetta against a gang of bad guys rather than a Charles Bronson retread.’



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    • Sony SLV-SX 710 / Video Recorder / 1 Reading / 1 Rating
      More +
      19.01.2017 11:56
      Not Helpful


      • "Easy to use"


      Best beast

      This is easy to operate and nice the design , the best


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    • Vespa GT200 / Motorcycle / 1 Reading / 1 Rating
      More +
      19.01.2017 11:52
      Not Helpful


      • "The Color is Look awesome"


      The design is nice, Color good and after all this very nice

      I think this vespa is quitely awesome in anything without the box behind , this vespa is very nice to see on dove or grey colors , i ride this thing and so far there is no problem , before i buy this i think this vespa is nothing good on it, but after i buy this , i realize that something really awesome about this vespa, make sure u buy it


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    • pcspecialist.co.uk / Online Shop / 1 Reading / 1 Rating
      More +
      19.01.2017 08:43
      Not Helpful


      • "Small enough to carry around to all lectures"
      • "Has everything needed"


      • Cleveland

      Smart and reliable easy to understand .

      I was recommended by friend who advised me that i can put exactly what i needed on laptop wich is a advantage as not paying for programmes not needed .


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    • More +
      19.01.2017 00:44
      Not Helpful


      • "Discreet "
      • "Comfortable "
      • "Natural "


      I used these throughout my lactation and would encourage others to use them.

      These were comfortable to wear, not feeling sweaty or claggysfter use.
      Stayed in place with my bra and felt fresh next to my skin.
      Good absorbency with no leakage.
      For me the security of having a natural fibre breastfeeding pad was important and these pads met the challenges required without any of the gels found in some bra pads that I personally felt uncomfortable in wearing.


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    • Online Movie shops in general / Online Shop / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
      More +
      18.01.2017 16:16


      • "The best downloads"


      • "Some bad ones "

      The best films I saw in 2016 online and dvd

      As most movie fans know the supposedly ‘official’ best movies of the year, according to The Oscars and the big awards ceremonies like the recent Golden Globes, are generally pretty boring affairs and released right up at the cut off point for entries. American movie La La Land has 11 BAFTA nominations but not released her until last week, two weeks before the actual ceremony? Most of the 2017 Oscar winners will be heavily lobbied movies released in January this year so the public doesn’t actually get to go see and judge them against the often pompous and embedded critics, tactical releases aimed at the critics, and perhaps held back so not to build any potential negative public opinion through the dreaded social media. La La Land will clean up with barely anyone seeing it. When we, the punters, actually get to see these movies on DVD later in the year they are steaming piles of Boyhood, Birdman tedium. The Kings Speech a Best Picture an Oscar winner? Seriously?
      Very few Oscar wining Best Motion Pictures of the last 30-years feature in anyone’s favorite movie list. How many of the last 12 Best Motion Picture winners would you watch again? Slumdog and Crash for me are the only two entertaining ones there. The Hurt Locker is certainly the dumbest winner.

      ===Previous Best Picture winners===

      (2014)12-Years a Slave
      (2012)The Artist
      (2011)The Kings Speech
      (2010)The Hurt Locker
      (2009)Slumdog Millionaire
      (2008)No Country for Old Men
      (2007)The Departed
      (2005)Million Dollar Baby

      Fantasy and comic book movies continue to dominate the best attended movies around the world and cinema continues to blossom. Who thought the Jungle Book would be back at the top in the U.K, 50 years after the original cartoon? The world wide audiences are wowed by simple action adventure comic book stuff in any language and that’s why Hollywood throws everything they have at it. It brings in $10 billon gross a year. The UK top ten managed to sneak in Bridget Jones.

      ===Top 10 films in the UK in 2016===

      1) The Jungle Book (£53.6m)

      2) Bridget Jones’s Baby (£49.6m)

      3) Finding Dory (£45.5m)

      4) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (45.5m)

      5) Captain America: Civil War (£43.9m)

      6) Deadpool (£43.9m)

      7) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (£43m)

      8) The Secret Life of Pets (£39m)

      9) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (£35.8m)

      10) Suicide Squad (£35.8m)

      ===World Wide Gross===

      1 Captain America: Civil War ---$1,153.3
      2 Finding Dory---$1,027.9
      3 Zootopia---$1,023.8
      4 The Jungle Book---$966.6
      5 The Secret Life of Pets---$875.5
      6 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice---$873.3
      7 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story---$829.1
      8 Deadpool ---$783.1
      9 Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them---$778.3
      10 Suicide Squad---$745.6
      11 Doctor Strange---$658.5

      ===My films of the year===

      OK, now these are films I have seen on DVD in 2016. Cinema at ten quid a ticket is only for big event movies on my budget. I haven’t seen all the films I want to see from 2015-16 but most of them, High Rise, Room and Eye in the Sky on the must see list.

      ===Captain America: Civil War===
      Star - Steve Evans

      The Marvel Universe stuff is just spectacular on our big screen smart TVs and cinemas and The Captain America trilogy right up there as the best action movie franchise of all time with the likes of the Back to the Futures and the Terminators, no less. When ‘The Avengers: Infinity War’ comes out in 2018 that trilogy will join the top ten of all time. The Russso boys are directing great movies for the world to enjoy. For me the Captain America films are ahead of the Marvel character packed Avengers and do more with less. The jokes are there, the action is there and the story is there. How can you lose when Captain America (Chris Evans) and his crew are fighting the Nazis?

      Star - Paddy Considine

      I know this one was released in 2015 but I saw it this year on DVD and I loved it and I want you to see it to. It’s based on the true story of a gay & lesbian group in London in the 1980s deciding to fundraise for the striking miners, a bold and brave decision, considering. They clearly didn’t use the fundraising to meet earthy northern men. The gay and lesbians felt the miners were equally oppressed by Thatcher and the police and so joined forces. It turned out that the LGBT group was the one that raised the most money for the striking miners. It’s a British comedy in the classic sense packed full of familiar classic comic actors such as Bill Nighey and Imelda Staunton and very much Billy Elliot meets The Full Monty and I laughed all the way through. Its genuinely heartwarming and plenty of tears to be had throughout.

      ===The Big Short===

      Star - Christian Bale & Steve Carrell

      The best movie of the year on DVD has to be the Big Short, a suitable oxymoron for the idiot bankers that nearly bought the world to its knees. It lays out exactly what happened in 2008 through comedy and clear and concise plotting and gripping from the first scene. It’s a long time since I have been enthralled like this in an Oscar nominated movie. It’s much better than the Best Picture winner Spotlight. No one really knows what happened that year but this gets close. Yes it’s a polemic from a mostly liberal Hollywood left against Wall Street and no blame apportioned in the film to the idiots who took mortgages and loans they knew they could never payback but at least I now know what happened. The jenga scene is one of the best this year in a movie explaining that collapse. If you are going to rent a movie that’s going to make you use your brain and make you laugh and scream at the same time then this is it.

      ===Top Five===
      Chris Rock

      I like Chris Rock but he rarely delivers a good movie, unless he has a cameo. This time he has and it’s grown up and funny and dare I say a bit of Woody Allen going on in a film he also directs and produces. He is a funny, talented and smart guy and starting to give back to smart and funny black actors and comics with a film made for them – to watch and star in. It’s a bit ‘chippy’ about white folks and Hollywood but that’s the point of the film and white folks will enjoy this to. It’s his funniest and best film for ages.

      ===The Martian===

      Star - Matt Damon

      Matt Damon’s one man show as an American astronaut marooned on Mars in the early days of setting up a human colony there is smart intelligent Sci-Fi that we have not seen for a while. In fact the director claims it’s not a Sci-Fi as all the science in the movie is doable or proven. We know NASA are experimenting with plasma engines for long range space travel and Obama said they are going to Mars in his lifetime. The film covers all the bases on long distant space travel and survival through self sufficiency and current technology in an alien environment and Damon’s confident performance in the lonely lead role one of the best for a while. It’s a movie you should really checkout and the Silent Running of 2016.

      Star - Daniel Craig

      Skyfall gets better every time you see it and hopefully Specter does. Daniel Craig has raised the bar back to Connery levels as Bond and the franchise no longer a laughing stock, the likes of Bourne and Mission Impossible forcing them to get their act together. Although another camp silly villain here, Craig is just magnificent as 007 and singlehandedly driving the franchise on. The CGI has been toned down and the lesson has been learnt from the Quantum of Solace misfire and Bond now as slick and sexy as ever. This is the one for your Blue Ray player.

      ===Eddie the Eagle===

      Star - Taron Edgerton

      Both Eddie and director Dexter Fletcher admit this film is a bit of an exaggeration of Eddie’s life but the real story of the jumping alone is worth a movie. What a character and what an enjoyable film he has here. Hugh Jackman in his tight jeans and pullover as the ski jump coach straight from a Panatela commercial adds the glamour and Taron Edgerton brilliant as the gormless Eddie. The script was a bit unfair on dad and other characters that helped Eddie achieve his dream but the film funny and joyous the way the best British comedies are and a cracking film for all the family.

      ===Star Trek Beyond===
      Star – Chris Pine

      Like the Marvel stuff, the Star Trek reboot is cracking family entertainment and delivers every movie. The owners of the brand are smart enough to have big gaps between the new captains of the Enterprise and super handsome Chris Pine aimed at a much younger and wider scope of an audience. Pickard was cerebral and the audience waned in the movies so we needed a sexy swashbuckling capt again. But the new cast playing the original cast are great fun and the emphasis now on humor and stunning special effects that are less about battle scenes and more about adventure in new worlds. The sad death of Leonard Nimoy and the guy that played Chekov made for a suitable tribute film here.

      ===Star Wars: The Force Awakens===

      Star – Felicity Jones

      I saw the British Premier of Star Wars as a kid in 1977 and it s huge return to form with The Force Awakens. With spades of Nostaliga by bringing back the old characters and the actors that play them you have the middle aged fans like me onside and the new heroes being young and diverse you have new fans on board the Millennium Falcon. If we are honest Lucas messed up the relanch in the 1990s with his chaotic plotlines and busy special effects and so great to see Disney and JJ Abrahams get it all back on track with new young British acting talent.

      ===Run All Night===

      Star - Liam Neeson

      Since Taken our Liam Neeson has been banging out pretty much the same film since and this no different. But it works and so we want more of that sexy Irish brogue and Seagal style dismissal of the bad guys, this time some Irish American mobsters in Boston. It is by the numbers stuff but its also entertaining and one of those movies that deliver exactly what you want. If you loved Taken and you love the lugubrious and lumbering Neeson shooting the place up then this is the latest version of Taken for you to enjoy.

      ===Documentaries ===

      Electric Boogaloo tells the story of Cannon Films, the chaotic film production company that became a behemoth and then imploded, at one point trying to make 200 films a year! Two crazy Israeli brothers had a dream and by the mid 1980s were green lighting just about any film that came across their desk. They made B-movie action legends like Chuck Norris but also tried to make serious films, not their strong point. Eventually it imploded but what a story. Checkout this breakneck documentary and enjoy the ride

      ‘Palio’ explores that extremely colorful horse race in Italy were the riders race around the dusty track in the town square. What looks like a passionate festival for the tourists is anything but, an extraordinary saga of inter region rivalry of bribes, punch-up’s, corruption and intrigue, and that all part of the rules. In fact if your jockey wins you are often seen as cheat. If you love documentaries that reveal secrets, history and interesting talks then this is for you.

      ===Foreign Movies===

      Populaire is a lovely 1950s stylish period French comedy about a handsome office manager who is desperate to prove to his cantankerous father he is not a loser and so enters his pretty secretary into the regional trials of the prestigious speed typing competition. It’s a quirky concept for a romantic comedy movie but it seems to work really well and a really joyous and sweet little comedy.

      ‘Las Combatants’ is another French comedy but a very different beast, the story of young love between a teenage lad and a pretty tomboy who just wants to be in the army and not bother with drippy boys. It’s just different for a film because it’s normal. People fall in love in different ways and it can just come down to trust. This film nails the essence of the puppy love you and me experienced when we were carefree teenagers, and at an age when you don’t know what love is.

      For the crime category we have the dark and foreboding Italian mafia movie Black Souls, the tale of two brooding crime families that explodes into a vendetta back in the old country. It’s like those mafia films they used to make in the 1990s and lot better then Johnny Depp’s Black Mass. Depp’s performance was his best for ages but the mob side of the movie not that thrilling. Here it’s bang on as guns are drawn in the shadows of rustic mountain villages and sharp black suits as shutters are quickly closed and furtive glances exchanged. The Treatment, on the other hand, was the best Scando crime thriller of last year for me and featured all the things women love about crime fiction, that of the stubbled and handsome square-jawed detective with a drinking problem and emancipated female detective partner and the most venal of villains, the pedophile serial killer.

      13 was by far the best low budget crime thriller I have seen in 2016, the tale of a desperate immigrant in Belgium who gets himself into a right pickle by blagging his way into a game of human Russian Roulette to clear his debts. He didn’t know that was his fete but once in the secluded farmhouse with the other players and people gambling on them the terrified builder has to agree. You won’t have felt tension like this in this thrilling black & white filmed horror.

      On the horror theme I saw two top end Zombie films this year, Dead Snow from Norway and ‘Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead’ from Australia. Dead Snow sees a group of medical students enjoying a weekend in the snowy mountains when they are attacked by some Nazi Zombies, only the tools in the cabin to defend themselves. Need I say more? In Wyrmwood Road some Outback meteors bring a deadly virus to Earth that turns anyone without blood group A- into zombies. If you love that stuff you will enjoy this stuff.

      Grand Central is a French drama about transient labor working in local nuclear power station as cleaners of contaminated zones, often unemployed guys sent from the job center to work in dangerous conditions. Once you have taken your fill of radiation for the year you are fired by the station doctor or put on lesser duties but you need the money and may get sanctioned by the dole and so fiddle your radiation monitor tags to keep working. The film has a love story added to move it forward involving the smoldering actor Tahar Rahim with a gypsy girl but mostly about the exploitation of the modern day workforce and the immigrant French. It’s thought provoking cinema and coming to a nuclear power station near you.

      Another French film I saw is the much pacier and taught Point Blank, about a meek male hospital orderly that gets embroiled with a corrupt police unit and a dead politician. Criminals have kidnapped his pregnant wife from his flat and told him to bust out a badly wounded patient and fellow criminal from under the noses of the police protection in the ward. He manages to achieve that and soon drawn into the intrigue as he has to fight for his life to keep his wife alive and stop the French cops and villains shooting him. It’s a tense thrilling chase movie that doesn’t let up and packed with twists, intrigue and cracking acting.

      A Hijacking is the film Captain Phillips should have been. A Danish ship is hijacked by Somali pirates of the coast of East Africa but this film concentrates more on the negotiation between the sharp suited owners of the shipping company back in Copenhagen and the rather gormless but resilient Somalis out in the ocean. If the owners offer to a high a price in the negotiation then the pirates will ask for more but if they go too low then they protract the bartering for weeks and if not months. The crew’s lives appear to have a dollar value. It’s a tense and intelligent drama and one that has some surprises.

      To finish off we have Oslo August 31st, a Norwegian film that’s the best foreign one I have seen that details the connection between depression and intelligence. As you guys know, if you think too much about things you begin to worry about them, often the most routine things. Here the thirtysomething young man decides that the 31st will be the last day of his life and intends to put everything right with people who knew and loved before he kills himself.

      ===Any other business===

      Le Weekend is a smart and insightful comedy on what’s its like to be old and still married when you are middle-class but no longer the thrusting young Turks you were in the world, perhaps still together as you don’t want to die alone. Lindsay Duncan and the lugubrious Jim Broadbent are quite brilliant in the lead as the bickering middle-class couple on their wedding anniversary weekend in Paris and with a cracking acerbic script and emotive soundtrack you can’t help but celebrate and laugh at their misery. It could be you one day is the message.

      Wild is the story of a woman’s voyage of discovery by walking the Pacific Coast Trail on America’s West Coast. Its palatable movie feminism and enjoyable book to film on how people find themselves through physical achievement. If you do have time along walk in the countryside in the spring or summer by setting yourself goals can be very rewarding and surprisingly enjoyable escapism. I walked from Northampton to Bedfordshire, some 10 miles out and 10 miles back, and its liberating. Our plucky chic is played by Reece Witherspoon, Oscar nominated to, a film that will really appeal to women who have faced great challenges in their life and managed to come out of the other end. If you travel great distances you conquer your world, someone once said.

      ‘Cockney V Zombies’ does what it says on the tin, a good old fashioned horror comedy East End romp. When the developers and a zombie invasion threaten the local old people’s home the residents and staff fight back with an onslaught of rhyming slang, jellied eels and Danny Dyeria. Cheap Thrills was a similar quirky horror comedy, this time from America, the tale of two desperate guys prepared to do pretty much anything for money. They meet rich couple in bar who take them back to their house and before long doing dares and pranks for hard cash to entertain the couple on the wife’s birthday…. like shi**ing in the neighbors house for $500 and eventually chopping a finger off for $15 grand, the money needed to stop one of the guy losing his house and family. Its funny, dark and certainly sadistic and a filmmaker to watch out for.

      American Movie is a far more cynical and funny affair, a low budget indie treat about a guy who goes on a rampage when he can’t take anymore of his noisy neighbors and reality TV obsessed America, blowing his neighbors head of and heading for the studios of American Pop Idol to put things right, meeting a young 16-year-old girl in the process for their violent blood splattered roadtrip. The script and dialogue nails everything we feel about the modern world and television and
      if you are angry right now and want to stick a shotgun up Simon Cowells ass then this is the film for you.

      ===Most value for money actors of the year===

      1. Chris Evans – $135.80 for every $1 paid
      2. Chris Pratt – $125.40 for every $1 paid
      3. Scarlett Johansson – $88.60 for every $1 paid
      4. Mila Kunis – $49.50 for every $1 paid
      5. Vin Diesel – $32 for every $1 paid
      6. Jennifer Aniston – $27.80 for every $1 paid
      7. Ben Affleck – $20.10 for every $1 paid
      8. Robert Downey Jr – $18.40 for every $1 paid
      9. Matt Damon and Jennifer Lawrence – $17.70 for every $1 paid

      ===Big Let Downs===

      The David Brent movie was very ordinary and unfunny. I loved the TV series but it was a while ago and Ricky Gervais has had a lot of time to write a decent movie on it in the interim. But he hasn’t and this tired film, dare I say it, suggests Ricky has turned into David Brent as he tries to live off past glories. Ricky has failed in Hollywood and come home to roost the way Coogan did after he flopped in Hollywood although the Alan Partridge movie way better than this. Sacha Baron Cohen, the third of our super star stand ups, got the point that to make it in America you do your stuff in America rater than their stuff in America. But they all come home in the end and Grimsby went down like Viola Beach here.

      Joining this list of big money let downs was Deadpool. Ryan Reynolds, who made a dreadful Green Lantern in that $200 million flop, back under the superhero mask here. The problem here is he just wont shut up and although the talking to camera thing and ending up the genre is fun at first he does it for the whole flipping movie. It gets annoying.

      The final two parts to the Hunger Games should have been just one part and that conflation ruined the end of the saga after delivering the first two excellent movies. It was as stretched as Kay Burleigh’s face and as long winded as a Stephen Fry gay wedding speech and you could see onscreen Jennifer Lawrence was done with Catnip Everdeen as she picked fluff out of her belly button and licked her bits for most of it. The Revenant may have delivered Leo Dicaprio an Oscar last year but it was basically him grunting all the way through three hours of wilderness and pine trees after being bumbed by a rather bear in the sticks (and not the first time, no doubt). It was very much an Oscar for ‘service to the film industry’, rather than a great performance in a cool movie.

      ===Most overpaid actors of the year===

      Johnny Depp tops the list in Forbes Magazine for the second year in a row. Studios that pay A-List prices for no longer A list stars get burnt. George Clooney is a surprise entrant, as is recent Oscar winners Leo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper. Poor old Will Smith is in freefall with his last three movies tanking, Adam Sandler enjoys his 10th straight year in the top ten and five years straight for the marmite actor that is Will Ferrell.

      ===Top 10===

      1. Johnny Depp, returns $2.80 for each $1 paid
      2. Will Smith, returns $5 for each $1 paid
      3. Channing Tatum, returns $6 for each $1 paid
      4. Will Ferrell, returns $6.50 for each $1 paid
      5. George Clooney, returns $6.70 for each $1 paid
      6. Adam Sandler, returns $7.60 for each $1 paid
      7. Mark Wahlberg, returns $9.20 for each $1 paid
      8. Leonardo DiCaprio, returns $9.90 for each $1 paid
      9. Julia Roberts, returns $10.80 for each $1 paid
      10. Bradley Cooper, returns $12.10 for each $1 paid


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