Sketchy Reviews take to the airwaves

Tom Charles (Self Portrait)

Tom Charles (Self Portrait)

Friend of the blog, fastidious proof-reader and Sons of York / Sick Prick illustrator, Tom Charles is taking to the airwaves tonight on PURE FM 107.8. He will be reviewing the latest film releases and I can confirm that he had positive things to say about Ash vs Evil Dead, so his taste can’t be wholly wrong.

Now for those of you outside of Manchester, you’ll do best to tune in online at:


Beginning today on Hulu (for you Americans, not sure when us Brits are going to get a looksie) is a new 8 part mini-series adaptation of Stephen King’s 11.22.63. The story concerns itself with a time-traveller who goes back in time to try to save JFK from assassination, only to find that time doesn’t want to be changed. Check out the trailer below:

I can highly recommend the book, especially if you’re a fan of IT, though if fans were hoping to get a look at 60s Derry in the mini-series, they’re in for disappointment. As can be expected, references to his other works have been chopped.

So what do people think? Is this adaptation a winner, or do we have another Under The Dome here? Prizes for anyone who stops the Quadrupedalo.

J.J. Abrams’ Stranger

J.J. Abrams has a new mystery project out, code named: Stranger. Take a look at the trailer here:

Whilst everyone else is speculating on what the project could be, I’ll throw my suspicious hat into the ring… J.J Abrams is a fan of The Mariner and is adapting it for the screen! Of course, it must be true! What’s more, he must have had access to the original artwork, which you can see below.

Original Reverse of Cover – Loose Lips Sink Ships concept

As you can see artist Christopher Hayes originally pursued a loose lips sink ships concept, which references the fear of triggering cases of Mindlessness, but also a deleted flashback scene in which [SPOILERS] Harris sews his crew’s lips shut as they begin to go mad. The scene was intended to follow on from his London flashback to demonstrate what happened to his doomed command before the ship crashed into Grace’s zoo.

Hmm.. whenever I discuss the plot of The Mariner it sounds damned ridiculous.

Anyway, in all seriousness, I have no idea what Stranger is, so calm down.

Check It Out: Second Look Reviews

Looking for movie reviews both past and present? Interested in gems that might have sailed you by? Check out this film review site by screenwriter Tom Charles, “Second Look Reviews“. From personal experience, Tom Charles’ encyclopaedic knowledge of television, film and literature means that when he speaks, one should listen. Check it out and keep an eye.

Also, to commemorate hackers leaking names of EDL supporters, I’ve posted a couple of old poems which you can find off the Poetry drop-down above. The relevant one is “BNP List“, about a similar event that happened to a similarly far right political party some years ago.

Breaking The Taboo

Thanks to the brave folks in Washington and Colorado, the campaign to end the disastrous war on drugs is gaining momentum. A new documentary will be released on 7 December (on Youtube) that promises to explore this fake war. Looks to be interesting, they have scored some very high profile interviews.

Scratching the Hobbit

To celebrate the upcoming Peter Jackson prequel to Lord Of The Rings, the expose documentary “Guerilla Distribution” is available to watch on youtube. Featuring Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf) and author Brian Sibley, the documentary explores the shady history of the world’s move beloved film-maker and the trials and tribulations of a pair of croydon auteurs, caught beneath the great man’s shadow.

Evil Trailer (SPOILERS)

Two days ago we were discussing the Evil Dead teaser, now we have the full red band trailer to mull over and it’s quite a corker. If you are an adult and don’t mind blood, gore and pervy trees, then take a look below:

It seems the be an interesting mix of imagery from both the first and second film, taking some of the more hilarious moments of ED2 (such as the possessed hand) and redoing them in the ethos if ED1. This entails shredding out the humour and upping the trauma. Of course, a trailer can spin footage any way it likes, so this is all conjecture at this point. The cast seem perfectly acceptable, though all we really see them doing is screaming and wailing, but they are pulling that off at least. Over-all, very optimistic and holding out hope that Bruce will make some sort of cameo, ideally playing Ash on a tape-recorder telling them not to say “the words”.

Thumbs up to:

    The self-mutilation
    Having the road get washed out instead of a bridge collapsing
    The return of the dirty tree!

Thumbs down to:

    The removal of the milk-white undead eyes.
    The inclusion of moments that are always going to be compared to Bruce (and be found lacking!)
    The necromonicon still looks like a hokey prop.

The Evil Tease

When I was a wee nipper a trilogy of films fell into my lap that changed my life forever: The Evil Dead. It seems I was not alone, as today there are legions of Bruce Campbell fans (an actor who made his name starring in and producing those films) all who would rise up and die in his honour. So it with great trepidation that I await the first proper trailer for the Evil Dead remake starring… er… someone other than Bruce Campbell. I should be outraged, but unlike most remakes that are sterile shades of their original, far removed from the brilliance of the earlier film, The Evil Dead (2013) was produced by Sam Raimi (original’s director) and the man himself, Bruce Campbell.

In fact, Bruce appears in the first teaser, though as himself at a convention:

During the clip Bruce promises the audience that they will get what they want, but it was always the humour that drew us to Evil Dead, not the gore. So it remains to be seen if this remake will succeed where so many fail, and whether or not Bruce’s appearance is from genuine input or a cynical attempt to prevent a fan-base backlash. Watch this space.

The Long-Awaited Avatar Review

It may just be possible that some of you out there have not seen James Cameron’s record breaking visual effects spectacular “Avatar”. Perhaps you were broke and refused to pay the ridiculous cinema entrance fees, perhaps you don’t like science fiction, or perhaps you were put off by James Cameron’s smug gormless face as he appeared for the hundredth time proclaiming it to be the most imaginative thing since dreams were invented.

And if you are one of this small collection of people, a tiny minority that the media think of as Luddites who haven’t seen the film because they are fearful “the big people on the screen will break out and eat them”, then I applaud you. Because I was one of your number until a few weeks ago when I gave in, paid a ridiculous amount of money, and wasted three hours of my life.

Avatar, as if you didn’t know, is about a disabled ex-soldier, Jake Sully, who’s given a second chance by becoming an operator of an “Avatar”, a fake body of an alien race that his mind is linked up to and controls. Upon the alien planet he befriends a tribe of locals who a corporation are hoping will move because they want a valuable mineral beneath their land. As things move on Sully learns that he’s actually on the wrong side and turns against his corporate masters, and blah blah blah!

What hit me first was just how juvenile the script was. It appeared as if it were written by a seven year old, rather than the master of cinematic sci-fi Cameron once was. Terrible dialogue, uninteresting characters and plot twists so predictable I could have written the story on a napkin in the first five minutes and acted as if I had performed a grand magic trick… until I found out the rest of the audience had done exactly the same thing. After about forty minutes I was looking at my watch and sighing… over two hours still to go… bugger.

But perhaps it’s wrong to judge Avatar on its story, after all, they clearly didn’t give a damn about it. The hype surrounding the film is about its visual 3D effects. So how were these? Well initially they were very impressive, this isn’t the hokey 3D of bad horror films or Dr. Who specials. But the novelty of that soon wore off and I was left wondering why people were so spellbound by a world that looked remarkably similar to World of Warcraft.

The clash between evil human technology and local blue beasts seemed eerily similar to Sonic The Hedgehog, with even the classic floating islands making an appearance. They might as well have named the lead villain Dr. Robotnik (none of this Dr. Eggman nonsense) and renamed the precious mineral “Unobtainium” to “chaos emerald” (which would have been no less silly).

A lot has been said about the film being anti-American, criticising the USA’s foreign policy. Sadly, this is giving the film more credit than it’s due. Avatar is not anti-American, it is anti-corporation, giving a warning about the lengths unchecked business will go to for profit. There is nothing new in this, Aliens made the same point in 1986 to far better effect.

My biggest disappointment is that I should have loved this film. It has all the themes I like: evil humans with nasty technology, rebelling animals and plant-life, anti-corporation. Good stuff. The problem is that it was all so badly executed I wanted to leap into that damn 3D screen and throttle everyone.

So, my final score? 4 out of 10. And those 4 points are awarded simply because the 3D effects are something worth seeing. It’s just a shame they didn’t spend more time developing the script, and once 3D becomes commonplace there’ll be nothing redeeming about it at all.


Alice In Wonderland

I really cannot care less about this film. Tim Burton hasn’t done anything good in quite a while. Sweeney Todd was dull as hell, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was forgettable despite Johnny’s best efforts, and Planet Of The Apes easily falls into the list of worst films of all time. The Corpse Bride was OK, but ultimately was a desperate attempt to regain the past glories of The Nightmare Before Christmas, a project he worked on but didn’t direct.

Not even the clips of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter look any good, it’s just Burton using him same old aesthetic allowing Johnny to be a bit odd.

Hunter S. Thompson: My Hero and Role Model by Zömßiè Inc.

Hunter S. Thompson: My Hero and Role Model by Zömßiè Inc.


The Rum Diary

This is a film to get excited about. Returning to the winning formula of Johnny Depp playing Hunter S Thompson, The Rum Diary is about a journalist called Paul Kemp (actually HST) writing for a newspaper in the Caribbean. Whilst being a giggle and Hunter’s only novel, the project’s main source of fireworks is the director: Bruce Robinson. Yes, Bruce Robinson, director of “Withnail and I”, and the mind-blowing “How To Get Ahead In Advertisement”. He hasn’t been seen directing since his disastrous “Jennifer 8” but now he’s back and it makes me want to pee my pants with joy.