A Glow Of Candles (Charles L Grant)

charles-grantThis collection, which gathers the best of his mid to late 1970s work is mostly impressive. I really enjoyed two thirds of what is on offer. All his usual devices are used to maximum effect: foggy nights; faint rustling in the grass and trees; eerie moonlight; hooting owls; creeping shadows etc, and feature protagonists that, while not loners, are usually lonely. [Read more…]

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Scooby Doo, Where Are You? (1969 – 1978 USA)

scoobyI know that the plots are usually not so much different in every episode. I know in the end the gang is going to find out the man who was chasing them was in a mask all along. I know they are going to trap him in the end after twenty minutes of being chased. Why do I know this and I don’t hate it? Mainly because it isn’t too childish to be annoying to adults, but has that childish element to it which allows it to be funny. If a cartoon was ever cool, this was the one. [Read more…]

Bridget Jones Baby (2016)

bridget-tMy landlady ordered me to accompany her to this lovefest playing at our local fleapit. Twenty dollars later and I’m still coming to terms with what exactly happened. The laughter from the audience, mostly females, and of a type (middle class, white, not exactly poor, never to see their 38th birthday again…you know the ones) caused me to cringe at their un-coolness. They were the type who laugh at anything that is slightly different, in action or intention, to what is a social norm’ expectation. I didn’t think people like that existed anymore. [Read more…]

Married With Children (1987 – 1997 USA)

mwc-1The World According to Al Bundy:” You think I’m a loser? Because I have a stinking job that I hate, a family that doesn’t respect me, and a whole city that curses the day I was born? Well, that may mean loser to you, but let me tell you something. Every day when I wake up in the morning, I know it’s not going to get any better until I go back to sleep. So I get up. I have my watered-down Tang and my still-frozen Pop Tart. I get in my car with no gas, no upholstery, and six more payments. I fight honking traffic just for the privilege of putting cheap shoes onto the cloven hooves of people like you. I’ll never play football like I wanted to. I’ll never know the touch of a beautiful woman. And I’ll never know the joy of driving through the city without a bag over my head! But I’m not a loser. Because, despite it all, me and every other guy who’ll never be what they wanted to be, is out there, being what we don’t want to be, forty hours a week, for life. And the fact that I haven’t put a gun in my mouth — you pudding of a woman — that’s what makes me a winner baby!” Perhaps the greatest speech in TV history. [Read more…]

Zoltan, Hound Of Dracula (USA/Italy 1978)

zoltanI don’t recommend this but I’m feeling generous to old B pictures that have been mostly forgotten. They need some love too. Title also known as Dracula’s Dog, “Zoltan, Hound Of Dracula” is really something quite unique. Much of it is shot in bright, sunny open countryside, a setting which tends not to lend itself very well to the horror genre, although to be fair most of this picture’s suspense scenes are reserved for the night-time sequences. [Read more…]

Two Brothers (2004 France)

deadly_mongooseFour paws good, two legs not so good…if you’re out to demonstrate that animals are better than people, then by all means, make ‘Two Brothers’ your prize exhibit. Just as the ‘Incredible Journey’ showed us decades beforehand, animals, when given the right elbow room, are simply fantastic when it comes to film. They have the power to transform minimal, routine story lines  into gripping, engaging and dazzling delights, simply by being themselves. [Read more…]

The Return Of The Twelves (Pauline Clarke)

pauline-clarke-bookGive me a good book for any age range, I’ll read it, but there’s definitely something different about the feelings a children’s book can evoke in you! Branwell Brontë’s father once gave him a set of wooden toy soldiers, which Branwell and his sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne played with and wrote stories about, which eventually became masses of childhood writing about the kingdoms of Angria and Gondal. In The Return of the Twelves, a boy named Max discovers the soldiers and finds out that they’re alive. [Read more…]

Hell In The Pacific (USA 1968)

indexIgnoring the ridiculously abrupt ending, Hell in the Pacific is excellent in its structure. A great concept–two men are lost together on an island in the Pacific. The Second World War is over, but prejudices remain, as one man is Japanese, one American. They don’t share a language, so there is basically no dialogue. There is only survival. How do you make a feature length film about this without stretching the idea thin, without boring the viewer, without resorting to clichés of makeshift boats and coconut to eat? You don’t. [Read more…]

Tales Of The Unexpected (Roald Dahl)

dahltalesunexpectedIn sixteen short stories the reader is both enthralled and appalled at the depths to which some of the characters sink to when placed in various predicaments. This book is an absolute pleasure to read due to the fabulous writing and narrative skills of the author. Bold, unapologetic, devious, dark, and simultaneously lighthearted. [Read more…]

Body Double (1984 USA)

body-double-1984An extremely entertaining thriller which reflects the decade in which it was released by being full of excess and completely over the top. The 1980s was a time when it was often said that “if something’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing” and on the evidence of this film, director Brian De Palma was clearly on message. The plot contains numerous enjoyable twists and involves murder, voyeurism and duplicity. It also tests the boundaries of good taste in the passages where it becomes particularly lurid and prurient. [Read more…]

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