I’m a sucker for steelbook releases on Blu-ray and there are some great looking ones on the horizon.  Two recently caught my eye:

silent hill steelbook

stoker steelbook

Both decent movies… I already have Stoker on Blu-ray in a basic keep-case, but tempted to double-dip.  Also the original Silent Hill was a great horror, and one of the few good videogame adaptations.

Top Ten 2013

Well it’s that time of year again, and this year has certainly been a mixed bag.  Some great movies and a few stinkers, but I have enjoyed compiling the good and the bad over the last week or so, to finally come up with what I consider to be the ten best movies I’ve watched and reviewed (for the first time) this year.  Note: I try and limit the contenders to movies released in the last two years.

Top Ten 2013

1.  The Impossible
2.  Django Unchained
3.  Captain Philips
4.  Elysium
5.  Stoker
6.  Sightseers
7.  Man Of Steel
8.  Flight
9.  The Wolverine
10.  Dredd

Notable mentions:  Monsters University, The Great Gatsby, World War Z

2013 and the year ahead

Been an interesting year (so far) and with 2014 looming on the horizon, I got thinking about some of the interesting things I have been able to experience in 2013.  Three quality pieces of technology immediately spring to mind … firstly my Sony Xperia SP smart phone, which I really enjoy.  Slick functionality, with none of the slow down of my previous phone (the Sony Xperia U) and it’s great for emails, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.  Oh and it makes calls, takes very good pictures with it’s 8mp camera – can see me sticking with Sony for a phone in the future too. 


Next up was my Windows 8 PC … now I was as sceptical as the next person regarding Windows 8 but I really like it.  The implementation of Apps, the new Start screen, and general slickness of everything makes it feel like a really state-of-the-art piece of kit on my humble budget.  This carried over nicely into the XBOX ONE, which visually borrows a lot from Windows 8 and is proving to be a great machine … even if at the moment the games only hint at what the console is capable of.

Movie-wise 2013 has been pretty good and highlights include Tom Hank’s movie Captain Phillips, Park Chan-Wook’s english language debut Stoker and Tarantino’s Django Unchained.  My yearly Top Ten will follow on New Year’s Eve and I think it’s going to be interesting selecting the best movies and choosing what order to put them in.  I am sure everyone has their favourites so I will be browsing and commenting on those that I discover on other blogs … look out for me!

django sunglasses

This year has also been interesting for TV shows, with highlights including the Kevin Bacon thriller The Following, even with the final season of Dexter proving disappointment.  Yet I discovered Breaking Bad this year too, and was the reason I subscribed to Netflix.  Boardwalk Empire, in it’s fourth season seems to show no hint of letting up on it’s quality either. 

2014 for me, aside from life, work, family, bills etc will be all about the XBOX ONE … with big hitters coming next year like Metal Gear Solid 5, The Division, Watchdogs and Quantum Break.  Should be very exciting.  We should also start to see true next gen graphics finally being showcased.  I’ll be honest in saying I haven’t taken a lot of interest in movies coming out next year … is there an Avenger’s sequel?  Oh and what about that rather worrying sounding Batman Vs Superman??  At the moment I am trying to cram in as many movies as possible before the end of the year, with the likes of Iron Man 3, Kick-Ass 2 and Monsters University all scheduled to be reviewed in the next fortnight.  Oh and let’s not forget a little movie by the name of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.


Plenty to think about and watch in the coming days, and hay it’s Christmas too – so I will report back as usual on what I have gratefully received on the day.



Viewed – 08 July 2013  Blu-ray

I was in two minds when sitting down to watch this.  Firstly feverishly excited as it marks the American / English-language debut of one of my favorite directors, namely Korean auteur Park Chan-wook.  He made for me one of the finest trilogy of movies I have experienced, the critically acclaimed cult thrillers known as The Vengeance Trilogy (Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance) and along with the unique vampire love story Thirst – he has impressed me time and again.  Now coming to that second thing, trepidation – I was nervous that something would be lost in translation in his swap to American mainstream cinema … would all the reasons I admire his talent, be cast aside in favor of the usual studio interference, with pretty much the only thing saying it was the same director, being his name on the credits?

stoker pic

Well rest assured, this is every bit as imaginative, eye-meltingly beautiful and intelligent as I could have hoped – if not more so.  Alice In Wonderland’s Mia Wasikowska plays India Stoker, a loner school kid mourning the recent death of her father when her uncle, who the family have had nothing to do with for years, makes an appearance and moves into the family home.  Soon he’s warming up to India’s mother (a stepford wife like Nicole Kidman) and trying to befriend India – who has her own suspicions on this new found uncle’s agenda.

From the off the photography and just sheer imagination with camera work, editing and scenery are eye catching and clever as hell.  Think perhaps Tim Burton meets Roman Polanski via David Lynch, and you may get an idea.  The movie is moody but has a cheeky personality, aware of its own style without overwhelming, and delivering three very different, very memorable performances.  Matthew Goode (Watchmen) is eerily charming as India’s uncle, and Kidman retains her usual sexiness whilst also exposing a wicked step mother alter-ego, meaning she really should play more villainous roles.  The star here though remains Wasikowska, who was perfect as Alice but seems ideally cast here as the darkly disturbed India … a performance that echoed early Winona Ryder for me.

But I wasn’t here for the cast … I was here for Park Chan-wook and along with frequent collaborator, cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung, he’s created a work of art … the look is both creepy and beautiful at the same time, and even on the backbone of a typical psychological thriller plot (from Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller) this is much more than the some of its parts.

The kind of movie you really need to sit down and wallow in, and above all else … enjoy.

Verdict  5 /5