Sunday, 26 May 2013


Les Misérables
Les Miserables

More than just a typically stilted musical in a period setting, and certainly better than Tim Burton’s black comedy horror Sweeney Todd (which also featured the always wonderful Helena Bonham Carter), this is a grandly cinematic adventure, a saga of surviving the hardships of poverty and finding a heart-warming redemption in coldly unsympathetic society of 19th century France. Russell Crowe is a sturdy presence as Javert, even when he’s not on-screen, and there is a great supporting performance from the talented Anne Hathaway as Fantine, easily vaulting far higher (like Catwoman meets Wolverine!), from the emotional depths of her blameless downfall than the lesser scales attained by Hugh Jackman’s weaker voice and acting ability as Valjean. Amanda Seyfried’s typical spectacularly-elfin glamour is subdued for her pivotal role as Cosette as “the pain goes on and on” for broken lives and failures in this longwinded retelling of an already familiar story of tragedy and misery. But, at the end of the day, I must admit that Billie August’s 1998 version, played - much less hysterically - as straightforward historical crime drama, remains a superior entertainment. The blu-ray is out now, and it looks and sounds great.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

TTA mags

Interzone #246 is out now, and it includes my 'Laser Fodder' column of DVD & blu-ray reviews. Here's the line-up, with ratings:

Journeyman (4/10)
Life Of Pi (7/10)
Fringe - season 5 (6/10)
Dr Who And The Daleks (5/10)
Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 AD (6/10)

This issue also features a new column of incisive comment on genre matters, 'Future Interrupted' by Jonathan McCalmont, here considering whether SF is actually exhausted or just resting for a bit.

I read in dismay that, according to Dave Langford's reportage in his 'Ansible' link, the self-styled Barftas awarded Nicholas [sic] Cage a worst actor prize for Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance. As I wrote in Interzone #241, that comicbook sequel was very good fun (score: 7/10), and Cage is rarely less than entertaining, whether he goes crazily OTT, or not. I think some people really do need to see a few truly awful genre movies, with dully amateurish 'acting' before criticising a major box-office star like Cage, simply because they fail to appreciate the often satirical edginess of his typical screen pesona.

Also just published, Black Static #34 closes with my 'Blood Spectrum' of movies & TV reviews. This issue's coverage:

Sleep Tight (4/10)
The Echo (5/10)
Bait (3/10)
The Collection (4/10)
Spartacus: War Of The Damned (3/10)
White Tiger (5/10)
Slice & Dice: The Slasher Film Forever (3/10)
The Hidden Face (5/10)
True Blood - season 5 (6/10)

    1980s Retro
Scanners (8/10)
Scanners II: The New Order (5/10)
Scanners III: The Takeover (5/10)
Blood Simple (7/10)
Evil Dead 2 (7/10)
Knightriders (4/10)

    Slack-Jawed & Lifeless: Round-up
Baron Blood
The Facility 

Matching for IZ 241 for offering something new, but offering different content, BS 34 has a new column by 'Blood Pudding' (sounding too much like, or quite the opposite, of mine..?) by Lynda Rucker, who ponders the on-going debate in literary/ media circles about whether horror is dead, or currently being reborn.