As the residents of Deadwood commemorate Dakota’s statehood in 1889, saloon owner Al Swearengen and Sheriff Seth Bullock must face a corrupt senator head on when the conflict of a past event resurfaces.

Directed by Daniel Minahan the TV film is a solid continuation, even if condensed, shoehorned into an hour and fifty minute run time. Deadwood’s creator and awarding winning writer David Milch gives some much needed closure to a series which was cut short.

The cast including the likes of Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, the excellent Dayton Callie (as Charlie Utter), Kim Dickens, Brad Dourif and Paula Malcomson to name a few are on form with excellent performances all round.

As the residents of a now mature Deadwood, complete with railway station gather, the cast past and present do great work on the backdrop of some immersive sets and Reinhold Heil and
Johnny Klimek’s music. Sadly without a few of the cast members who have since passed away in real life (notably Powers Boothe) during the hiatus.

Dan Dority (W. Earl Brown) is slightly under utilised, but given there so much to include in the short running time this is understandable. There’s big hit emotional story beats and after many years, the characters have fittingly slightly altered, notably McShane’s Al Swearengen, now far softer (echoing Al Pacino in Godfather part 3).

In keeping with the series it moves along at the same pace, only it feels bigger production wise. In contrast, Milch’s offering is subtle in some story/character aspects and square on the nose in others. There’s plenty of closure, also refreshingly some ambiguity also remains.

Overall, it’s a mighty fine TV Western movie which ties up story threads nicely. Recommend especially for Deadwood fans.

Four teenagers attending a summer camp lives are changed when aliens attack.

From director of Terminator Salvation and the BabySitter McG offers a tonally awkward affair. I like much of McG’s work, I’m a fan but Rim is colour corrected to space and back, the cast are fine but the script doesn’t fit there ages making it slightly lewd and off putting.

Maybe if Zack Stentz’s dialogue had come from the camp leaders and they had led the adventure or the kids dialogue fit their ages the invasion sci-fi may have faired better as a family film.

There’s CGI aplenty as the kids journey from their camp with an important key to Pasadena, California. With with a regenerating alien, an alien dog reminiscent of Predators and spaceship attacks it echoes Independence Day from the off. The best scenes borrow from better science fictions and oddly the kitchen attack is straight out of Jurassic Park.

Overall, it could have been a family alien adventure with a Goonies/Stranger Things vibe but sadly it comes off as a crude and weird invasion flick with a touch of Porky’s (1981) and Poison Ivy (1985).

SPOILERS!

In the sleepy small town of Centerville, the dead return to life when the earth shifts on its axis.

The Dead Don’t Die has an unprecedented atmosphere of doom and gloom in a small town which captures an odd eerie feel
echoing The Night the Living Dead. However, it’s marred by hanking issues that prevent it becoming what could have been a cult classic.

Jim Jarmusch’s writing decision to break the fourth wall and have the characters talk about the script within the film steals all the novelty from the zany characters and their convincing emotional sentiments. Especially from Cloe Sevigny who gives her deputy believable touching grief. It simply sucks the life out from his solid directing offering.

Adam Driver’s Ronnie and Bill Murray’s Chief Robinson are wonderful as the smalltown law men along with the rest of the cast. Steve Buscemi as a small minded farmer, samurai swinging Tilda Swinton and Danny Glover’s Hank are notable, even if a little wasted. Iggy Pop’s coffee yearning zombie extended cameo is memorable.

As a side note, it’s reminiscent on places of the 2003 Australian film the Undead, including borrowing a wacky alien contact moment. Along with three teens who escape there’s another subplot involving Selena Gomez’s Zoe and her two friends. Neither story threads really pay off, aside from fleshing our Driver’s officer character with Zoe’s demise. This leaves the two separate groups fates slightly wasted and if not moot. That said, the knowing observational hobo in the woods played by Tom Waits strings the film all together.

The make-up effects, Frederick Elmes’ cinematography and location setting is great, even if some CGI is a little iffy. It’s rare for a film to seemingly go out of its way to spoil itself especially when it was so wonderfully setup. It takes away the multiple reward of rewatching value. The abruptness of the ending doesn’t help either.

When it’s being played straight the comedy wit presents itself like the joy of Lake Placid’s satire. But when it’s breaking the fourth wall and trying to be too clever, it stumbles, sadly pulling the carpet from under Driver and Murray’s stellar performances.

Overall, the haphazard script decisions rip the heart of what could have been a contemporary zom-com Return of the Living Dead type classic.

Aladdin, a street urchin, uses a magic oil lamp to unleash a powerful larger‑than‑life genie to makes his dreams come true and fall I love with the beautiful daughter of the sultan of Agrabah.

A surprisingly colourful fantastic adaptation by John August and director Guy Ritchie. Excellent effects, staging and songs etc the whole production is magical, exceeding expectations.

All the cast are on form, the casting is exceptional. Will Smith gives an enjoyable energetic and restrained performance as the Genie. The trailer didn’t do him justice.

With a great singing voice and screen presence Mena Massoud takes all the best cues from his cartoon feature counterpart and offers a likeable and memorable Aladdin. Tweaked for the better by August and Ritchie actor Naomi Scott lifts the Princess Jasmine character even more, while also giving her a social and political subtext.

Although a good performance, Marwan Kenzari’s Jafar has been reworked. August gives him and Aladdin a commonality but unfortunately it doesn’t work as well as the cartoon stereotype villain did and sadly Alan Tudyk Iago suffers too. There’s not much chemistry. This aside, Abu the monkey and the Magic Carpet are finely brought to life and are just as much fun as their animated incarnations. The dance numbers are fun and wonderful choreographed.

Children and adults of all ages can enjoy. Thankfully, Disney have chosen the live action route and not horrid a CGI animated feature affair.

While nothing can compare to the animated version this is one of the best, if not thee best live adaptation of Disney’s own outings to date.

img_7757It’s here and exclusively yours. Join the mystery.

Sometimes the paranormal is in the mind and sometimes it’s real. Telling the difference isn’t always easy. It wasn’t for John Satori. After a brain scan he sees the unreal. He always thought that killing was just a job. Now he’s paying the price, when his past ghosts catch up with him.

An independent supernatural thriller mystery like no other.
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After nearly being rundown by a gang of drug dealing thugs a group of women take a joyride but the two wrongs escalate to rape, murder and revenge.

80s exploitation nostalgia hounds will eat up. Director Danny Steinmann’s Savage Streets echoes The Last House on the Left, Avenging Angel with a Death Wish vibe which retains it shock value.

Stephen L. Posey cinematography frames 1984 wonderfully. John D’Andrea
and Michael Lloyds music is notable. It’s a trashy exploitation affair with boobs, murder and blood as a teenage Brenda (typically 80s casting, all look over 20 something) vigilante seeks revenge on a group of violent idiots who raped her sister, killed her best friend and unborn child.

John Vernon is on usual top form and gives an extended cameo. Linnea Quigley offers a small restrained inning. Exorcist’s Linda Blair looks menacingly comfortable in the lead role especially in the opening and showdown ending. Street thug Robert Dryer is consistent and edgy. Lastly Suzee Slater leaves a staple Chopping Mall impression.

The script is as uneven, jovial, vulgar and crude as the tone (even for the time, as well as today), but the faults are out weighed by some good performances, Steinmann’s fine direction and sharp editing.

Overall, its of time and remains just that. If nudity, violence and obscenity with a dash Porky’s and The Road Warrior is your thing, then you no doubt already rate it or you’re going to watch it.

This will be my fifth novel, but first that YOU are going to make happen! This is a first for me, a paranormal paperback project that I hope you will love.

Fake and paid for reviews are ruining the industry- just two of the reasons I’m doing this.

Its title yet to be revealed – offered EXCLUSIVELY through IndieGoGo and will NOT BE AVAILABLE IN STORES.

Sign up #FREE for EXCLUSIVES more details and updates. Of course you’ll be first to know the name of the novel.

This will be the first work to be exclusively my own. You don’t need to have read my other works, it a stand alone. But like my other books it connects via sub characters and locations.

So if you are a fan, or just want a great read you need this book. So Sign up #FREE for EXCLUSIVES

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Possible spoilers

The remaining Avengers must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies to destroy Thanos.

A finely produced Marvel film, directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo deliver on the mammoth task of concluding this phase of the MCU. End Game is packed with emotion, thrills and a number great action scenes. There’s some interesting ideas – a washed up Thor, a vengeful Hawkeye, Gamora’s ‘return’, Hulk’s Bannerisms, fighting duplicates, revisiting past films, forgotten characters and much more.

The Russo’s instalment is no doubt entertaining but after the credits roll and tears are shed for two of your favourite characters (many more, if you like root for the bad guys) ‘fridge logic’ creeps in.

Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely and other writers grapple with time travel concept and shrug it off, wiping their hands of their responsibilities seemingly walking away by throwing in some one-liners and diagrams. Maybe they threw the time kitchen sink in by design so that fans will debate for many years. And that’s the major issue with End Game, it doesn’t work within its own logic with the writers moving their own goal posts. Sadly, even Doctors Strange’s 1 in 14 million outcome is flawed. It’s difficult enough to do films based solely on time travel, like Back to the Future, Timecrimes, Predestination to name a few and End Game just doesn’t wrap it up neatly. You really do have to leave you brain at the door to buy into it.

Overall, a great film, with hard hitting emotional closure moments but unfortunately they’ve left it to 14 million fan theories to tie up the lose ends and as just you make sense of it – annoyingly it throws up another paradox issue or question.

Possible spoilers ahead

Captain Marvel, finds herself caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle which takes her to Earth in 1995 which opens up her mind to her past.

As fan of classic Marvel comics, I must be honest and say (Thor Ragnarok aside) I haven’t been a great admirer of the arguably padded out borderline pretentious film outings. Thankfully, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s Captain Marvel is one of the better more enjoyable instalments introducing shapeshifting aliens Skrulls and the Kree, powerful humanoid warriors.

With great acting, smouldering likeable blonde Brie Larson is fantastic as Captain Marvel which expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe and ties into a past story thread, namely the Tesseract cube and future threads, including Fury’s pager. There’s a great performance with plenty of screen time from Samuel L Jackson as de-aged Nick Fury, oozing screen presence Jude Law and mostly prosthetic makeup Ben Mendelsohn are particularly note worthy with their characters offering some story twists. There’s fantastic action, effects and music throughout – it’s one of the better stories of any MCU with an interesting 90s setting and top pacing as Fury and Marvel team up.

As expected there’s some end credit scenes The first will connects to Avengers: Endgame and the humorous second bookends the film.

Overall, a solid superhero actioner, you can’t go wrong.

This year is a really big year. I’ve had novels out for 10 years. So for the next few days (April 2nd-) Darkest Moons will be FREE! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darkest-Moons-M-Esmonde/dp/1508567700

If you’ve not been ‘following’ I have so many writing inspirations but I was mainly inspired to write due to legendary horror author James Herbert and his kind correspondences I had over a screenplay that languished at the time in development hell. As well meeting Mr Herbert, I was lucky enough to meet my other horror hero – filmmaker and writer, horror legend George A. Romero.

Specifically, I wanted to write horror, yes, sub-genre horror, but with a twist, my take on at the time a worn genre of classic monsters.

Fast forward 10 years, zombies went mainstream, Frankenstein, Dracula and the kitchen sink have had remakes/reboots/ reimagining and so on. Sadly, Herbert and Romero have both passed away leaving their horror legacies forever on the world.

I have many people to thank. Some of which are no longer with us.
But to the many readers who provided constructive feedback on the books to help me understand what they wanted and how I could give it to them. Thank you.

Anyhow enough waffling!
What a journey it’s been! I am grateful.

So from tomorrow to celebrate Darkest Moons (I think one of my best) will be totally free on Kindle. Not just Kindle Unlimited but to everyone.