Out Of The Furnace

*Review based on a free copy provided by Amazon – by it here


Another effective slow-burner with a terrific cast which managed to slip under the radar. Admittedly, though the film has many more plus than minus points, it would be difficult to market this in such a way to earn a lot of money. It’s a grim little film, filled with ugly characters screwing over life’s unfortunate losers, it’s a revenge thriller, a tale of brotherhood, a tale of loss, a story of the awful lengths we will go to to make ends meet or to hide oneself from past pains.

Bale and Affleck are brothers in a crumbling industrial town – one a homeboy, happy to follow in his father’s factory working ways, the other a military veteran with gambling problems who refuses to settle for a life like his family. Trouble is already brewing when we start, with Affleck’ s character involved in bare knuckle fights to cover debts, fights set up by Willem Defoe. After a fatal car accident, things spiral out of control and Harrelson’ scumbag gangster type character becomes involved.

Aside from the obvious acting talent on display (including others in smaller roles not mentioned – Saldana, Whitaker, Shepard), the director does a decent job of conveying the helplessness and despair of the situations the characters find themselves in, and handles all the tragedy and anguish without sentiment. The grungy soundtrack gives everything an effective, dated mood, a further suggestion of the people and parts of America who are unknowingly past their sell by date. Well worth watching, but don’t expect a pleasant trip.

Have you seen Out Of The Furnace? Let us know in the comments!

I Really Hate My Job – DVD Review

*Based on a free copy provided by Amazon


A two star review raised to three stars if you happen to like any of the actors involved. A generally unlikable cast of characters moan their way through a slightly above average day in an average job, berating each others apathy and rightly failing to care about any of the essentially worthless problems they are all facing. It is true that none of the problems they have are worth discussing, but it is these which form the bulk of the dialogue and largely replace conventional attempts at a plot. But isn’t that the crippling malaise which we all suffer from? The fact that we all feel we should be doing something more, something better, but we aren’t because of laziness, misfortune, lack of talent. Having said all that, there are a variety of plus points which will make it watchable for a select audience – and bonus points for having nice cover art which has been nailed to my wall in work. The cast are mostly good at portraying themselves as self-centered, unlikable bores, tired, stressed, empty, although at least one is grating on the eye, at least one is grating on the ear, and at least one has been playing the same character the same way for most of her career. There is some humour and there are attempts at creative dialogue which, although they feel flat for me, will likely please certain sections of the audience.

That is another bone of contention – who is the film catered to? The Bridget Jones crowd? It seems much to downbeat for that, and isn’t the sort of film to cosy up and watch to make yourself feel better, unless it works for you in a cathartic way. The art crowd? There isn’t a lot to talk about from their perspective. As pure entertainment, it’s never more than ok, and I can’t see many people either recommending it or wishing to go through it again. The director has a few moderately interesting techniques involving voice overs and transitions, but it’s again nothing we haven’t seen before. So why the three stars? I’m not sure to be honest, and as I’ve spent the last four minutes writing this I’ve wavered between two and three. I picked this up largely because I like to watch smaller, unusual, ‘indie’ films, and while this doesn’t necessarily tick all of those boxes, it’s certainly not a blockbuster, or a simple drama. I also love Neve Campbell and try to pick up everything she is involved in, the good, bad, and average. She is fine here, and there are some in-jokes with regards to her life and career. It is nice to see another film appreciating the people who have normal jobs, and which takes the time to show these people and respect their dreams and desires, but as mentioned already, the characters are too exaggeratedly unlikable and similar to be realistic. You will surely recognise a few traits of each in yourself, and in the people you see around you, but it’s all too heavily handled.


So, if you want to try something a little different, if you want a basically all women cast (who, to the films credit, do not all define themselves in their relationships with men), or if you want to watch a bunch of people mope around and complain about nothing, then go for it. More viewers may appreciate certain actors, some may enjoy the humour and dialogue, and some may think I’ve missed the point entirely and love it. Let us know in the comments what you think.

Amazon Vine- September 2014

September, September, the most hated month in the Western world, scourge of kids forced to return to education after months of freedom, despised by everyone else who dreads the coming rain and snow. Thanks to Amazon, my month was made brighter and better by a nine-item bounty, including toys and DVDs. What more could I ever want?


I Really Hate My Job (DVD): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Really-Hate-My-Job-DVD/dp/B00IRYXYGS/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1427365490&sr=1-1&keywords=i+really+hate+my+job

Starring my beloved Neve, this film was pretty dreadful, with irritating characters and… that’s about it. But Neve makes everything better.

Cannibal: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cannibal-DVD-Antonio-Torre/dp/B00JXNCR8S/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1427365453&sr=1-2&keywords=cannibal

91uYwfjYEOL__SL1500_ A slow-burning drama dealing with a murderous tailor with a taste for human flesh. Not as exploitative or gory as it sounds, or as good.

Heli: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heli-DVD-Armando-Espitia/dp/B00KL91CKW/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1427365179&sr=1-1&keywords=heli


A decent Mexican film focussing on one family’s struggle with drugs, violence, and corrupt cops. Well acted and with several brutal scenes, it doesn’t make for easy watching.

WWE Superstrikers Slam N Launch Arena: http://www.amazon.co.uk/WWE-Superstrikers-Slam-Launch-Arena/dp/B00IVLIF9I/ref=sr_1_1?s=kids&ie=UTF8&qid=1427365140&sr=1-1&keywords=WWE+Superstrikers+Slam+N+Launch+Arena


Woo hoo! The sort of ring I always wanted when I was a kid, this one has a number of features to make play all the more exciting.

Crayola Marker Maker: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crayola-74-7054-U-000-Marker-Maker/dp/B00CI6J8KW/ref=sr_1_1?s=kids&ie=UTF8&qid=1427365074&sr=1-1&keywords=crayola+maker


A fun tool for arty types which my kids are still a little too young to apprecitate.

LeapFrog LeapBand Activity Tracker (Orange): http://www.amazon.co.uk/LeapFrog-LeapBand-Activity-Tracker-Orange/dp/B00KNT6TEO/ref=sr_1_1?s=kids&ie=UTF8&qid=1427365035&sr=1-1&keywords=activity+tracker+leapfrog

417aXAyJiaLAgain, my eldest is a bit young to get the most out of this, but she enjoys the pseudo-Tamagochi nature and the mini-games.

LeapFrog Learning Friends Play and Discover School Set: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00JLHVWUU

819DMh5ZxKL__SL1500_A nice addition to the existing houses, figures, and playsets we already have.

Monster High Freaky Fusion Bonita Femur Hybrid Doll: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Monster-High-Freaky-Fusion-Bonita/dp/B00IVFCKEA/ref=sr_1_1?s=kids&ie=UTF8&qid=1427364843&sr=1-1&keywords=bonita+femur

91TKWa5nsoL__SL1500_Another Monster High Doll, and another hit in our house.

Kid Galaxy Morphibians Terrapin: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00KR2Q3HU

A great little remoted controlled car which zooms through water as easily as over land.

Unbreakable – DVD Review

The follow-up to The Sixth Sense is a much superior film, smarter and more stylish, a mix of thriller, mystery and comic book which sees S.L Jackson and Bruce Willis teaming up once again. Willis is again distancing himself from his action movie persona by making films like these, proving he is a very capable actor. Here he plays David Dunn, the lone survivor of a traincrash- a man with a history of near-perfect health. He meetsElijiah, a comic book fan who kids call Mr Glass because of his crippling brittle bone syndrome.Elijiah takes an interest in David, and at first seems like a stalker. He wants to prove that David is almost like a superhero as he believes David is impervious to physical harm. He convinces David’s son and tries repeatedly to convince David, who claims he has been both sick and injured and is just a normal man who got lucky. However, David eventually realises otherwise and at the request ofElijiah, uses his powers to help the weak and defenceless.While The Sixth Sense was atmospheric, but relied heavily on its famous twist, Unbreakable is subtle and works on many levels. It was unfortunately, but unsurprisingly a smaller success. Shyamalan’s style is present here, with floating cameras and contrasts in lighting, built around a twisting plot. Naturally there is a twist, not as overt as his previous film but one which leads to more interesting dissection. Jackson and Willis are equally impressive, and the rest of the cast are good, mainly Robin Penn and Spencer Clark. A highly interesting film worth several watches, and an original take on the typical Comic Book movie.

This double disc edition has plenty of interesting features- cast and crew chats, deleted scenes with director introductions, and a super hero feature narrated by Mr S. L. Jackson.

*Originally written 2005