Well it finally happened; Now TV added a superb catch up/live option for their TV channels including Sky Atlantic, Living, Fox and even UK Gold! So now for just £4.99 a month you can get shows like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Hannibal and Eastbound and Down as they happen or whenever you want.

Considering that the movies package is now just £8.99 a month and the TV is £4.99 on top of this, it becomes clear that this is probably going to place them as the major contender now and Lovefilm/Amazon and Netflix need to start cranking out those exclusive series’ with major names pretty fast.

The term “All sewn up” comes to mind.

Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand in The Guilt Trip

The Guilt Trip (2012)

This light comedy with Seth Rogen as a put upon entrepreneur and Barbara Streisand as his overbearing mother is worlds away from other comedy Rogen has been in before. It’s more confusing because the trailer suggests a Planes,Trains and Automobiles styled comedy but the film is rarely laugh a minute and is more of a heart-warming affair with a super sweet ending.

Whilst watching I’m sure the filmmakers want you to think that Streisand is a real annoyance but I just found her quite fun, which probably isn’t what was intended. Rogen seems a little out of depth in a film he didn’t have a hand in writing which doesn’t play to his strengths. You could do worse but you also can’t help but think this should have been better.

Available on Now TV


Beautiful Creatures (2013)

The latest in a long line of failed starts for fantasy franchises based on young adult literature, Beautiful Creatures was a box office disaster this past February. There was a distinct lack of buzz around this film at any point and it just kind of came and went.

Although its box office suggests that the film was dire, the first hour is actually quite good and effective at building an air of mystery. The two leads might be complete planks but their romance is strong. It’s when the mystery is no longer a mystery where the film comes unstuck.

The southern setting may be unique and there are some nice ideas as well as Emma Thompson in a great turn but it’s simply too seen it all before many times to ever rise above mediocre.

Available on NOW TV

Twixt new 9

Twixt (2011)

Francis Ford Coppola’s latest experimental horror came out on DVD just days ago and is now streaming, way of the future or is it really that bad? Sadly it’s the latter.

The intention was that Twixt would be a live experience with Coppola re-mixing the edit in the cinema depending on audience reaction. He was too ambitious however and forced to lock an edit by financiers. Problem is the best version of the film is probably gathering dust somewhere because this edit is awful.

Badly shot, scored and acted by usually great people like Val Kilmer and Bruce Dern, the plot is some gubbins about vampires and Edgar Allan Poe that you stop caring about after ten minutes. Truly mind numbingly awful and realistically probably one of the last films we will see from Coppola which is truly sad.

Available on Netflix


Justice (2011)

This Nicolas Cage thriller from a few years back, like most Nicolas Cage thrillers, had a wonderful premise where a wronged man was approached by a shadowy clique of like-minded people and promised help if he did them a favour in return.

Of course this isn’t played for all the drama and controversy you could hope for, instead once the set-up is complete director Roger Donaldson makes sure it wanders into pedestrian thriller territory.

Bit of a shame really because as he proved with this year’s Iron Man 3, Guy Pearce is an excellent villain and he is the best thing here.

Available on Netflix


Ironclad (2011)

This medieval siege thriller stars James Purefoy as one of the Knights Templar defending a castle against the tyrannical king played by Paul Giamatti. The cast also includes Mackenzie Crook, Derek Jacobi, Charles Dance, Kate Mara and Brian Cox.

Ironclad is one of the most underrated films of recent years, it’s one of the classic siege films with dwindling heroes, impossible odds and great performances. Director Jonathan English does a fantastic job here and this film is miles more entertaining than a lot of films which have tried a similar thing but instead got filed away under “overblown”. A must watch.

Available on Lovefilm

The Pacific

The Pacific (2010)

Now TV have stuck the first two episodes of the Dreamworks/Tom Hanks co-production with HBO The Pacific on their service with the other eight episodes probably to be added shortly as well.

This is the follow-up to Band of Brothers but instead follows the World War 2 campaign of the American forces in the pacific where they try to prevent the Japanese from building an airfield on Guadalcanal Island and thus cutting off Australia’s supply lines. It takes the familiar format of interviewing surviving vets on what it was actually like and then follows multiple characters during the campaign.

The first episode is solid with James Badge Dale doing most of the lead work and proving a solid leading man. It might just be me but soldiers staring meaningfully into space during the horrors of war whilst the stirring score sweeps over them, is a little too familiar nowadays, although the lesson and the history should never be forgotten.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes nonetheless.

Available on NOW TV


Dodgeball (2004)

One of the better comedies of the last ten years was Dodgeball released nearly ten years ago as Vince Vaughn went from indie leading man to comedy god.

Vaughn plays the owner of a ramshackle gym with a bunch of regular slobs who faces off against Ben Stiller’s grotesque comedic mega gym owner in a major Dodgeball tournament. You don’t have to have a degree in screenwriting to see where this is headed but the journey is all fun all the time, with Stiller doing a great comedy villain and other familiar faces popping up for regular laughs too.

Anchorman was the better comedy released in 2004 but this was a close second.

Available on Lovefilm

Signs (2002)

Probably the last film that M.Night Shyamalan made which was mostly an enjoyable watch, even if Signs is majorly flawed in the logic department.

When seen in the cinema the film was a triumph of sound design with the aliens wisely being kept in the shadows until the end with loud bangs and footsteps allowing the audiences minds to run wild during the siege. It was also the last likeable Mel Gibson performance seeing as he semi-retired after this and had his “issues”.

Shyamalan used to be able to mine a set piece for all the suspense it was worth whilst injecting some genuine heart and emotion. Despite some major problems, Signs is still a demonstration of the skill Shyamalan once had with his approach to a blockbuster. Oh how things have changed.

Available on Now TV


Bowfinger (1999)

The last time Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy were funny was in this film where they starred together. Martin was his madcap loser best as a cheapo film director desperate to score a major actor played by Murphy for his latest dynamite script “Chubby Rain”.

He manages to score a double instead and then films the real actor without his knowledge leading the big star to think he is crazy as he relies on a cult which is a pot-shot at Scientology.

Bowfinger represents a bygone era of big name stars in glossy comedies that were actually well written instead of relying on crass humour. Still great after all this time.

Available on Netflix


Singles (1992)

I still can’t recall a movie that had a cooler promotional single in the charts than Cameron Crowe’s Singles. That song was “Would” by Alice in Chains and it rocked my world in January 1993 when this film came out and Whitney Houston was number one for most of the year.

I didn’t actually see Singles until years later when I was out of my action movie obsession which is my loss because Singles is great and was a film very much of its time capturing the zeitgeist as it was happening which was rare for the 90s.

Singles is set during the Seattle coffee shop/grunge music era and follows a bunch of dreamy twenty something’s looking for love and dealing with commitment. As it’s a Crowe film even the less likeable characters are still somehow likeable and it has great turns from Campbell Scott, Matt Dillon and Bridget Fonda.

The soundtrack still rocks too and you can’t help thinking this may have been a bigger influence on Friends than people are willing to admit.

Available on Lovefilm

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Tobe Hooper returned to the franchise that made his name more than ten years after the original and then forgot what we all liked about the first one.

Instead of the raw sharpness of the first film, Hooper instead goes full tilt into serving up a sequel which wants to live up to the originals undeserved rep as some kind of video nasty. So Hooper chucks in all manner of chainsaw carnage and a pre-comeback Dennis Hopper, who seems like he was not given a script but a whole mess of drugs and told to just go along with whatever.

The problem is there isn’t any tension or any suspense and it all becomes quite wearisome eventually. Still this does have its fans apparently and is still better than that last monstrosity with Texas and Chainsaw in the title.

Available on Netflix


Pay Per View:

Available this week on streaming services where you rent as a one-off to stream for 24 hours are the following titles:

This is the end

This is the End (2013)

On paper this sounded obnoxious, a bunch of hip comedy actors play themselves holed up in James Franco’s house as the world ends outside. In practice though it’s amazing.

Seth Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg have created a film which has literally no fear with everyone playing the worst possible version of themselves and the big horror elements taken as seriously as the foul-mouthed comedy.

After Michael Cera slaps Rihanna’s backside and does lots of cocaine and Paul Rudd accidentally stomps a party goer to death, the feeling that anything could happen kicks in and you are right along for the ride with some of the best lines in years.

So far This is the End is the comedy to beat in 2013 and is a must see.

Available on Film4OD/EE/Virgin Movies


Rapturepalooza (2013)

Whereas This is the End was clever, had a love of horror evident in its construction and was genuinely funny, Rapturepalooza takes a similar theme but doesn’t have the talent to match.

Despite some nice ideas to do with the Rapture and what happens to those left behind, this film is more concerned with crass jokes and bad language, thinking that this will somehow be enough comedy to pull it through.

So most of the film is taken up with Craig Robinson’s anti-Christ trying to bed Anna Kendrick’s virgin character and getting ever more graphic in his attempts until Ken Jeong shows up as God. There are some laughs and swearing birds are never getting old, but mostly it’s kind of a minor diversion and nothing more.

Available on Film4OD/EE/Virgin Movies

Bring me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman

Bring me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman (2012)

This latest film from Chilean madman Ernesto Diaz Espinoza is endlessly entertaining and ludicrous much like his previous martial arts movies Kiltro and Mirageman. This film is more in the spirit of Desperado and El Mariachi with a machine gun-toting babe becoming the target of a mob boss named Che Sausage (!!) and the wimpy game addict that is sent to get her.

Like most things that start out this way, the scratchy grindhouse aesthetic is dropped part way through and it gets a bit too safe. Diaz tries to make many scenes the equivalent of a live action Grand Theft Auto which he never really fully commits to in order to make it work and a better idea about a league of assassins is also given short shrift. A bit of a mess of ideas but a truly fun hour and thirteen minutes.

Available on Film4OD/EE/Virgin Movies


Grace (2009)

After years in the wilderness, Paul Solet’s troubling horror arrives straight to VOD in the UK. Owing a debt to Rosemary’s Baby and similar demonic toddler pieces, this nonetheless still goes to some uncomfortable places with regards to motherhood as Jordan Ladd’s undead baby gets more and more demanding for blood instead of milk.

Shot with a considered pace that recalls David Lynch at his most uncomfortable, this is horror as it should be, thought-provoking and something that stays with you long after the shocking final image.

Available on Film4OD/EE/Virgin Movies