Better Call Saul: Episode 1 'Uno' Review - A Rocky Start?

Our review of the hotly anticipated Breaking Bad spin-off!

Taskmaster: UDON Series Review

Our review of the cult classic 2002 series!

Is Dredd Now Over-Rated?

One writer explains how the Dredd sequel movement is making him apathetic towards the cult-hit.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Better Call Saul: Episode 1 "Uno" Review - A Rocky Start?

I recently finished watching the first episode of Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul on Netflix, and I find myself with mixed feelings. On the one hand parts of the show seemed to show that the Vince Gilligan magic that made the original show such a smash-hit is still burning brightly, but on the other I couldn't help but feel that this show seems like an inferior and somewhat unnecessary addition to the Breaking Bad mythology.


At it's core, Better Call Saul is a very different show to Breaking Bad and so perhaps it's unfair to compare the two - but that's what I'm doing, so get over it. The first episode of Breaking Bad set up a plot that left you on the edge of your seat, introduced us to a large group of characters that were all interesting in their own ways, and even told a relatively self-contained story in the process. In this sense, Better Call Saul is the vastly inferior show. To start with, after watching the pilot episode it feels like the plot of this show is really all over the place. While the beating heart of Breaking Bad was a relatively simple story - of a desperate man getting involved in crime, and the effect that has on his loved ones - here it feels like there's simply too many moving parts. The show sees Saul teach some local youths how to scam people, attempt to win some dodgy legal cases, take care of his sick brother and also explores Saul's life after the events of Breaking Bad. That is too many plot threads!

The effect this has is that it takes a very long time for this episode to gain any momentum or sense of direction. As a result, I would argue that the first half an hour of this show is actually pretty bland and dull with the final twenty minutes serving as a saving grace and providing a great hook for the next episode. These final twenty minutes are where the show really lives up to it's potential - why? Because it's focused on one plot thread. In the last twenty minutes of this episode there isn't much more jumping around, the show becomes focused purely on the story of Saul and his two apprentices attempting to scam a customer. It is here that the energy present in the best episodes of Breaking Bad can be found, the scenes in this final act left me on the edge of my seat and I hope that this is the direction that they go in with the rest of the series.


Unfortunately, as good as the final twenty minutes of the episode are this première is still bogged down by that tedious opening thirty. Additionally, I was disappointed by the lack of any real supporting characters established here. In the first episode of Breaking Bad Walt's entire family had won my heart and cemented themselves as a fantastic supporting cast. In the first episode of Better Call Saul, you have only one supporting character developed in any depth - that's Saul's brother - but even he isn't particularly memorable. Meanwhile, the character of Mike Ehrmantraut is thrown in there for one scene but doesn't have anything fun to do, and the two hooligans Saul begins to tutor show promise but they lack the depth that the characters of Skylar, Walter Jr, Hank and Marie showed in the first episode of Breaking Bad. If there's one thing that this show improves upon in it's second episode, it should be the supporting characters. The reason for this is because a good supporting cast will add an element of unpredictability to the show. We know that nothing too bad will happen to Mike and Saul, and we know that by the time Better Call Saul wraps up they'll have changed their names and moved to New Mexico. These two facts will suck all the tension out of the show, unless the writers can throw in some characters and plot points that we as an audience can really sink our teeth into.

As for the performances in this episode, Bob Odenkirk and Michael McKean are both solid in their roles but to be frank, no one else stands out as requiring praise. As I say, there simply aren't any great supporting characters to come out of this first episode, and as a result the supporting actors are equally forgettable.



Tuesday, 3 February 2015

TEN Comic Book Awards 2014: The Winners


Later than they should have been, the winners of our comic-book awards have finally been decided. Thanks to all of the creators who helped spread the word about our little awards show, you're the reason this medium is so great! All those creators who totally ignored us, we understand and we still like you too! Now without further ado, here are the winners of the TEN Comic Book Awards 2014:

Reader's Choice Award: Best Series

Winner: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
2nd Place: Grayson by Tim Seeley, Tom King and Mikel Janin
3rd Place: Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

Best Writer:

Winner: Greg Rucka (Lazarus)

This is a very smart comic-book, featuring interesting social commentary and tons of back-material that leaves you getting plenty of bang for your buck. A must read!

Ales Kot (Secret Avengers)
Tom King & Tim Seeley (Grayson)
Nick Spencer (Superior Foes of Spider-Man)
Rick Remender (Deadly Class)
Robert Venditti (X-O Manowar, Armor Hunters)

Best Artist:

Winner: Steve Lieber (Superior Foes of Spider-Man)

Superior Foes of Spider-Man was an excellent, criminally overlooked book. Steve Lieber's art was one of the reasons it was so great, with many awesome panels and some fantastic comedic skill on show!

Clayton Crain (Rai)
James Stokoe (100th Anniversary: Avengers)
Michael Walsh (Secret Avengers)
Phil Noto (Black Widow)
Wes Craig (Deadly Class)

Best Cover Artist:

Winner: Darwyn Cooke (Various 'New 52' Variants)

With these variant covers, Darwyn Cooke showed us a side of the New 52 we haven't seen much recently; the fun side! They looked phenomenal and we'd happily frame each one and hang them on our wall! Excellent work.

Andrea Sorrentino (Green Arrow)
J.H Williams III (Sandman: Overture)
Kevin Wada (She-Hulk)
Marco Rudy (Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier)
Mike Del Mundo (Elektra)

Best Colourist:

Winner: Lee Loughridge (Deadly Class)

Lee Loughridge's colours have given Deadly Class a distinctive and very stylish look since it began, and his work on the title deserves more recognition. Deadly Class is a fantastic book all-round, but Loughridge's colours remain one of the most impressive aspects of the series.

Jeromy Cox (Grayson)
Matthew Wilson (Secret Avengers, The Wicked + The Divine)
Muntsa Vicente (She-Hulk)
Rachelle Rosenberg (Superior Foes of Spider-Man)
Santi Arcas (Lazarus)

Best Break-Out Creator:

Winner: Genevieve Valentine (Catwoman)

Valentine has brought DC's Catwoman series back from the brink of utter terribleness, and has turned it into something that we are once again excited to read. Her plot is complex, dark and utterly enthralling. Read it!

Benjamin Dewey (The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw)
Brian Ruckley (Rogue Trooper)
G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel)
Joe Infurnari (The Bunker)
Karl Kershchl (Gotham Academy)

Best Series:

Winner: Superior Foes of Spider-Man
Deadly Class
Grayson
Lazarus
Secret Avengers
X-O Manowar

Most Anticipated New Series of 2015:

Winner: Hit 1957 (Boom Studios)

The first Hit series, Hit: 1955 as it's known now was truly excellent and left us wanting more! Late last year we found out that's exactly what we'd be getting, and now we can't wait to see where the team of Bryce Carlson and Vanesa R. Del Ray take these characters next!

Bloodshot: Reborn (Valiant)
Howard the Duck (Marvel)
Ivar, Timewalker (Valiant)
The Fix (Image)
Star Wars (Marvel)

Best Publisher:

Winner: Marvel
DC
Image
IDW Publishing
ONI Press
Valiant

Best Comic-Book Website:

Winner: Comic Book Round-Up

While Comic Book Round-Up doesn't post editorial, it's still one of the most useful comic-book websites on the Internet. Serving as a review aggregator for comic-books from all publishers, it's a great tool to decide what comics to pick up each and every week. Check it out if you haven't already!

Bleeding Cool
Comic Book Resources
IGN
Multiversity Comics
Newsarama

Best Comic-Book Adaptation:

Winner: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Arrow
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Flash
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Performance in a Comic-Book Property:

Winner: Scarlett Johannson (Black Widow in Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy)
Chloe Bennett (Skye in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak in Arrow/The Flash)
Ming Na-Wen (Melinda May in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury in Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Most Anticipated Adaptation of 2015:

Winner: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Agent Carter
A.K.A Jessica Jones
Ant Man
Daredevil
Fantastic Four

TEN Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Comics:

Winner: Steve Gerber
Alan Moore
Jim Shooter
Mark Waid
Stan Lee
Terry Moore

Thanks again to everyone who supported this year's awards, and all the awesome people who voted in our reader's choice award! Hope you'll all be back for the next awards!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

TEN Comic-Book Awards 2014: The Nominees


It's the end of the year and you know what that means; it's a time to reflect, and after the reflection is over decide to give out some awards! That's exactly what I've been doing these past couple of days and this is the result.

2014 was a phenomenal year for comics. They gained more mainstream attention thanks to the smash-hit Guardians of the GalaxyCaptain America, and X-Men movies, and made headlines with some surprising reveals such as a woman taking on the title of Thor. Meanwhile, DC revived their ailing New 52 universe with such quality titles as Grayson, Gotham Academy, and The Multiversity. I haven't even mentioned the continuing rise of independent titles, most notably those from Image Comics!

With this in mind I thought now is as good a time as any to launch the TEN Comic Book Awards! Here we'll be spotlighting the best writers, artists, and series' to come out of the comic-book world in the last year, with our 2014 nominees listed below! But YOU can get involved as well! Just under this paragraph you'll find the reader's choice award for 'Best Series', where you can choose to vote for any series from the past twelve months! There is a good chance that no one will vote, but I'm optimistic nonetheless. The winners to all these awards will be announced in a video to be uploaded to the TEN YouTube channel in January 2015.

Reader's Choice: Best Series

The readers choice award is now closed! We're sorry if you didn't get a chance to vote, but stay tuned to TEN as they'll be more cool stuff to come! You can also check out the winners on our YouTube channel and on this site (probably, if we haven't procrastinated and not updated them yet). Thanks again!

Best Writer

Ales Kot (Secret Avengers)
Greg Rucka (Lazarus)
Tom King/Tim Seeley (Grayson)
Nick Spencer (Superior Foes of Spider-Man)
Rick Remender (Deadly Class)
Robert Venditti (X-O Manowar, Armor Hunters)

Best Artist

Clayton Crain (Rai)
James Stokoe (100th Anniversary: Avengers)
Michael Walsh (Secret Avengers)
Phil Noto (Black Widow)
Steve Lieber (Superior Foes of Spider-Man)
Wes Craig (Deadly Class)

Best Cover Artist

Andrea Sorrentino (Green Arrow)
Darwyn Cooke (Various)
J.H Williams III (Sandman: Overture)
Kevin Wada (She-Hulk)
Marco Rudy (Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier)
Mike Del Mundo (Elektra)

Best Colourist

Jeromy Cox (Grayson)
Lee Loughridge (Deadly Class)
Matthew Wilson (Secret Avengers, The Wicked + The Divine)
Muntsa Vicente (She-Hulk)
Rachelle Rosenberg (Superior Foes of Spider-Man)
Santi Arcas (Lazarus)

Best Break-Out Creator

Benjamin Dewey (The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw)
Brian Ruckley (Rogue Trooper)
Genevieve Valentine (Catwoman)
G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel)
Joe Infurnari (The Bunker)
Karl Kerschl (Gotham Academy)

Best Series

Deadly Class
Grayson
Lazarus
Secret Avengers
Superior Foes of Spider-Man
X-O Manowar

Most Anticipated New Series of 2015

Bloodshot: Reborn (Valiant)
Hit: 1957 (Boom Studios)
Howard the Duck (Marvel)
Ivar, Timewalker (Valiant)
The Fix (Image)
Star Wars (Marvel)

Best Publisher

DC
Image
IDW Publishing
Marvel
ONI Press
Valiant

Best Comic-Book Website

Bleeding Cool
Comic Book Resources
Comic Book Round-Up
IGN
Multiversity Comics
Newsarama

Best Comic-Book Adaptation

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Arrow
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Flash
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Performance in a Comic-Book Property

Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy)
Chloe Bennet (Skye in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak in Arrow/The Flash)
Ming Na-Wen (Melinda May in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury in Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Scarlett Johannson (Black Widow in Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Most Anticipated Adaptation of 2015:

Agent Carter
A.K.A Jessica Jones
Ant-Man
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Daredevil
Fantastic Four

TEN Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Comics

Alan Moore
Jim Shooter
Mark Waid
Stan Lee
Steve Gerber
Terry Moore

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Update: Is This Site Still Active?

Hello everyone, it's me David - the founder and sole writer of The Entertainment Network. I wanted to write this post so that the few people who follow this site will know exactly what's going on, particularly why it's been a while since it was last updated. Recently I was accepted onto the writing team of the fast-growing site Comic Bastards. I'm enjoying writing stuff for them, but it makes my already limited time, even more limited. Unfortunately, I don't have time to write for two sites - I barely have time to write for one - and so until such times as I leave the Comic Bastards team, updates on this site are going to be minimal.

It makes me sad because I love this site a lot, and I'm very proud of how far it's come. You may be reading this and thinking, "Does he know he only has 34 likes on Facebook and most of those are his friends who don't actually read the stuff he posts?" Yes I do. But still, cosmetically the site has come a long way (it now looks super snazzy), and while I still don't have a huge audience, the number of people reading the site has grown a lot in the last few years and considering I've never advertised this site anywhere I think that's quite cool.

Anyway, I'm going to try and update this site whenever I can but sadly I probably won't be writing for it as much as I should be. In the meantime, follow me on Comic Bastards. Click here to see all the posts I've written for that website.

In the meantime, stay frosty everyone.

David Craig
Twitter: @_david_craig

Monday, 8 September 2014

US Box Office Top 10: 8th September 2014

It was quiet at the US box office this week - the quietest it has been for two years in fact - as the only new release was an utter flop, and even Marvel's smash-hit Guardians of the Galaxy only pulled in $10 million. The fact that this relatively small number was enough for the movie to hold the top spot yet again, should tell you just how few people went to the cinema over the weekend. While there's little more to say about Guardians of the Galaxy aside from that it's a huge success, I did find it funny to see that the Marvel Studios flick has now surpassed Man of Steel's box office numbers! I'm no DC hater, but I do find it amusing that an iconic character that has been the face of the comic book industry for around 75 years, can be bested so easily by an obscure gang of misfits. It's a strange world.


The aforementioned new release this week was The Identical, a movie aimed primarily at Christian audiences, following two twins who are separated at birth. One goes on to become a rock 'n' roll superstar, one struggles with a father he worries about disappointing. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the movie received some scathing reviews and this may be part of why it flopped quite so hard. The movie managed to pull in just $1.91 million over the weekend landing it at number eleven, and while it's unlikely to have had a huge budget, that still isn't great. The movie continues what has been a very bad year for actor Ray Liotta in terms of box office numbers. Liotta, who starred in Martin Scorsese's much-acclaimed 'Goodfellas' has also had roles in some of 2014's other flops including Muppets Most Wanted and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. There's always next year, I suppose.

Much of this week's top ten is the same as last week, with many movies holding their spots on the chart. Meanwhile last week's disappointing new entries continue to disappoint this week, as The November Man and As Above/So Below perform poorly once again.

Here's this week's top ten in full:

1. (1) Guardians of the Galaxy - $10.1 million
2. (2) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - $6.5 million
3. (3) If I Stay - $5.7 million
4. (5) Let's Be Cops - $5.4 million
5. (6) The November Man - $4.2 million
6. (4) As Above/So Below - $3.72 million
7. (7) When the Game Stands Tall - $3.7 million
8. (8) The Giver - $3.5 million
9. (9) The Hundred-Foot Journey - $3.2 million
10. (11) Lucy - $1.95 million

Be sure to let us know on our Facebook page, on Twitter or in the comments section below what you think of this week's box office numbers, and come back next Monday for more!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Cast As Black Adam, But Will Shazam Fail?

After years of teasing and hinting, today it was finally announced what role Dwayne Johnson is to have in the developing DC cinematic universe. The actor has talked openly many times about his interest in a Shazam movie, recently telling fans he was struggling to decide which role he would rather play: Shazam or Black Adam. However it seems a decision was made as today Johnson announced from his Twitter account the news that he will be portraying Black Adam in the upcoming Shazam movie, one of many DC projects in the works at the moment.

After all these years of seeing Johnson flirt with the idea of playing this character on-screen, I was sceptical when I first saw Johnson's tweet thinking it may be yet another playful tease and nothing else. But after the news was confirmed by the respectable entertainment news site Variety, I allowed myself to believe that this period of mystery was now finally over. The script to the Shazam movie is being written by screenwriter Darren Lemke, whose resume isn't exactly flawless with his most recent films - Turbo, Jack the Giant Slayer, and Shrek Forever After - all receiving a relatively mixed response. However, the films mentioned do have their fans and are far from terrible so I don't intend on dismissing Lemke just yet.


Black Adam was a DC comics villain who essentially displayed the complete opposite traits of the hero Shazam. Although recently in the comics the character has taken on more of an anti-hero stance, as those kinds of characters continue to be fashionable. No release date has been set for the movie, probably as Warner Bros. try to figure out how Johnson is going to have the time to film Shazam. What with the Fast and Furious and G.I Joe franchises, as well as upcoming disaster flick San Andreas, and HBO TV series Ballers, Johnson is a very busy man. But at least Warner don't have to worry about Hercules becoming a franchise for the star, as the movie disappointed financially this Summer.

This raises the question, is casting the Rock a good decision? While he certainly has a few hits, some of his recent movies including Pain & Gain, Snitch and the aforementioned Hercules have struggled to pull in audiences at the box office. The actor seems more at home in roles where he's surrounded by a group of other actors a la the G.I. Joe and Fast and Furious franchises. If San Andreas, Johnson's next starring vehicle, is another bomb then Warner might just regret their decision to put him in their fragile new universe.

Let us know how you feel about this casting news in the comments section below, on our Facebook page or on Twitter! Also, do you think screenwriter Darren Lemke will be able to turn out a good script for this movie? Or will a rewrite be necessary?

To get a look at how cool Black Adam is in action, check out the cinematic trailer for the videogame DC Universe Online below. It is badass.


For more movie news be sure to keep visiting The Entertainment Network.

Monday, 1 September 2014

US Box Office Top 10: 1st September 2014

It was another quiet week at the box office, where movie-goers once again decided a second (or third) viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy would be more enjoyable than any of the week's new releases. Because of this, Guardians of the Galaxy was able to hold onto the top spot for the second week, with a tiny drop of just 5.2%. It appears that movie theatres have a lot of faith in the movie too, as Guardians of the Galaxy is one of just two movies in the top ten to add screenings to their theatre count. The Marvel movie adds 91 screens to its overall count this week, bringing it to a total of 3,462 theatres despite being five weeks into its run. The film brings in another $16 million this week, securing its place as the most successful film of the year in the USA. The fear experienced by many in the run up to the release of Guardians - that the movie may not strike a chord with mainstream audiences - now seems a distant memory.


The top three remains unchanged this week, with Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles holding the number two spot, and Kick-Ass' Chloe Moretz close behind at number three with If I Stay. Both films are shaping up to be modest success stories for their respective studios, as the Ninja Turtles move forward with a second movie and If I Stay easily makes back its $11 million budget.

The highest new entry this week is the found-footage horror movie As Above/So Below which debuts at number four. The lukewarm box office reception this movie has had - with just $8.3 million made on its opening weekend - may reflect movie-goers increasing resentment towards the found-footage genre which has garnered so many hits in the last decade due to their low-budget nature.
The other top ten new entry this week is Pierce Brosnan's, The November Man, which also kicks off its run quietly entering the top ten at number six with just $7.6 million pulled in over the weekend. Arguably, Pierce Brosnan's ability to draw in audiences left him a long time ago and so this small debut is not particularly surprising.


Still, I would say the week's biggest loser is once again, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. The Robert Rodriguez sequel has the biggest drop this week - a nasty 65.6% - bringing it down to a weekend haul of just $2.2 million. What this means is the that the film's total domestic gross is a pitiful $10.7 million, which is less than the first Sin City made on its first day. While I never expected this movie to be a smash hit, I do continue to be puzzled as to why it bombed quite so badly. What's your thoughts on the movie, or any that we've covered this week? Let us know in the comments section below, on our Facebook page or by tweeting us!

Here's the top ten in full:

1. (1) Guardians of the Galaxy - $16.3 million
2. (2) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - $11.7 million
3. (3) If I Stay - $9.2 million
4. (-) As Above/So Below - $8.3 million
5. (4) Let's Be Cops - $8.2 million
6. (-) The November Man - $7.6 million
7. (5) When the Game Stands Tall - $5.6 million
8. (7) The Giver - $5.2 million
9. (9) The Hundred-Foot Journey - $4.6 million
10. (6) The Expendables 3 - $3.5 million

Be sure to come back next week for more box office news!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Bojack Horseman: Episode One Review

Bojack Horseman starring Will Arnett and Aaron Paul is the latest Netflix original series, and it's the first foray into the genre of adult animation for the streaming service. Therefore it isn't wholly surprising that the show's first episode is far from flawless. But while it has a way to go before it can even think of becoming the next Archer or Family Guy, Bojack Horseman does have some potential which I hope can grow and flourish during the shows twelve episode run.


The premise of Bojack Horseman is quite ingenious. The titular character (Arnett) is a washed up sitcom star who - after the cancellation of his high rated, but critically panned TV show - finds himself sitting around his expensive home all day doing nothing except complain to his stoner house-guest, Todd (Paul). However, this wonderful premise isn't pulled off as well as one would hope. While there are some funny moments in the first episode, it doesn't deliver on laughs in the same way that other, more established series' do. That isn't for lack of trying however, there were many moments in the season premiere where I felt like I should be laughing, but the laughs just weren't coming. I put this down to the show not knowing what it wants to be.

Bojack Horseman has all the elements in place to adopt the kind of absurd comedy typically used in shows created by Seth MacFarlane, however it never makes the most of them. That would be fine if the show adopted the other route for an adult animated series - more mature humour as seen in the FX hit series Archer - but this isn't something Bojack does either. Instead, it decides to linger in between the two comedic styles, ultimately not pulling off either of them to any great effect. This means that the show just isn't as funny as it could or should be, and it's a great shame to see two very talented actors go to waste in this first episode.




Horns by Joe Hill | Book Review

This review is spoiler-free.

Horns was the second novel that Joe "the son of Stephen King" Hill wrote, and is the first of his books to get a big-screen adaptation. After a long wait since its festival premiere last Summer, Horns will finally be getting a cinema release in October. The film interested me with the casting of Daniel Radcliffe - an actor who has been picking his roles carefully since the end of his Harry Potter franchise - and so I picked up the book to get a glimpse of what was heading towards our screens. What I read surprised me. Horns is not a book for the faint hearted, with sexual content throughout, a few murders sprinkled in, and even some satanic preaching to an audience of snakes. Luckily, I have an open mind to weird stories such as this one and so I actually really enjoyed this journey.


Following Ig - the less successful younger brother to late-night TV star Terry Perrish - in the wake of his girlfriend Merrin's brutal murder, Horns is a dark journey into the mind of someone suffering with not just grief, but feelings of loneliness and injustice. Indeed to add more salt in the wound it is Ig who was accused of Merrin's murder, and even a year after he was found not guilty he is shunned in the small town he's lived in all his life. This is where the book begins, with the opening pages seeing Ig waking up to horns growing out of his head - horns that provoke people into telling their deepest, darkest secrets and desires.

The book sees Ig struggling to cope with this latest unfortunate development, as he pieces together last night's events and finds out at last who Merrin's true killer was. However while this is the main storyline of the book, Hill also spends time fleshing out events of years before. This involves flashing back to the first time Ig met Merrin, as well as other supporting characters Lee Tourneau, and Glenna Nicholson. At first this seems like an odd decision when the events of the main story are so thrilling - however, the further into the book you get, the more you discover how crucial these flashbacks are. Some make character motivations clearer, others clarify why some characters are the way they are, inducing a "so THAT'S why that happened" effect.
Another great technique Hill uses is repeating scenes more than once, but from the perspective of other characters. This is an inventive way of revealing some of the book's secrets and mysteries, which proves far more effective than if all the answers were laid out in just one version of a scene.


In Horns, Hill demonstrates that he is a master at developing characters, a skill that's carried through to his latest novel NOS4R2 and his comic book series Locke and Key. Hill really makes you feel for the characters in this story, sympathising for most, and loathing the rest. It's because of this great character development that it's somewhat disappointing the book ends a little ambiguously. This is a spoiler-free review so I won't go into any further details, but the ending did leave some questions unanswered. That's not to say it was an awful ending however, just flawed, and it shouldn't put you off giving this book a read.


Monday, 25 August 2014

US Box Office Top 10: 25th August 2014

It's a bad week to be Robert Rodriguez, as the writer-director continues his series of movies performing poorly at the box office. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is the latest in this run debuting at number eight this week, pulling in just $6.5 million despite showings in nearly 3,000 theatres. This will almost definitely kill any hope for a third Sin City movie, and may make studio executives reluctant to hire Rodriguez in the future after previous films Machete Kills and Spy Kids 4 also underperformed. What could have caused this failure? Unlike last week's bomb, The Expendables 3, Sin City can't use piracy as an excuse.

Perhaps it's something to do with the nine year break between movies - maybe people have moved on from Sin City. If not, maybe it's the poor word of mouth. While the first Sin City movie was treated to generally positive reviews, the second instalment has had a much more mixed reaction. Finally, it may be that the R-rating has struck another victim. With comic-book movies being so universally loved these days, it may be that there's no place for adult ones anymore - see Dredd for further proof of that.


On the whole it was a small week at the box office, with people choosing to watch Guardians of the Galaxy again rather than take a chance on a new movie. Because of this, Guardians was able to jump back to the top of the charts after two weeks of letting TMNT hog the limelight. In the process, it has become the most successful film of the year so far in the USA, beating former title-holder Transformers: Age of Extinction.

The highest new entry this week was Chloe Grace Moretz' If I Stay. The young actress needed this film to be a success after her previous movies Carrie, and Kick-Ass 2 failed to find an audience. Fortunately this debut is solid, if not outstanding. The movie entered the charts at number three, making $16 million over the weekend. With a small budget of just $11 million this should be enough for the movie to turn a profit by the end of its run. However, Warner Bros. may be disappointed that they don't have a hit the size of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars on their hands.


The final new entry this week was When the Game Stands Tall which - like Draft Day and Million Dollar Arm before it - proved that people just aren't interested in sports movies this Summer. It made only $9 million over the weekend, settling for the number five spot.

Of last week's new releases it was Let's Be Cops that showed the most staying power, with a small drop of just 38.2% on last week. The film is now up to $45 million in the USA alone, meaning its affordable $17 million budget should be more than made up by now.
The story is not so bright for last week's losers The Giver and The Expendables 3 which fall to number six and number seven respectively, and look unlikely to turn much of a profit for their studios.

Here's the top ten in full:

1. (2) Guardians of the Galaxy - $17.6 million
2. (1) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - $16.8 million
3. (-) If I Stay - $16.3 million
4. (3) Let's Be Cops - $11 million
5. (-) When the Game Stands Tall - $9 million
6. (5) The Giver - $6.7 million
7. (4) The Expendables 3 - $6.6 million
8. (-) Sin City: A Dame to Kill For - $6.4 million
9. (7) The Hundred-Foot Journey - $5.5 million
10. (6) Into the Storm - $3.8 million