Download, listen or buy on DVD / Blu-ray: Army of The Dead, Initiation, Solos, The Me You Can’t See and more …
FILM OF THE WEEK
ARMY OF THE DEAD (Cert 18, 148 mins, Horror / Action / Adventure, streaming from May 21 exclusively on Netflix)
Starring: Dave Bautista, Ana de la Reguera, Omari Hardwick, Hiroyuki Sanada, Richard Cetrone, Athena Perample.
A ZOMBIE apocalypse decimates Las Vegas in the Nevada desert, and the army contains the undead slaves in a steel ring.
Scott Ward (Dave Baustisa), former leader of the mercenary group Las Vengeance, is approached by billionaire Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) to put together a team capable of stealing $ 200 million from a casino safe before a strike nuclear tactical sanctioned by the US government does not reduce gambling capital to rubble.
Flanked by his trusty second-in-command Maria (Ana de la Reguera) and Lt. Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick), wielding a chainsaw, Scott leads the foray into zombie territory. He is unaware that a super powerful and extremely intelligent zombie king called Zeus (Richard Cetrone) commands the horde with his queen (Athena Perample).
One word sums up director Zack Snyder’s approach to cinema: exaggeration.
This is the perfect description of his return to Zombieland after the Dawn Of The Dead remake in 2004.
This over-the-top heist caper puts Ocean’s 11 in a blender with The Walking Dead and eases the bloody confusion in a slick slow-motion. The on-screen body count hits triple digits in a blitzkrieg of bullets and pyrotechnics even before the casino safe is cracked.
A large cast of the set is losing chunks of flesh due to hungry mouths at regular intervals and a snarling zombie tiger, who once belonged to the magician duo Siegfried & Roy, sinks his digital teeth into a wicked boo-whistle with a taste of mustaches.
Gore and glitter overwhelm the emotional substance, a final reel reconciliation seems manipulative, but whooping cough-inducing pleasure is, predictably, in the outrageously ambitious action sets.
INITIATION (Cert 18, 97 min, Signature Entertainment, Horror / Thriller, available from May 24 on Amazon Prime Video / BT TV Store / iTunes / Sky Store / TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services)
Starring: Bart Johnson, Yancy Butler, Lochlyn Munro, Jon Huertas, Froy Gutierrez.
CRUEL social media play gets out of hand in this story of sex, drugs and cyberbullying. We’re in similar territory to Scream and the recent Black Christmas remake.
Since this is a millennial thriller, there are naturally plenty of scenes where instant messages appear on screen alongside the cast. To make things more entertaining, the messages are presented in perspective.
Following the murder of a star athlete over an assault allegation, a masked killer targets students on the Whiton University campus. The integral piece of the puzzle is an exclamation mark.
A group of sorority sisters attempt to uncover the truth behind the school’s hidden secrets.
They race against time to expose the killer in a shining mask before they also become victims.
While the shadow of the Scream franchise hangs over Initiation, it sadly lacks the spirit of those Wes Craven classics. On-screen phone messages, as clever as they are, force us to spend more time reading them than paying close attention to more important matters.
The murders, some with power tools, are pretty graphic, so it’s not for the faint of heart.
Writer-director John Berardo reveals the strange burst of brilliance of the third act. However, it needs more of the action, suspense, and humor from the recent Happy Death Day movies to make it really work.
BOX SERIES / SETS
SOLOS (7 episodes, streaming from May 21 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, Sci-Fi / Drama / Romance)
The anthology series FANTASY has drawn millions of viewers in recent years with Black Mirror and a revamp of The Twilight Zone proving the genre is more popular than ever.
Amazon Prime Video’s new series, Solos, is set to give them their money’s worth, backed by a star cast including Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren, Anthony Mackie and Dan Stevens.
This seven-part sci-fi series sees each character embark on an adventure into an uncertain future. Each episode examines what it means to be human, claiming that we are connected to others through shared experiences, even in our most isolated moments.
Solos is the brainchild of David Weil, who also created the Amazon Al Pacino Hunters TV series. Weil writes and directs several episodes.
Executive producer Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades Of Gray) and Zach Braff (Scrubs) are among the other directors.
THE ME YOU CAN’T SEE (5 episodes, streaming from May 21 exclusively on Apple TV +, documentary)
AFTER working on one of the most talked about interviews of the year, Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry banded together for this multi-part documentary series on mental health.
As two of the most prominent people in the world, the cat veteran and the Duke of Sussex have attracted various big names.
Contributors include singer and actress Lady Gaga and Golden Globe-winning thespian Glenn Close, remembered forever as one of the most volatile characters on the big screen in 1987, Fatal Attraction.
Among the creative team is Asif Kapadia, one of the brains behind Amy. With the help of experts and organizations around the world, this series attempts to de-stigmatize the often overlooked topic of mental health.
TRIAL (8 episodes, streaming from May 21 exclusively on Apple TV +, Comedy / Romance)
SERIES one from comedy writer Andy Wolton clearly struck a chord with the masses when it debuted a year ago. The essay focuses on Jason and Nikki, who were desperate for the one thing they couldn’t have: a baby.
Rafe Spall and Esther Smith are back for the second round, along with Imelda Staunton and Phil Davis. The second series promises plenty of comedic hurdles as the couple navigate the adoption process.
After an infidelity bombshell in the first series, Oliver Chris and Ophelia Lovibond return as friends of the main protagonists, Freddy and Erica.
In those eight installments, Nikki and Jason were approved by the adoption panel, but find that matching a child is a lot trickier than they imagined.
RAGNAROK – SEASON 2 (8 episodes, streaming from May 27 exclusively on Netflix, Drama / Fantasy / Romance)
The Norwegian-language coming of age drama created by Adam Price returns to Netflix this week, delving deeper into Norse mythology to spark a series of cataclysmic events called Ragnarok on the fictional town of Edda.
In the first series that aired in 2020, high school student Magne (David Stakston) discovered his connection to the god of thunder Thor after an epic battle with Vidar (Gisli Orn Gardarsson), father of the powerful Jutul family.
In these eight episodes, the ramifications of this cataclysmic confrontation will be felt in the distance as Magne seeks heroic allies to fight with him, shoulder to shoulder.
Meanwhile, Vidar’s son Fjor (Herman Tommeraas) and the rest of the Jutul clan mourn their loss.