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Film Review: The Third Man (1949) (4K Restoration)

The Third Man courtesy of Studiocanal 06

It’s been hailed as one of the best British films of all time and this summer Carol Reed’s 1949 classic The Third Man is back in theatres following a stunning 4K restoration by Studiocanal and Deluxe Restoration.

Starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard and Orson Welles, The Third Man is a story of mystery, betrayal and intrigue set in post-war Vienna. American writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives in Vienna only to find that his host and lifelong friend Harry Lime has died under mysterious circumstances. Increasingly suspicious of inconsistencies in the accounts of Lime’s death, Holly begins to conduct an investigation of his own into the demise of his friend.

In his search for the elusive third man known to have been at the scene of Lime’s accident, Holly befriends Lime’s grief-stricken lover Anna (Alida Valli) and the pair soon find themselves on the radar of the British investigating officer Major Calloway (Trevor Howard). With the stakes ever increasing and danger lurking in every shadow, will Holly get to the bottom of the mystery before he is forced to leave Vienna?

The Third Man courtesy of Studiocanal 04

The Third Man is superb in every way. Nearly 70 years after it first captivated audiences, the film remains as suspenseful and artistic as it did back in the days before colour and CGI. This is a film that was crying out for a restoration and it was some years since the film was seen in cinemas.

The film is shot entirely in black and white and much of the action takes place at night yet the clarity of the production is incredible. The story is told as much through the script and dialogue as it is through the use of shadows, lighting and imposing angles. With the aid of the 4K restoration, it felt almost possible at times to know how it must have felt to walk through the destruction and calamity of post-war Vienna with crumbling buildings and danger at every corner.

The script was penned by novelist and scriptwriter Graham Greene, known also for Brighton Rock and The End of the Affair. The script is triumphant in its mastery of suspense and I had no idea of the twists and turns in the story until the last possible moment. What I enjoyed most about the script was that there were no easy solutions and no happy ending to wrap it all up in the end.

The Third Man courtesy of Studiocanal 12

The Third Man is notable for excellent performances from the whole cast. I really enjoyed Joseph Cotten in his role as the determined and tenacious Holly Martins and Alida Valli and the legendary Orson Welles gave fine performances too. It was Trevor Howard in his role as Major Calloway that most caught my eye and I can see why he captivated the hearts and imaginations of bygone generations of film lovers.

A final mention must go to the distinctive theme tune and film soundtrack performed by then-unknown composer Anton Karas. Carol Reed discovered Karas playing in the wine gardens of Vienna and brought him to London for six weeks to record the soundtrack for the film. It would be super to see a corresponding remastered release of the soundtrack to tie in with the film release.

The 4K restoration of The Third Man is out now in selected theatres and is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Monday 20 July 2015. The home entertainment release is packed full of extra features including “Joseph Cotten’s alternative opening voiceover narration” which I actually preferred to Carol Reed’s narration.

The feature “Restoring The Third Man” was especially interesting too in the discussion of the photo chemical restoration of the film and the number of sources that were collected and scanned at 4K. I also enjoyed “The Third Man – A Filmmaker’s Influence” where Martin Scorsese, Ben Wheatley and others discussed the impact that the film made on them as filmmakers.

Other features include audio interviews with Joseph Cotten and Graham Greene, a brand new 4K trailer and the featurette “Shadowing the Third Man”.

I give The Third Man a superb five out of five stars.

5 Stars

The 4K restoration of The Third Man is available on Blu-ray and DVD from 20 July 2015 courtesy of Studiocanal. You can buy The Third Man from and

The Third Man courtesy of Studiocanal 01

All images © Studiocanal

Book Review: The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

The Stars Never Rise Rachel Vincent

Stop me if you've heard this one before. In a not-so-distant future, the human race is under threat and a massive church-like structure has emerged to control the populace and protect them against the threat.

In Rachel Vincent’s The Stars Never Rise, that threat is a shortage of souls and the emergence of soul-devouring demons, and the church-like structure is The Church.

While I'll give credence to the author for the originality of the souls idea, its manifestation as still births and the subsequent attempts of those in authority to control reproduction sound like something straight out of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

Perhaps at this point I should stop to point out that Rachel Vincent is one of my favourite authors and if this book has come out ten years ago, I would probably have loved it. Not only is it fast-paced and entertaining, set in a dystopian nightmare, but it provides a searing critique of right-wing tendencies and the dangers inherent when church and state are too closely aligned.

The problem is that at this point, it is just another dystopian book and as much as I want to love anything that Rachel Vincent pens, I'm overcome with the glaring similarities to other works.

Take Finn for example, a human soul without a body but one that is able to possess other bodies (in a good way, of course). The body-snatchers idea feels like Stephenie Meyer's The Host which in itself was taken from a whole genre of B movies dating back to the dawn of Hollywood. The bodiless soul idea reminded me a a little too much of Gena Showalter's Intertwined and the idea of walled cities and badlands reminded me both of Lauren Oliver's Delirium and Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden series.

There was also another snag. As much as I love Rachael Vincent, I just couldn't reconcile the notion of finite souls. To me there are both new souls and reincarnation and for some reason I couldn't suspend disbelief enough to consider a finite number of souls (if you can use that term when dealing with the purely esoteric).

The Stars Never Rise Rachel Vincent coverI guess the ultimate measure of young adult book is whether it makes you snort with derision and The Stars Never Rise made me snort. Out loud. It was towards the end and Nina had only just admitted she couldn't make out the colour of a car in the dark when she mentions Finn's bright green eyes. Again. For the 1,000th time. I'm fairly new to this notion of the Young Adult fiction stereotype of green eyes (having green eyes myself and never noticing they were rare or overused) but I can see why readers are becoming so irritated by this particular stereotype.

So how would I rate this book and would I recommend it? I would definitely recommend The Stars Never Rise if you are new to the realm of dystopian fiction or if you're going through that phase where you simply can't get enough of it. You'll love it, it's good and you'll likely finish it in one sitting. But if you're about to pick it up and you're wondering if you have the energy for yet another dystopian young adult adventure? Maybe give it a miss.

With a heavy heart, I give The Stars Never Rise a disappointing 2 out of 5 stars. It feels strange to do so because really, what was I expecting? I doubt I'll read the next in the series and quite frankly, I'd prefer it if Vincent returned to more unusual urban fantasy like we saw in Soul Screamers and the Unbound series.

2 Stars

You can buy The Stars Never Rise at or

Ant-Sized Cinema Tickets Hidden Across the UK

To celebrate the release of Marvel's Ant-Man on Friday 17 July, IMAX and Marvel are hiding 100 ant-sized tickets in cities across the UK. 

IMAX and Marvel are putting the British public’s powers of close observation to the test this week in the name of Marvel’s latest superhero adventure.

From Thursday 16 July, one hundred ant-sized IMAX tickets will be hidden around three UK cities – London, Manchester and Birmingham – to celebrate the IMAX® 3D release of Ant-Man in UK cinemas this Friday.

The tiny tickets, each measuring just 5 x 10mm, can be exchanged for tickets to the most epic cinematic experience of Ant-Man at IMAX cinemas across London, Manchester and Birmingham.  

Clues to the locations of the tickets will be posted on IMAX’s twitter page at beginning today. Those who are successful in their hunt will be encouraged to tweet a selfie with their tiny ticket to @IMAX using the hashtag #IMAXAntMan.

The tickets will be left at various spots around the cities, each accompanied by a magnifying glass to aid the search.

Book Review: Blood & Ink by Stephen Davies

Stephen Davies Blood & Ink review

April 2012. After capturing Kidal and Gao, Islamic militants Defenders of the Faith and Tuareg rebels advance on the historic town of Timbuktu in Mali. As locals scramble to hide their ancient manuscripts, the perimeters of the town are breached and extremists begin their campaign to destroy holy shrines and monuments.

Caught in the middle of this chaos are two teenagers. Ali is a child soldier, plucked from his life as a Fulani herdboy and radicalised into a regime of Islamic extremism. With a Kalashnikov in his hands and religious teachings on his tongue, at 16 years old Ali is willing to die for his cause.

Kadija is the oldest daughter of Guardian Diallo, keeper of the sacred manuscripts of Timbuktu. Curated over thousands of years, these manuscripts record legends dating back to biblical times and one day Kadi will fulfil a lifetime of training and join the Guardians.

When these two teenagers meet in a time of war and destruction, they cannot help but notice each other. Ali is perplexed by Kadi's defiance and strength of spirit and Kadi in turn is intrigued by this pious boy who performs the optional midnight prayers.

Stephen Davies Blood & Ink coverAs the story develops, author Stephen Davies pulls no punches in describing the horror and cruelty of the extremist occupation of Timbuktu. With murders and public lashings, the stakes become ever higher and the time will come when both Ali and Kadi must make a painful choice between loyalty, responsibility and friendship.

Blood & Ink further establishes Stephen Davies as one of the most important young adult authors of our time. This is a remarkable piece of historical fiction which focuses on an area of Africa young people often know little about. As the characters in the book lament, most Westerners haven't even heard of Timbuktu and if they have, they think it is an imaginary place.

With its focus on recent historical events that continue to be relevant today and themes of love, duty, betrayal, morality and religion, the book provides endless topics for dialogue and debate.

Blood & Ink is the fourth book that Stephen Davies has written in the young adult category in addition to several children's books. I reviewed his novel Outlaw in 2011 and gave it a four star review.

I give Blood & Ink by Stephen Davies a superb five out of five stars and and eagerly await Stephen’s next young adult release. I would highly recommend the book to middle graders and adults alike.

5 Stars

Buy Blood & Ink by Stephen Davies from or

Horror Film Review: Can't Come Out to Play (2013)

Cant Come Out to Play banner

Small town America. A teenager moves in with her grandparents following the death of her parents. She befriends a bedridden boy and together they begin to explore the world outside his room. What's the worst that can happen? Well, something is seriously amiss in the boy's home and it soon becomes clear that his mother is doing something to him.

Can't Come Out to Play (formerly known as The Harvest) is a chilling psychological thriller starring Natasha Calis (The Possession) as Maryann, Charlie Tahan as Andy and Samantha Morton and Michael Shannon as Andy's parents Katherine and Richard Young. The film is directed by John McNaughton and features acclaimed actor Peter Fonda (Easy Rider) as Maryann's grandfather.

Natasha Calis in Can't Come Out to Play

The tension takes place mostly in Andy's house where Maryann and Andy must steal precious moments together to play ball and be normal teenagers while avoiding the critical eye of Katherine who most definitely doesn't want Andy to have any visitors.

As their friendship begins to evolve, Maryann tries to come to terms with why Andy's mother doesn't like her and doesn't want her there. Still reeling from the loss of her parents, she takes it personally until one day when she is trapped in the house and she discovers the Young's terrible secret.

Can't Come Out to Play is an enjoyable film. Perhaps not as scary as one might expect from the film poster but thrilling nonetheless. Natasha Calis gives a strong performance as Maryann and is certainly a young actor to look out for in the future. In her role as Katherine Young, Samantha Morton provides a disturbing insight into the lengths a mother will go to protect her child. Samantha Morton in Can't Come Out to Play

There was something slightly off about the direction in the film though. As an Oscar nominee, Morton is capable of far more than this script provided and rather than letting the tension play out naturally, certain scenes were definitely over-acted.

Michael Shannon did well to deliver his part as the brooding and conflicted Richard but even he could not mask the clumsy delivery of the reveal and resolution. Nevertheless, I definitely did not expect the twist towards the end of the film and had not guessed the true picture at all.

Charlie Tahan and Michael Shannon in Cant Come Out to Play

Can't Come Out to Play would certainly have benefitted from a more subtle delivery and could have been quite a chilling commentary on the depravity of two parents and the depths to which they descend to dehumanise a child in order to achieve their goals.

Check out the trailer below:

I give Can't Come Out to Play an okay three out of five stars and recommend it for Monday night viewing.

3 Stars

Can't Come Out to Play is out on DVD and digital platforms from 22 June 2015, courtesy of Signature Entertainment. You can buy the DVD from or

Blu-ray Review: The Loft (2015)

The Loft

Five married friends and a loft apartment used exclusively for extra-marital affairs - what can possibly go wrong? They think they've been very clever but misogyny comes home to roost in Erik Van Looy's latest thriller The Loft.

Based on Van Looy's own Belgian thriller Loft, the film is set against the backdrop of a gorgeous penthouse apartment and the lives of the rich and very privileged. It features an all-star cast including Karl Urban (Star Trek), James Marsden (X-Men), Wentworth Miller (Prison Break), Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) and Matthias Schoenaerts who starred in the originally Belgian version.

Karl Urban, Eric Stonestreet and Wentworth Miller in The Loft

When real estate agent Luke Seacord (Wentworth Miller) lets himself into the loft apartment he shares with four of his friends, he discovers a most grisly scene. On the bed in the middle of the posh apartment is the body of a woman, murdered and covered in blood. He wastes no time in calling his friends. There are only five keys to the apartment and it becomes increasingly clear that someone has set them up.

Told through a series of flashbacks and police interviews, a tale emerges of a morally bankrupt group of friends who will stop at nothing to feed their desires and take advantage of women. But who cared enough to frame them and how did they choose the victim?

James Marsden in The Loft

I thoroughly enjoyed The Loft and it wasn’t only because I am particularly fond of Wentworth Miller, James Marsden and Karl Urban. The film is visually beautiful with views of the apartment and surrounding city interspersed with high society parties and events. Erik Van Looy does a great job of weaving the tale together and I was certainly not prepared for the twist at the end.

As ringleader of the misogynistic little gang, Karl Urban was pretty convincing as the nasty womaniser Vincent Stevens but it was James Marsden who stole the show as the conflicted rogue-with-a-conscience Chris Vanowen who goes and falls in love with a professional.

In addition to the male leads, The Loft featured some of my favourite female actresses including Elaine Cassidy (Ghost Squad), Rhona Mitra (Strike Back) and Valerie Cruz (Dexter). It was an impressive cast but I would have liked to see more of these actresses – perhaps we can hope for The Loft 2?

I give The Loft an excellent four out of five stars and with the all-star cast would recommend to fans of just about every film and TV series in the last decade. .

4 Stars

The Loft is out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms from 15 June 2015, courtesy of Signature Entertainment. You can buy the DVD from or



Blu-ray Review: Kidnapping Freddy Heineken (2014)

Jim Sturgess is Cor van Hout in Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

It was the perfect crime and they very nearly got away with it. On 9 November 1983, billionaire Freddy Heineken and his driver Ab Doderer were kidnapped from outside Heineken's office. By all appearances the kidnappers were experienced professionals with no limit to their resources. So what went wrong and how did the story come to light?

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken is the true story of those fateful three weeks when Heineken played a dangerous game of chess with his captors and basically ordered the payment of his own ransom money. Sir Anthony Hopkins stars as Freddy Heineken, billionaire owner of the brewing empire and Jim Sturgess stars as Cor van Hout, the brains behind the kidnapping. Sam Worthington stars as Willem Holleeder, Cor's ruthless and unstable best friend and True Blood's Ryan Kwanten finishes off the all-star cast in his role as Jan Boellard.

Sir Anthony Hopkins is Freddy Heineken

Based on the novel by Peter R. de Vries, Kidnapping Freddy Heineken was directed by Daniel Alfredson who also directed The Girl Who Played With Fire. The film is set in 1983 and features retro cars, authentic fashions and dodgy hairstyles of the time. Seeing those bomber jackets and highlights in all their glory made me realise that I might not actually be over the onslaught of early 80s fashion from the first time round and I'm not sure I'm ready for a revival. Despite my horror, the filmmakers did a great job of creating the look and feel of the time.

Case in point:

Unforgiveable 80s fashion in Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

The film itself is understated and its strength lies in the dialogue between the characters. Anthony Hopkins excels in his role as Freddy Heineken, a man determined to press his captors for information despite the predicament in which he is placed. The kidnappers go back and forth in their plans, a strong unit at first and then slowly starting to unravel as days go by with no word from Heineken's people.

Sam Worthington is Willem Holleerder in Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

Sam Worthington is utterly convincing  in his role as Willem Holleeder, a man bereft of a moral compass and willing to do whatever it takes to secure his goal. It was great to see Ryan Kwanten in an entirely different role from his turn as Jason Stackhouse. I’d definitely like to see more of him on the big screen in future. Jim Sturgess was the undoubted star of the film, giving a solid performance as ringleader Cor van Hout.

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken is not the deepest movie I've ever seen but then it was always going to be constrained by factual events and I would rather the filmmakers stick to the facts rather than indulging in unnecessary historical embellishments (I'm looking at you The Imitation Game). It is a rather dark and grim look at the cost of greed and the ease of betrayal in a classic illustration of the lack of honour among thieves.

Jim Sturgess and Sam Worthington in Kidnapping Freddy Heineken


I quite enjoyed Kidnapping Freddy Heineken and give it an okay three out of five stars.

3 Stars

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken is available on Steelbook Blu-ray and DVD from 8 June 2015 courtesy of Signature Entertainment. The Blu-ray and DVD are available from and are also available in the States from where the film was released as Kidnapping Mr Heineken.

Audiobook Review: Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals by Jesse Armstrong

Love sex and other foreign policy goals

I choose this audio book as I am currently working overseas and I’ve been enjoying reading about other people’s culture clashes. This book is written by Jesse Armstrong (of Peep Show fame) and his voice comes through - a wry self depreciating sense of humour. The voice of the story sets in immediately as the main protagonist (Andrew) is at a party with his upper class girl friend's family ‘so posh they never use the word posh’ where he discovers that to question the distribution of wealth is to be chippy. The relationship between the protagonist and the girl (Penny) is central to the book.

Love Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals - Jesse ArmstrongAt the start I found this frustrating, it felt like a marginally humorous love story; something that would work as a sketch or short story but was going to be tiring as a novel. Andrew is 19, has not gone to University and does not know what he is doing with his life… searching around for purpose he finds Penny. They decide (with a mismatched bunch of friends and daddy’s credit card) to take a van to Bosnia during the Balkan conflict and deliver a message of peace.  In some ways this seems like its going to be a classic 1970s road story, a bunch of idealistic teenagers travelling across Europe, finding themselves, having sex and taking drugs. The humour comes in part from a failure to find themselves or much in the way of sex.  Even when they meet the intended recipients of the ‘message of peace’ the group of travellers remain focused on themselves.

As they set off across Europe there is a ‘big’ story. The conflict, the idealism of youth, the warmth of communities towards entertaining strangers. Andrew, however, isn’t focused on these big stories but on his little story, his burgeoning but unrequited love, jealousy and his thoughts and feelings. It was written with humour and the bigger stories unfolded despite Andrew’s lack of focus.

This is a good light book and Chris Addison narrates it well, seemingly the perfect voice for Andrew.

An almost impossible book to review, I give Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals an okay three out of five stars.

3 Stars

You can buy Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals by Jesse Armstrong on Audible.

About the Author

JadeJade is an international spy currently masquerading as an accountancy lecturer in Bangladesh. She loves books, food and indie pop.

New Music Friday: The Legal Immigrants - Fork in the Road

There's something I've never done before; I've never compared a band favourably to The Doors. In my mind, The Doors were just too unique, too singular to bear comparison of any kind. Yet less than 30 seconds into The Legal Immigrants track "Fork in the Road" I find myself doing exactly that. The track is huge, an attention grabber from the very first chords and suddenly I am listening.

"Fork in the Road" is the first single from the band's debut album Drugs to Roses which is due out on July 3, 2015. I had an exclusive listen of the full album and I predict a bright future for The Legal Immigrants.

The Legal Immigrants - photo Anthony Norkus


Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, The Legal Immigrants are singer/guitarist Joe Bockheim, drummer Tony Lubenow, lead guitarist Trevor Reidsma and bassist Kevin Kitsch. The band formed the day after Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, a fact which isn’t entirely relevant to their sound. Citing Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath and The White Stripes as their inspiration, The Legal Immigrants stand at the liminal space between the blissed out sounds of late 60s and 70s rock and the edgier, reverb-driven sounds of modern indie rock. Definitely give the single a listen and watch this space for more news on The Legal Immigrants.



You can download direct from the Soundcloud widget above or using this link: "Fork in the Road" (mp3*)


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Photo credit: Anthony Norkus

* This is a legal download provided by the artist to post and share. If there is any question of an infringement of copyright, please contact me at TheMediaAddict at gmail dot com and I will remove links immediately.

Music Review: This Way To The Egress - Great Balancing Act

This Way To The Egress 

I have a challenge for you but it's going to take a little bit of playing along, so bear with me. Go out, have a pretty crap day and come home feeling tired, frustrated and grumpy. Are you there? Now put on Great Balancing Act, the latest album by gypsy jazz troupe This Way To The Egress.  I predict you'll be bouncing along to the opening track "Let's Not Pretend" and singing along by "Tarantella". There, don't you feel better now?

Hailing from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania  This Way To The Egress are "Tyrant" Taylor Galassi on accordion and vocals; "Saddle" Sarah Shown on piano, fiddle and vocals; "Krispy" Zach Martin on drums and glockenspiel; John "Toobie Doo" Wentz on tuba and vocals; Jaclyn “The Kidd” on electric guitar and six-string banjo; Joe "Bone" Lynch on trombone and backing vocals; and “Easy” Chet Sullivan on trumpet and backing vocals.

The band list Primus, Tom Waits, The Flaming Lips, Gogol Bordello, Madonna, Django Reinhardt, Queen, and Die Antwoord as their influences. Any band that lists South Africa’s most prominent lunatics amongst their influences is okay in my book.  If I had to define it, I’d say that This Way To The Egress sound like a burst of carnivalesque mayhem in an otherwise drab world whereas their debut single “We Won’t Go” was described as an "exuberant drinking song that sounds like a room full of inebriated Russian Gypsies".

This Way To The Egress - Great Balancing Act album coverGreat Balancing Act is the third album from This Way To The Egress and is out on 19 May 2015. The band is fully independent and crowdfunded the album through a successful Kickstarter campaign.  Recorded in 2014, the album was produced by Brooklyn-based producer Roger Greenawalt and all album art was done by the band's own Saddle Sarah.

Great Balancing Act opens with “Let’s Not Pretend”, a foot-stomping, accordion-swinging tale of irreconcilable differences that features a fantastic mid-track polka. The tempo drops a notch with “So It Goes” where Saddle Sarah channels her inner PJ Harvey and promises that “I would sell our souls to the city that had the most. We could meet downtown and I will watch you drown more than your memories into your sauce”.

Picking up the tempo again with “Earworm” and the dramatic vaudevillian “What Do Ya Want”, the album tumbles into my favourite track, “Tarantella”. Like I said in the introduction, if you’re not singing along by this track then I’ve somehow failed in my mission.

Throughout the following tracks “You Never Know” and “This Side of Jordan”, it occurs to me that This Way To The Egress is perfect for the Gogol Bordello fan who has been seeking a little more cynicism in their gypsy jazz tunes. This is only confirmed with “Devil’s Breath”, a tale of stolen souls and card-playing devils where “children stomp and play on your remains, your head is on a pike within their games”.

After “Rogue Trip”, Saddle Sarah takes up lead vocals again in the mournful yet brilliant “Not Around”. Next up is the mutinous first single “We Won’t Go” and I’m definitely getting the inebriated gypsies analogy.

Great Balancing Act polishes off 49 minutes of chaos with "Lucy, a story about your mother", a track that has all the dramatics and moralising of a musical finale on Broadway. It’s a pretty fitting end to the album.

For sheer originality, upliftment and cynicism, I give Great Balancing Act an excellent four out of five stars and would recommend to fans of gypsy jazz and indie folk.

4 Stars

The album is available to purchase at Bandcamp, and

Keep up with This Way To The Egress on Facebook | Twitter | Website | Soundcloud.

An advance, electronic copy of this album was provided to me for the purposes of this review and all opinions contain herein are my own. This review contains affiliate links.

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