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New Music Friday: Eli August and the Abandoned Buildings

Eli August

I’ve come to a startling realisation. I think I love bands with crazy ensemble names. I was obsessed with James Arlowe & The Ruffian Circus, mad about Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys and who could forget Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds?

Well, you’ll be eternally thrilled, I’m sure, to know that I’ve discovered another one and they are bloody brilliant. Not only that, they’re giving away a free track.

About

“Eli August & The Abandoned Buildings are a Baltimore, MD and NYC based Chamber Folk ensemble that plays dark and melodic heartfelt tunes”.

Well, that’s what we are told but ‘ensemble’ doesn’t quite cover it and I far prefer the Green Light Go description which likens the band to an ‘arsenal of artists’. Together with Eli August hey are Robare Pruyn (Clarinet, Alto Sax, Accordion, Electric Guitar & Vocals), Matt DeBlass (Mandolin & Vocals), Molly Hebert-Wilson (Vocals), Noam Berg (Mandolin & Vocals), Alex Bell (Drums & Washboard), Melissa Perry (Vocals), Rebekah Greene (Double Bass), Tom Sowinski (Tuba & Vocals), Doug Bischoff (Trombone & Vocals), Terry Greene (Trombone), and Brennan Kuhns (Electric Guitar).

Eli August and the Abandoned Buildings

Believe it or not – they actually fit on a stage together!

Eli August & the Abandoned Buildings craft a stunning melody of Dark Americana, Chamber Rock and Gothic Folk.  Eli August is certainly prolific and released several albums and EPs before releasing To The Weak and The Weary with the Abandoned Buildings in early 2013.

The EP

A Heartache Suit  EP will be released on 2 September 2014. True to its name, this five track EP is dedicated to heartache and it is dark. In fact, it is only when you really listen to the lyrics that you realise just how dark it is. 

The EP begins with the instrumental “Overture” featuring a refrain that will be reprised in the closing track “Wrought”. “Although You’re Gone” takes us off to a foot-stomping, angry start which is followed by the deceptively upbeat tracks “Holy Ghost” and “Slow Start”. I’d say August has captured that faux-cheery sarcasm of post-relationship hell pretty well.

As brilliant as the EP is, I was quite grateful for its short length once I reached the end of the devastating and breathtaking finale “Wrought”. I’m not quite sure my emotions could have withstood a further onslaught and if ever I am unlucky enough to suffer another broken heart, this is going to be my theme tune. (Note to universe: if it’s okay, I’ll just listen to the track over and over again without the need for a messy divorce, okay?)

Listen

Watch

There aren't any videos yet from the new album, but this is "Where No One Knows" from their previous album To The Weak And The Weary.

Download

One of the best songs on the EP is “Although You’re Gone” which you can listen to above.  To celebrate the release of the EP on 2 September 2014, the band are offering a free download of this fantastic track: “Although You're Gone” (mp3*)

Buy

The album will be available to purchase on the Eli August & the Abandoned Buildings website from 2 September 2014. I would absolutely recommend buying the EP if for “Wrought” alone.

Eli August the Abandoned Buildings

Links

EliAugust.com - YouTubeFacebookSoundcloud - Bandcamp

Twitter: @eliaugust - @abandonedbldngs

 

Image credits: Sebastian Stewart / Nihile Photography

An Aussie to Remember: Sam Worthington

Sam Worthington - Terminator Salvation

Born in England, Sam Worthington grew up in Australia where he started his acting career when he was 24. Only five years later his talent was noticed by the producers of war movie The Great Raid and, since then, Worthington has gone on to become one of the most promising action stars in Hollywood.

With more than ten films currently in production, this Aussie is looking at a bright future on the big screen. His latest endeavour is director David Ayer’s action thriller Sabotage, in which he partners with none other than one of the biggest action heroes of our time, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

An intense story of a group of special task force agents hunted by a mysterious assassin, Sabotage is set to be released on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms on 15th September 2014 by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

To celebrate the release, we are taking a look at Sam Worthington’s career development, picking out his 10 best films to date:

The Great Raid (2005)

Sam Worthington The great Raid

Directed by John Dahl, The Great Raid tells the true story of the raid at Cabanatuan in the Philippines during World War II, attempting to release 500 American soldiers who had been entrapped for three years. Sam Worthington joins a densely populated cast of handsome Hollywood stars, including Benjamin Bratt (Miss Congeniality), James Franco (127 Hours) and Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare In Love). The film did not enjoy massive box office success but it received praise from revered critic Roger Ebert for being one of the few movies to depict the hardship and cost of war realistically and not just for entertainment purposes.

The Debt (2010)

Sam Worthington - The Debt

Another war-related film, The Debt is an edge-of-your-seat thriller about three Mossad agents sneaking into East Berlin in 1965 to capture a notorious Nazi criminal only to find out, 30 years later, that their successful mission may not have been so triumphant after all. The film jumps back and forth in time slowly revealing the shocking truth behind the unfolding events. Sam Worthington plays the younger agent David Peretz and is just one of the highlights in a brilliant cast consisting of Helen Mirren (The Queen), Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins) and Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), among others.

Last Night (2010)

Keira Knightley Sam Worthington Last Night

In this romantic drama written and directed by Iranian filmmaker Massy Tadjedin, Sam Worthington and Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean) play husband and wife who both flirt with the idea of being unfaithful to their spouse. The movie explores the issue of monogamy ultimately asking the question whether marriage is a sustainable long-term situation or merely an outdated mode of protection from the pain that comes with being alone. To help answer this question, the main cast is joined by Eva Mendes (Hitch) as Worthington’s seductress and Guillaume Canet (Love Me If You Dare) as Knightley’s ex-boyfriend.

Somersault (2004)

Abbie Cornish and Sam Worthington Somersault

An independent film, Somesault received rave reviews from critics worldwide and won every single feature film award at the 2004 Australian Film Institute Awards, including Best Actor for Sam Worthington. Written and directed by Cate Shortland, the coming-of-age drama follows 15-year-old Heidi (played by Abbie Cornish) who runs away from home and meets Joe (Worthington) who has a hard time expressing his feelings for her casting doubts over the nature of his sexual orientation. Worthington received global acclaim for his role, demonstrating that he is not just another pretty face in the world of cinema.

Man on a Ledge (2012)

Sam Worthington - Man on a Ledge

Sam Worthington takes centre stage in this action thriller playing Nick Cassidy – a former policeman turned conman threatening to jump to his death from his hotel room’s window. However, viewers soon realize that things are not as clear-cut as they appear to be, as it turns out that, while he is keeping the police, the fire brigade and the SWAT team occupied, the biggest diamond heist in history is being carried out. Joining Worthington in the Asger Leth-directed film are Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games), Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) and Ed Harris (The Truman Show).

Dirty Deeds (2002)

Sam Worthington - Dirty Deeds

Dirty Deeds is an Australian comedy starring Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense) and John Goodman (Coyote Ugly). Set in the 1960s, it follows an Australian mobster whose seemingly unwavering gambling empire begins to crack under pressure from the American mafia. Surrounded by incompetent allies, a grumpy wife, a dirty cop and a needy mistress, the underworld boss goes through a hilarious string of events trying to maintain his business. As one of Sam Worthington’s earlier films, Dirty Deeds helped establish him on the Australian movie scene which was shortly followed by a call from Hollywood.

Terminator Salvation (2009)

Terminator Salvation

Director McG’s 2009 sci-fi hit Terminator Salvation gave Sam Worthington his first leading role in a major Hollywood blockbuster. The Aussie actor shared the spot with none other than Christian Bale (The Dark Knight). By stepping into the shoes of criminal Marcus Wright who comes back in time as a humanoid, Worthington filled the spot made famous across the globe by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the previous three films from the Terminator saga. Even though the film did not enjoy rave reviews by critics, Worthington’s performance was highlighted by many as the best part of the ride.

Clash of the Titans (2010)

Sam Worthington - Clash of the Titans

Sam Worthington’s next big role came with Louis Leterrier’s box-office hit Clash of the Titans. Set in the world of Greek mythology, the film revolves around Worthington’s character Perseus who accepts a plea from King Cepheus to help him defeat an attack unleashed by the vengeful god of the underworld, Hades. The film may have been blasted by the critics but it certainly demonstrated Worthington’s box-office power as it grossed almost $500 million worldwide.

Avatar (2009)

Sam Worthington - Avatar

Perhaps Sam Worthington’s most famous role to date is that of paraplegic marine Jake Sully in James Cameron’s big-budget sci-fi production Avatar. Highly publicized throughout the world, the movie went on to bring almost $3 billion at the box-office. As a result, Worthington became a house-hold name and attractive bait for all major studios in Hollywood. Following the massive success, plans for three more sequels are already in motion with Worthington signed up for all three of them.

Sabotage (2014)

Sam Worthington - Sabotage

Sam Worthington’s latest film Sabotage puts him face to face with his Terminator predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Australian actor portrays James ‘Monster’ Murray, one of the DEA agents on Schwarzenegger’s team that are hunted by a ruthless assassin after robbing a drug cartel safe house.

Sharing the screen with an ensemble of tough guys, including Josh Holloway (Lost), Joe Manganiello (True Blood) and Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow), Worthington skilfully demonstrates exactly why he is sought after action film producers – his talent mixed with his bad boy charisma make him a perfect addition to the thrilling experience that is Sabotage.

Make sure to see that for yourself as Sabotage comes out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms on 15th September 2014 by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

James Gunn and the Guardians of the Galaxy Discuss Awesome Mix Vol. 1

Guardians of the Galaxy awezsome mix one

It’s no secret that I liked Marvel’s latest blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy – I’m off out tonight for my second viewing. Apart from the awesome Groot and brilliant 3D effects, the music was the best part of the film. If you haven’t listened to the soundtrack yet, you should rush out right now and buy it. Dare I say it is the feel good album of the year?

Apparently I’m not the only one that thinks so and the soundtrack is topping the Billboard charts in the US and riding high on the iTunes UK charts. Watch this brand new clip of director James Gunn and the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy discussing the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 soundtrack.

Isn't Karen Gillan as cute as a button? And, um, like isn't it great that Zoe Saldana is usually working off a script and doesn't have to improvise her own lines?

Awesome Mix Vol. 1 Tracklisting:

1. “Hooked on a Feeling” Performed by Blue Swede
2. “Go All the Way” Performed by Raspberries
3. “Spirit in the Sky”* Performed by Norman Greenbaum
4. “Moonage Daydream” Performed by David Bowie
5. “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” Performed by Elvin Bishop
6. “I’m Not in Love” Performed by 10cc
7. “I Want You Back” Performed by Jackson 5
8. “Come and Get Your Love” Performed by Redbone
9. “Cherry Bomb” Performed by The Runaways
10. “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” Performed by Rupert Holmes
11. “O-O-H Child” Performed by The Five Stairsteps
12. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” Performed by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
*Not in film

You can buy the soundtrack at Amazon.com ¦ Amazon.co.uk ¦ iTunes

Be Afraid: The Best of British Horror

The Descent

Luke Hyam’s British horror X Moor premieres at this year’s Frightfest on the 25th August, showcasing the director’s talent for updating a classic horror legend into the modern day. To celebrate its release we’re counting down the top ten British horror films...

X Moor (2014)

Xmoor PosterBased on the legend of the vicious Beast of Exmoor, his chilling new film is set to debut in August. The story follows American tourists Georgia and Matt as they search for the truth behind the missing girls in the Exmoor area. They are joined by big-game hunter Fox, who believes that the beast has tasted human flesh and must be killed. The team sets out into the woods with cameras, but they soon find themselves victims in a terrifying chase with the ‘beast’ they set out to hunt.

 

Witchfinder General (1968)

Witchfinder-General-1968A tribute to British history, Witchfinder General takes place during the English civil war in 1645. Matthew Hopkins is using the war’s chaos for monetary gains by charging magistrates for his work as a witchhunter. He viciously tortures innocent locals and forces them to confess to witchcraft, and then he executes them. A young soldier attempts to stop this vicious man, but he may lose his life or sanity in the process.

 

The Wicker Man (1973)

The Wicker Man 1973When police sergeant Howie is sent to a Scottish island village to search for a missing girl, he immediately is stunned by the behaviour of the townsfolk. The locals worship pagan gods, participate in witchcraft, and deny the very existence of the girl he is searching for. He soon begins to fear for the girl’s fate, as well as his own, when he discovers that a fundamental part of the village’s upcoming festival is a human sacrifice.

 


The Omen (1976)

The Omen 1976 posterAfter his son dies in childbirth, American diplomat Robert Thorn decides to adopt Damien, whose mother died on the same night. As the boy begins to grow older, the family’s lives become constantly plagued with mysterious deaths and other strange phenomena. These events all seem to be connected to Damien, which makes Robert question whether or not the boy is even human. The family soon begins to fear for their lives as evidence begins to develop that they are living in the presence of the Antichrist.

 

The Descent (2005)

The Descent posterA group of six female friends embark on their yearly adventure vacation together in an isolated area of the Appalachian Mountains. While exploring a hidden cave, disaster strikes and they find themselves trapped with no way out. As the panic starts to settle in, the group soon discovers that they are not alone. The women must resort to primitive tactics to survive as they find themselves prey to a vicious breed of ravenous creatures.

 


Creep (2004)

Creep_movie_posterYoung German model Kate falls asleep while waiting for a train on the London underground. Upon awakening, she discovers that the station has closed for the night and she is trapped inside. Her desperation to find a way out soon becomes a matter of life and death when she realizes that she is being stalked by a deformed cannibal living in the sewers below.


Cillian Murphy 28 Days Later

28 Days Later (2002)

28 days later posterJim awakes from a coma in an abandoned hospital to find London in a state of disaster. Through fellow survivors Selina and Mark, he finds out that an infection began to spread 28 days before he awoke. The infection is transmitted through blood and causes a murderous rage to engulf its victims almost immediately. The disease has consumed Britain and possibly the world. In desperation, the survivors set out to find a group of soldiers who claim to have the answer to the illness, but the group may not survive the journey.


The Woman In Black (2012)

The Woman in Black poster Daniel RadcliffeWhen widowed lawyer Arthur Kipps is sent to arrange for the sale of the Eel Marsh house and organize the papers of the deceased owner, he soon discovers that the remote village has long been living in fear. It soon becomes apparent that the house he was sent to sell, along with its ghostly inhabitants, is connected to the unusually high amount of deaths among the village children. While attempting to uncover the mystery surrounding these deaths, Kipps soon finds himself at the mercy of the infamous ghost at fault for the deaths, ‘The Woman in Black’.


Kill List (2011)

Kill List postNearly a year after a disastrous experience left him psychologically damaged, hitman Jay accepts a new mission. The assignment carries the promise of a large payoff for three killings, but Jay is soon overwhelmed by the task before him. As his world slowly begins to collapse, Jay’s terror and paranoia send him plunging into the heart of darkness.


Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

Berberian Sound Studio posterGilderoy, a British foley artist, arrives at the Berberian film studio in Italy to work on a horror film. He uses vegetables to create the sound effects for the film’s gruesome torture scenes and mixes in voiceovers from session artists. The scenes become increasingly more monstrous as his work on the film progresses. As his work intensifies, Gilderoy begins to lose sight of reality and the lines between the horror film and his life begin to erode.


X Moor will premiere at Film4 FrightFest on August 25th 2014 – see www.frightfest.co.uk for more information.

Film Review: Pioneer (2013)

Pioneer banner

In the 1970s a massive reserve of gas and oil was discovered in the North Sea off the coast of Norway. Norwegian officials soon realised that if they could pipe this supply to the mainland, it would make Norway one of the richest countries on earth. The challenge was that this would entail diving deeper than they had ever dived before and to achieve this, they had to cooperate with American commercial offshore companies who had the necessary expertise and knowledge to get the job done.

Pioneer still featuring Wes Bentley

This was pioneer work featuring largely experimental procedures and the Norwegian government effectively treated the divers as guinea pigs in their attempts to ready them to descend to the bottom of the North Sea.

With much of the action taking place in compression chambers and underwater, Pioneer is a claustrophobic film that takes place in the early days of the Norwegian oil boom. The film begins with commercial offshore diver Petter (Aksel Hennie) and his brother Knut preparing to dive to depths of over 500 metres.

Wes Bentley in Pioneer

When a tragic accident takes place during the test dive, Petter is desperate to understand the cause behind it. Yet the more he investigates, the more Petter’s life is in danger as he discovers a massive cover-up.

Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg (Insomnia) with a screenplay by Nicolaj Frobenius, Pioneer is a dark conspiracy thriller that will keep the audience guessing right until the end. Aksel Hennie is fantastic in his role as Petter and is supported by a Norwegian and American cast including Wes Bentley (American Beauty), Jonathan LaPaglia and Ane Dahl Torp.

Throughout the film, Skjoldbjærg applies his artistic brush stroke and uses the lighting, set design and underwater scenes to convey a sense of impending danger, unease and conspiracy. French electronic duo Air provide the score and the eerie, minimalist music adds to the mood and atmosphere of the film. Both the lighting and music play a pivotal role in the final scene of the film, portraying the ending without the need for dialogue.Pioneer Aksel Hennie and Wes Bentley

 

Pioneer reminded me on so many levels of the 2011 film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, it has a similar mood and pace. I loved the authentic props and fashions in the film and Ane Dahl Torp especially rocked those round, oversized spectacles.

Pioneer is a bleak film and will appeal to more discerning viewers. It is a reminder of why Scandinavian filmmakers are proving so popular among English speaking audiences at the moment and certainly makes me want to see more of Erik Erik Skjoldbjærg’s work in future.

I give Pioneer four out of five stars.

4 Stars

You can buy Pioneer at Amazon.co.uk on Blu-ray and DVD.

Secret Cinema and Mind present "Dead Poets Society"

To commerorate the tragic death yesterday of Robin Williams, Secret Cinema is collaborating with UK mental health charity Mind for a special charity screening of Dead Poets Society. The event will take place at the Troxy on Commercial Road, East London this Friday at 7.30pm. Live poetry, music, performance and special guests will make this a not to miss event.

Tickets will cost £25.00 per person with all proceeds to go to Mind.

There is also the opportunity to set up your own screenings outside of London and interested parties are invited to contact Secret Cinema via seizetheday@secretcinema.org.

Paul Farmer, Mind Chief Executive, said: “We are incredibly appreciative that Secret Cinema has decided to honour Robin Williams in this way. The funds raised from this event will help Mind to be there for the one in four people who have a mental health problem so they get the support they need and the respect they deserve."

Fabien Riggall, Founder and Director of Secret Cinema said: “We are looking for people everywhere to join us in staging a screening to honour the memory and amazing light of Robin Williams. All profits from our screening will go to Mind, a vital and brilliant charity supporting those suffering from mental health problems, and we encourage others to donate what they can as well. I see culture as therapy and a tonic. Robin Williams inspired so much in so many of us, I believe cinema should give back to those leading lights who give so much.”

For tickets and further information please visit:

www.robinwilliams.secretcinema.org

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Music Video: George Ezra - "Did You Hear the Rain?"

George Ezra

I’m always interested in the anatomy of a song. What is the exact process between hearing a track for the first time and it becoming one of your favourite songs ever, one that you play over and over again until the day when you can go two minutes, a couple of hours and finally a day without hearing it? A song can be like an addiction and I’d love to understand the moment when you go from healthy to afflicted.

With some tracks it is almost instantaneous. There I was, minding my own business with George Ezra’s album Wanted On Voyage playing in the background when “Did You Hear the Rain?” came on and suddenly I was paying attention. I played it again, then once more and finally put it on repeat. It was clear that I wasn’t going to listen to anything else that afternoon.

Am I surprised that I’ve fallen in love? No, my playlist these days is full of blues and folk rock and is dominated by Tom Odell, James Arlowe and the Ruffian Circus, Qiet and Mumford and Sons. George Ezra might be only 21 but his brand of folky blues rock is right up my alley.

Still, that doesn't help me now as I go down the rabbit hole of a song obsession. Let me share my obsession with you!

 

Lyrics:

Did you hear the thunder?
Or the rain?
Means I’m coming home again
Means I’m coming home my friend

Did you steal my name?
Oh, you Jack of all trades
You’re the master of none
Oh, the race has begun
I was born a champion
I was born to jump and run

Did you hear the rain?
Oh, the rain?
You can try & run & hide
Tearing at the chain
Oh, Lucifer’s inside

Did your siblings tell you
I was wasting up your time
Oh, now you’re wasting mine
You put me back in line
And I’m counting every link
And I guess you think that’s fine

Did you hear the rain?
Oh, the rain?
You can try & run & hide
Tearing at the chain
Oh, Lucifer’s inside

Oh, did I send a shiver
Down your spine?
Well I do it all the time
It’s a little trick of mine
Did I make you shake your knees
Did I make him spill his wine
Lord, I’m spreading like disease
Lord, I’m all up in your mind
Oh, Lucifer’s inside
Lucifer’s inside

Did you hear the rain?
Oh, the rain?
You can try & run & hide
Tearing at the chain
Means I’m coming home again
Means I’m coming home my friend
Oh, Lucifer’s inside
Oh, Lucifer’s inside
Oh, Lucifer’s inside.

Audiobook Review: 'The Child' by Sebastian Fitzek

The Child by Sebastian Fitzek banner

Do you believe in reincarnation? This is the question that defence attorney Robert Stern must ask himself when he is summoned to a derelict industrial park to meet a terminally ill ten-year-old boy. Incredibly the boy Simon claims to have committed a series of gruesome murders that took place fifteen years before his birth. It seems impossible but not only does Simon know details that only the killer could know, he also leads Stern to a cellar where they find a decomposed human skeleton whose head has been split open by an axe – just as Simon described.

Soon details begin to emerge about the victims and Stern finds himself embroiled in a web of child trafficking, abuse and murder in Berlin’s seedy underworld. Blackmailed by an insidious caller and assisted by his old friend Carina, Stern finds himself in increasing danger. Who is the mysterious caller? What is behind Simon’s claim to be a serial killer and his disturbing ability to predict the future? And what does this all have to do with the death of Stern’s own child ten years prior?

The Child is the third novel by bestselling German author Sebastian Fitzek. It has been brought to life for the English-speaking market in a spectacular multi-cast audio dramatisation by Audible UK, months ahead of the print release of the book. The production is an absolute step above normal audiobook productions and features a star-studded cast including Rupert Penry-Jones as Robert Stern, Emilia Fox as Carina, Andy Serkis as Martin Engler,  Stephen Marcus as Andy Borchert and introducing Jack Boulter as Simon.

The Child Fox as CarinaThe Child Rupert Penry-Jones as Robert Stern

The Child Andy Serkis as Martin EnglerThe Child Stephen Marcus as Andy Borchert

Sebastian Fitzek has written a truly creepy novel and he is certainly an author I will look out for in the future. Fitzek keeps the reader in a suspended state of disbelief and incredulity throughout the story and only at the last minute does he finally pull the veil away. I did not expect the twist towards the end!

The insidious caller instilled true terror in both Robert Stern and me and coupled with the dramatic soundtrack, there were times when my heart felt as if it were jumping out of my chest. This might not be the best audiobook to listen to just before you go to bed on a stormy evening.

It was an interesting decision to feature British actors in a dramatisation of a story set in Berlin. At times it was jarring and I almost expected that some of the characters should have had a German accent but ultimately it works. The Child is a gritty, bleak story that reminded me of the no-holds-barred television that we saw in the UK in the 1990s, shows like Band of Gold and Prime Suspect. If you liked the grim reality of those shows and the glimpse into the dark underbelly of city life then you’ll love The Child.

I liked everything about this production from Robert Glenister’s turn as the narrator to the eerie soundtrack to each of the individual performances. I was impressed by the way in which Audible UK released character posters and by the trailer which you can see below. It seems that something is changing in the world of audiobooks and that we as listeners and fans can finally get excited about these productions. I’m a long time fan of both Rupert Penry-Jones and Andy Serkis so it was great to sample some of their work beyond the realm of television and film.

My verdict is that this dramatisation really worked and I hope that this is a route that Audible UK will take more often in the future.

I give the Audible UK audio dramatisation of The Child five out of five stars.

5 Stars

Click here to listen to the first chapter of The Child or you can purchase the audiobook at Audible UK.

At Last: The Return of Wes Bentley

Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane in Hunger Games (2012)

Wes Bentley’s first big break was the multi-Oscar winning American Beauty - and the documentary My Big Break captured Bentley's early life as an unknown actor, his explosive career launch following the film, and his subsequent emotional struggles with fame. He began to rebuild his career by starring in the Off-Broadway premier of Venus in Fur by David Ives, and has since returned to form with a series of brilliant performances.

To celebrate the release of PIONEER on Blu-ray and DVD from August 4th 2014, courtesy of Arrow Films, we recount some of Bentley’s most memorable performances in recent years...

Pioneer (2013)

Wes Bentley turns in a brilliant performance as a deep-sea diver in this Scandi conspiracy thriller, also starring Aksel Hennie and Stephen Lang. The drama focuses on the Norwegian oil boom of the 1980’s, when huge oil and gas deposits are discovered in the North Sea. With the authorities planning to bring the oil ashore, they recruit the services of professional deep sea diver Petter (Hennie) - obsessed with reaching the bottom of the Norwegian Sea, he willingly takes on the perilous mission. But a sudden, tragic accident changes everything...

Wes Bentley in Pioneer

American Beauty (1999)

Sam Mendes’ razor-sharp satire on suburban life thrust Bentley into the limelight, picked up five Oscars, and focuses on the mid-life crisis of Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey). Bentley plays the Burnham’s neighbour, Ricky Fitts, the local drug dealer who uses his profits to fund his hobby- recording everything around him on a camcorder, including the Burnhams, and particularly their daughter, Jane (Thora Birch). Bentley’s portrayal of the enigmatic, damaged Ricky wowed the critics, and with good reason- he allegedly beat out over 20 other actors for the role.

There Be Dragons (2011)

Dougray Scott plays investigative journalist Robert Torres, who visits Spain to research a book about Josemaría Escrivá (Charlie Cox), founder of Opus Dei. Robert’s most promising source-his father, Manolo Torres (Bentley), turns out to be his least helpful, and so he begins unearthing family secrets- learning that Manolo was not only born in the same town as Josemaría, but that they were best friends - divided once Josemaría dedicated his life to his religion and Manolo was caught up in the Spanish Civil War.

Wes-Bentley-There-Be-Dragons

After-School Special (2011)

Co-starring Sarah Paulson, this short follows a brief, awkward encounter between Bentley and Paulson in an indoor playground - it was featured in the Stars in Shorts collection and is easily the most shocking of the set, with audiences left reeling at the darkly comic twist ending.

The Hunger Games (2012)

Bentley’s casting in this hit franchise introduced him to a new legion of teenage fans, as he took the role of Seneca Crane, the head Gamemaker. Tasked with running the 72nd, 73rd, and 74th Hunger Games and ordering obstacles into the arena, Crane ultimately finds himself torn between the orders of oppressive President Snow (Donald Sutherland), determined to kill rebellious contestant Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), and his own moral qualms.

Hidden Moon (2012)

José Pepe Bojórquez’s romantic mystery stars Bentley as the affluent Victor Brighton, thrown into turmoil after a mysterious, beautiful Latin woman named Miranda (Ana Serradilla) makes a dramatic appearance at the funeral of his father. Ordered by his mother to save his high-standing family’s reputation, Victor heads to Mexico to find out the truth and confront Miranda... leading to all manner of romantic complications.

The Time Being (2012)

Co-starring Frank Langhella and Sarah Paulson, this mystery thriller focuses on struggling artist Daniel (Wes Bentley) whose luck finally turns when a reclusive millionaire named Warner (Frank Langella) buys one of his pieces. Instead of the additional commissions he hopes to gain from the new client, he finds himself thrown into a web of increasingly bizarre and complex surveillance assignments, causing him to question whether Warner is out to help him, or destroy him.

Gone (2012)

In Heitor Dhalia’s crime thriller, Bentley plays homicide detective Peter Hood, who assists Jill (Amanda Seyfried) when her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) goes missing. Convinced that Molly has been taken by the serial killer that abducted her years earlier, Jill finds herself up against a sceptical police department who believe her to be mentally unstable and discredit her story. Hood however, new to the force, believes her and soon they find themselves in a race against time to discover the culprit and save Molly.

PIONEER is available on Blu-ray and DVD from August 4th 2014, courtesy of Arrow Films

Giveaway: The Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding

The Echoes of Love - Hannah Fielding - header

The big news in publishing circles is that Hannah Fielding’s Venetian romance Echoes of Love has competed with authors from over 33 countries to win the coveted Gold medal in the Romance category at the 18th Independent Publisher Book Awards In New York.

Echoes of Love is the story of Venetia Aston-Montague who has escaped to Venice to recover from a broken heart while working in her godmother’s architectural firm. For the past ten years Venetia has refused to let herself fall in love, only to be caught off guard during carnival when she is rescued from armed thieves by a charming Italian, Paolo Barone. Drawn to the powerfully attractive Paolo, and despite warnings of his ladies-man reputation, Venetia can’t help being caught up in a passionate affair.

Venice

The Echoes of Love - Hannah FieldingWhen she finds herself assigned to a project to refurbish his magnificent home deep in the Tuscan countryside, Venetia not only faces a beautiful young rival but dark reminders of her past, determined to come between them. Can Venetia trust that love will triumph, even over her own demons? Or will a carefully guarded, devastating secret tear them apart forever?

Echoes of Love is an epic love story and this year’s great summer read. The good news is that I have a beautiful hard-cover copy to give away and I’m willing to ship it worldwide!

To enter, simply follow these easy steps:

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