TV – House of Cards Season Three Review

March 26, 2015

Seeing as the third season of NetFlix’s House of Cards has been available for a few weeks now, I’ll admit I’m late to the dance with this review, but I’ve been busy and unable to devote the time to actually watch it.

Well…until earlier this week anyway.

And so having started it a mere three days ago, I’ve now finished it.

That’s a good sign, right?

Of course it is. Once again, House of Cards provided another entertaining 12 or so hours of drama and I’m glad I watched it.House_of_Cards,_season_3,_promo_image

But it wasn’t without its faults.

For me, this season felt flat compared to the previous two, and that’s only natural considering what this show actually is. The original concept is about a malevolent politician lying, cheating and ruthlessly trampling over anyone who gets in his way in his path to the top of the political totem pole.

And so when Underwood achieved that at the end of Season 2, it restricted both where Underwood as a character and the overall show itself could go.

As President, Underwood couldn’t be as evil as he had been in the previous two seasons. There’s certain things – such as murder or outright blackmail – that are off-limits to a Presidential character but in terms od realism and the American ideal of what their Commander In Chief should be. And so what’s left is him trying to manipulate situations to do the right thing rather than the selfish thing.

It made me think “Am I supposed to think badly of Underwood for trying to eradicate unemployment or solve the crisis in the Middle East?”. It was a weird one.

And just as weird was the fact that his opponents in the season were mostly bad eggs who you hoped would falter.

His wife, for example, came across as an arse, even though I think we were supposed to be rooting for her. Or maybe we weren’t and I’ve just picked that up wrong.

Really, at times it felt like an episode of the West Wing with less likeable characters.

Mainly though, I think the fault with this third season is that it didn’t build up to a satisfactory conclusion. It ended limply with the sort of cliffhanger you wouldn’t even expect to see before a commercial break. Certainly this is a season that is half way through a story arc relating to Underwood’s inevitable reelection, but I don’t see why that couldn’t have just stretched another couple of episodes to reach a climax that would leave you wanting more?

Now I’m coming across as negative, I know that, so I feel I should reiterate that I mostly enjoyed it. But those are still problems.

What will the final conclusion to House of Cards be then? Unlike the UK version, Underwood can’t go to war with a monarchy and neither can he hold on to power indefinitely like Francis Urquhart did. A US President has a time-limit. He can only be there for two terms and once he’s over the hump of that reelection, it’s plain sailing from there.

Do NetFlix have the balls to make the US President into a proper villain? I’m not so sure. And I don’t even know how feasible it is?

Mind you, they seemed happy enough to put the boots into Wal-Mart.

Anyway, we’ll have to wait until 2016 to see how it goes, but if this show isn’t going to end on a whimper, I suspect some more inspired writing is definitely – pardon the pun – on the cards.



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Movies – Cockneys vs Zombies Review (or “The Best Zombie Movie Ever”)

March 7, 2015

Let’s face it; while Netflix and Amazon Prime market themselves as having a great selection of movies, all you really get is a couple of big name titles and then scores and scores of bargain bin efforts that would usually be found on channels like Movies For Men and – back in the day – Granada Plus.

So when you decide to put on a random film from Amazon Prime on a Saturday night, you don’t expect much.

But as it turned out, I was very pleasantly surprised by Cockneys vs Zombies!

Movies – Cockneys vs Zombies Review: What’s It About?

If that’s not a self-explanatory title, I don’t know what is? It’s a Zombie invasion of the East End, and a small group of youngsters – in the middle of a bank robbery to find funds to save an old folks home – get caught upcockneys-vs-zombies-dvd-001 in it.

Cockneys vs Zombies Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

While a rating of 5.9 on imdb might put you off, you also must consider that it gets 4 stars on Amazon, 70% on Rotten Tomatoes and 4.4/5 from TimeOut Magazine.

Cockneys vs Zombies Review: Who’s In It?

The younger ones are played by the likes of Michelle Ryan, Rasmus Hardiker and Harry Treadaway, while actors such as Alan Ford, Richard Briers, Honor Blackman, Tony Selby and Dudley Sutton play the older ones.

So it’s actually got a strong cast.

My Thoughts

Zombie movies are formulaic, so you know what you’re getting in terms of a plot. At the same time, any comedy Zombie movie will also look to follow the pattern set by Shaun of the Dead.

But I’ll go on record and say that I think Cockneys vs Zombies is better than Shaun of the Dead; hell, I’ll go on record and say that it’s the best Zombie movie I’ve ever seen!

Why? Because not only is it well written – better written than most movies from this genre – it’s just so damned funny.

The humour and comic timing of the actors is spot on, but it’s more than that; it’s the dialogue and the delivery of it.

To me at least, there’s just something hysterical about lines like…

“Oi, Zombies! Get the fuck out of my East End”
“You can ‘av some an’ all, twinkletoes” 
“Come on you Zombie Slags”
“…and if I have to, I’ll round up ever nutter from Bermondsey to Camden Town and we’ll sort this out ourselves!” 

…and so on.

Hell, Danny Dyer has made a career out of acting like that, so a bunch of experienced actors larging it up like Dyer on acid will always go down a treat.

And what better way to finish it off than with a specially written Zombie song by Chas n Dave?

Honestly, this film was just so much fun to watch, and running at just 90 minutes – thats 90 consistently funny minutes by the way – it doesn’t out-stay its welcome.

If you’re like me, you’ll see the name of the film and just assume it’s crap, but it’s really not.

There’s no doubt about it; you should give it a go if you’re on Amazon Prime.

You won’t regret it.


Remember to buy my books folks; they are available on Amazon. Read about them here