Review: Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)

SYNOPSIS: A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence. – via IMDB

Alright, so something that I don’t talk about much is the documentaries I watch. Every now and then I am struck by this need and just burn through documentaries like there is no tomorrow and I love them. I love them, but rarely never write about them. I don’t know, it’s pretty hard to write about documentaries. They are the type of things you watch and discuss with people around you, that you go back and forth on. It’s pretty intense.

This is one that I absolutely loved. I really liked the way the documentary was not narrated by a single person. We get snippets of the case, the news, interviews with the accused, their families, the cops, the victims’ families, all of it, and we are left to pretty much form our own opinions on the matter. I really thought this made the documentary a more unique experience. We were essentially elected the jury, to judge these boys accused of a horrendous crime, and we were all left to draw our own conclusions.

And let me tell you, it seems that the conclusions on this case are incredibly divisive. People believe vehemently that these three young guys murdered those boys and should burn in hell, others believe that they were wrongfully convicted. So much raging debate going on about it. I remember coming across this story all those years ago and watching this and being taken in by how bizarre this story was, and is.

Watching this, you get enough information on the case and to watch some of the court proceedings, but I am super grateful to have read Mara Leveritt’s book – all the questions I had before were answered, and it paints a far more complete picture. This documentary shows you two sides, and I liked it for a change not getting the answer, but being allowed to make up my mind.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills is a seriously good piece of work. It is mesmerising and engaging, put together exceptionally well and it is raw, tough and intense. Metallica’s accompanying soundtrack fits like a glove, and I appreciated the clips being used in here showing you the more positive and negative of all sides involved, so nothing ever really felt glorified. I highly recommend this, whether you know the story or not. It’s a fantastic documentary that will keep you hooked from that extremely graphic and heartbreaking opening.

Review: Hot Fuzz (2007)

“You do know there are more guns in the country than there are in the city?”
– DS Andy Wainwright

SYNOPSIS: A skilled London police officer is transferred to a small town that’s harbouring a dark secret. – via IMDB

Man, you gotta hand it to this movie, it totally goes for the entertainment factor, and is so heavily laced with dry, witty humour throughout. So, let me get right down to it: Hot Fuzz is fantastic comedy, and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost work absolute wonders together to bring this story to life on our screens.

Nicholas Angel is not the most sympathetic character out there, and most often you laugh at him while he is being a pain in the ass. Soon, though, his life is upside down and he is essentially banished to the countryside, and that is where the adventure begins. Hot Fuzz paints this little town as super non-descript and bland, but something’s cracking here. The colleagues Angel gets at the new police station are great, and nobody is mincing about that they don’t like him or his big city-ness.

Angel and Danny Butterman become fast friends, but it takes time for their relationship to develop, and it is a friendship that grows that is so sweet to watch, and super hilarious, too. Another point of entertainment is, without a doubt, their pub trips.

Hot Fuzz is also really well made, too. It looks and sounds good, even if it is a little choppy at times and not as smooth as you would hope. Timothy Dalton makes his appearances here, of which I am quite the fan. Bill Nighy is dangled in front of us and snatched away super fast, as is Martin Freeman, but it all works. While Nicholas Angel is a bit uptight and a pain initially, you cannot help but root for the guy throughout.

Eventually the movie devolves into all out hilarity and utter lunacy, and you are so drawn in. All the jokes are hard hitting and fast, they land well, and the movie is completely aware of how totally over the top it has gone and embraces it, owns it, drives it all home. You cannot help but have a laugh. The violence is over the top, the fights are insane, every cliché you can shake a stick at has been dragged up, and everyone is having a right time of it, and that is evident.

December Blind Spot Review: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

it's a wonderful life poster

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
– Clarence

SYNOPSIS: An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed. – via IMDB


Ah man, I can’t believe it took me so long to get to this! I enjoyed every damn minute of it immensely, and thought it was one heck of a film. There is just so much to like here, and not much to fault. Seriously not even remotely what I thought it was going to be about, and that was not a bad thing. I thought it was going to be about some grouch who found love and acceptance and Christmas spirit by the end. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong, and I am totally down with that.

James Stewart really was such a handsome man in his youth, and he played the ever so charming and incredibly well-liked George perfectly. From the moment the film opens with a young George to when you see him as a man, he is just a character you can’t not root for. He is sweet, dutiful, loyal, a dreamer, and a all-round nice dude. Pity that everything he ever wanted to do in life was put on hold, which he put aside to further his brother and help his town. Except that, even while doing all that, he had a fine and full life anyway. Only he didn’t always see it, and it is really interesting to see this young man constantly readjusting his expectations of life.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching James Stewart and Donna Reed together, I thought they had wonderful chemistry together, and what a beautiful couple! Seriously, Reed was gorgeous! The movie touts a lot of humour and good vibes, and I was seriously impressed how modern the movie felt, like it was way ahead of its time. It is old, but movies of this time, even before, and plenty after, felt so much more stiff and formal. This one was feel good, had a lot of elements we recognise in modern movies, and the pacing was excellent. The dialogue was on point, and the characters were people we could relate to.


I cannot believe it took me so long to see it! It’s A Wonderful Life is put together wonderfully, without anything coming across as tacky or crude or out of place. It is shot well, it is engaging, the performances were all solid, and the movie draws you in from the off, and ultimately feels like a rewarding experience. It’s a really pleasant film, and as you can see, left me feeling happy. I would highly recommend checking it out – it has some drama, some humour, a great romance, and a sweet story.