Friels first press vintage cider review (8/10) ” Natural and complex balance, if a little weak and pricey”.

Friels first press vintage cider review (8/10) ” Natural and complex balance, if a little weak and pricey”.

Good

” Clear USP of the varieties of Apple selected and labelled”.
” Noticeable level of Apple sweetness”.
” Natural flavour as promised”.
” Well-balanced “.
” Complexity of experience”.
” Some dryness”.
“Woody element”.
” Smooth aftertaste”.

Bad

” Weak aftertaste”.
” Lack of convincing carbonation, acidity, sweetness and dryness”.
” Brand message a little weak”.
” Traditional image on can, but no history of the drink”.
” Quite expensive and not 100% practical”.
” No mention of vintage year “.
” Feeble carbonation”.
” Not enough dryness”.
” Not great value for money”.

Packaging

Friel’s first press vintage cider will be the first I’ve tried from Friels. This appears to be named after Glen Friel who acts as director of Aston manor cider house ; A ciderhouse name I recognise from the production of Kingston press in Stour-port, Worcestershire, (previously reviewed). This cans’ address is Cheltenham, Gloucestershire though, meaning a gap between Apple sourcing from Herefordshire and Worcestershire and it’s site of production elsewhere. These extra miles seem a little less eco friendly than one would hope. Maybe that is why the orchards used, aren’t specified on the can.

With apples sourced from the heart of Worcestershire, I am familiar with some local varieties. Red falstaff used here as one of a few apples, seems new to me, but is perhaps sweet in taste due to it’s dessert descriptor on the website rhs.org.uk. In addition to these, Katy and Windsor apples have been selected, of which Thatchers Katy instantly springs to mind.

The can emphasises small batch production, suggesting greater attention to quality control. It looks petite, with a small capacity of just 330ml, and a traditionally greyscale portrait image, perhaps from the 50’s. This leads me to believe that the drink has been available since then, but it hasn’t !
In fact, after digging online, I found that the company was established in 2009, and the 330ml can version has only been out since 2016. No real tradition or history therefore can be specified on the can or website. Moreover the est. year cannot be seen anywhere on the can, perhaps through fear of embarrassment alongside 100+ year old companies like Aspall’s or Weston’s.

With 7.4% ABV, equating to 2.4 units per can, 2 cans tips you over the governments” “do not regularly exceed” limit by 0.8 units suggesting a treat may be required to enjoy guilt free. Not 100% practical but how about affordable ?
The drink sets you back £3 for this 4.8 unit treat from Sainsbury’s. This seems rather dear, since it is more than Black dragon cider from Wales and the recently reviewed “the hog-father” from orchard pig, which was £1.20 cheaper !!

As for taste, it claims medium dryness, and vintage on the blurb. Vintage means a single year has been used for Apple sourcing, which is no surprise considering the high ABV. More surprisingly though, there is no mention of the year of vintage on the can or website, suggesting the apples may be from 2016 or 17. With Katy, Windsor, and Falstaff all specified as apples used on both blurb and website, I’d suggest the apples chosen are essential for the USP of this drink. The mentioning of orchards in Worcestershire and Herefordshire is only on the website, not the can, suggesting it is the type of Apple, not location of Apple tree, which is important to the brand. Let’s hope then, that these apple varieties deliver a good medium-dry combination, which is “Refreshingly fruity” as suggested.
The assertion of “natural” , and “nothing artificial used”, left my mouth longing for some natural tasting apples, and no sickly synthetic sweetness.

Smell

The smell, while subtle, suggested of some wood element. It had similarity with Twisted tree in that respect. Very limited fizz was apparent, but didn’t last long. Bubbles were limited, and casually hinted of light carbonation. The smell whilst weak was smooth and fruity and encouraging for natural flavours to come.

Taste

The flavour was Appley from the world go, with a distinct lack of artificial sweetness. This flavour felt natural, and didn’t linger on the aftertaste. It did leave a smooth level of fruit though, to not disappoint. The mouthfeel wasn’t syrupy or watery, so achieved good balance. On swilling, it was impossible to encourage many bubbles to burst, suggesting that carbonation level was a tad feeble.

The medium dryness claimed, wasn’t readily noticeable, but was just about apparent. This was subtle, and not medium though.
Whilst there was some level of natural acidity, the tang was certainly not as memorable as it was in the hogfather. It wasn’t overly convincing, and didn’t mask some wateriness, that emerged after a few sips. The wood detected in the smell, could be tasted, and was again subtle. Much like the dryness, carbonation and acidity.

The aftertaste had hints of water, and didn’t fully convince me of a strongly pleasant flavour. It touched a little dryness, but wasn’t fully fledged in any way. Most of the components for a good cider were present then, but none convincing enough.
Summary

Good at being subtle at everything, yet not brilliant at anything. An all round well-balanced drink, with some character and elements that it promised. Not a letdown, but not a convincing win. A little bit middling.

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Orchard pig – The Hogfather cider review – (9.25/10) ” Well rounded greatness with no bragging, but fruitiness and sweetness slightly lacking”.

 

Orchard pig – The Hogfather review – (9.25/10) ” Well rounded greatness with no bragging but fruitiness and sweetness slightly lacking”.

The Good

” Great branding message and packaging”.
” Great value and practicality”.
” Good acidity and medium mouthfeel”.
” Great light carbonation as suggested”.
” No dryness and a good moist drink”.
” Well rounded drink with lasting non-sickly aftertaste”.
” Tasty woody element”.
” Great flavour maturity and depth”.

The Bad

” Limited fruitiness and sweetness”.
” Branding not specifying dryness or a blurb”.
” No weaker version of the same drink”.
” No real USP”.
” No mention of woodiness on branding”.

Packaging

Orchard pigs are a breed of pig ( Gloucestershire old spot), which were traditionally used in orchards to clean up fallen apples. They apparently control pests below the apple trees. This doesn’t really lend them to producing the finest cider, although may suggest they know a thing or two about picking the right varieties of apple.

We begin our journey south of Gloucestershire, in Somerset orchards where the apples are bittersweet. Hopefully they’re as flavoursome as some of the Weston’s apples, in cider also produced in the West Country. With certain West Country ciders falling short of the mark, such as the watery Cornish rattler. In addition to the recent let down from Capel road No.3 not living up to it’s older cousin, I am now ready to find another gem. Let’s hope it fits the bill.

The Orchard pig cider company nestled near the orchards of West Bradley near Glastonbury, in Somerset, was established in 2004. This makes it more recent than Swedish cider makers like Rekorderlig, and the local to Herefordshire, Henney’s, which were both established in 1996.
These are still very young relative to others such as the West Country Weston’s, est. 1880. This may mean the cider hasn’t had time to fully evolve into a great drink, but we’ll see.

The bottles in the orchard pig range are colourful, yet uniform. Each possesses it’s own identity and quirky name tag. Examples include names such as “The Charmer” or “The Reveller” . Whilst these labels look professional, it is clear to see the cheeky side to the brand portrayed on both bottle and website. The font is casual, and the phrase “Follow the pig” with a dark pig logo, leads to a humorous vibe.

The hog-father tested here, is portrayed to be the leader of the orchard pig products. With the website slogan “The pig’s daddy”, and a flexed bicep paraded on the bottle, this is clearly supposed to make an impact. It boasts of gentle carbonation, and being moorish. This lead me to the expectation of great taste.

The 7.4% ABV leads the single bottle to 3.7 units. This places it comfortably within the governments “Do not regularly exceed” range, for a modest £1.80 from Sainsbury’s. This ABV is up with other vintage varieties such as Westons’ Jonathon Blair of 7.3%, and Twisted tree of 7.4 %, which are both very similar. All of these are Vintage, meaning all apples used are harvested from one single year.

In the price stakes, £3 for a fairly mediocre 2 cans of Capel road number 3, with the equivalent alcohol of one bottle of the hog-father, makes the £1.20 saving seem quite appealing. £2.95 for the Black dragon cider of South Wales to attain this unit number is also significantly more expensive. The hog-father sounds a bit cheaper then, compared to recently reviewed rivals.

The bottle, whilst emphasising the casual, cheeky vibes, which features an oink then exclamation mark, doesn’t give anything away regarding taste description, beyond that of the website. Whilst that appears a slight letdown, on the whole, the branding seems strong.

The only expectation I shall taste with, is full flavour and light carbonation. As for dryness, perhaps moorish means my mouth will be longing for another sip due to good flavour or immense dryness. Alas this is all speculative.

Smell

The smell was a smooth natural fruitiness emerging from a thin film of white froth. On opening the bottle made just an ephemeral puff suggestive of light carbonation as promised. After about 30 seconds as the bubbles began to fade, some acidity could also be detected on the nose, leading me poised for some level of tang.

Taste

On first sip, the carbonation level was perfect, and light as suggested. There was some level of tang, which quickly emerged after the first sip as a reminder of West Country ciders such as Jonathon Blair. After a couple of sips, this tang stayed strong and was certainly accompanied by full-bodied flavour. The cider had good body and was certainly not watery, so thumbs up for mouthfeel too. As for taste, there wasn’t a clearly discernible sweetness, yet the slicing tang made up for this no end, with no hint of anything artificial.

The cider wasn’t noticeably dry, and had no fuzzy after-feeling, but with no promise of dryness, this wasn’t missed. The drink was pleasantly warming, yet left me hopeful for some element of fresh fruit to come through. This, along with sweetness was slightly lacking for my taste, yet with perfect carbonation, great acidity, neutral mouthfeel, no artificial taste, and no dryness as suggested, the drink was ideal as a moist cider with a great depth of flavour.

Although unspecified, there was certainly a woody element to the drink, which only culminated in a notably mature, protracted aftertaste, which promoted pleasure. I based this sensation, on similarity to Twisted tree cider, which I now use as the gold standard for woodiness in taste.

It had a lasting aftertaste too, with a lovely smooth and non-sickly tang. This was only enriched by this woodiness. Whilst present, a point made in the branding of Woodiness, would have helped greatly in detection. The cider could have had more fruit and sweetness in the taste and aftertaste alike.

Summary

A practical cider which had a great branding message and packaging. An unboastful and charming story, with a great product to follow. Good value, strong branding, great light carbonation, slicing acidity, with no dryness. Only lacking in fruitiness or sweetness slightly. Very hard to fault as a drink and certainly a strong contender on my leaderboard.

Black Dragon cider review ” Smooth and subtle dryness in a well balanced beverage”. (8/10)

Black Dragon cider review ” Smooth and subtle dryness in a well balanced beverage”. (8/10)

Good
” Eye-catching branding and packaging”.
“Smooth smell and taste”.
” Subtle carbonation and bitterness”.
” Smooth bitter aftertaste”.
” Developing dryness”.
” Very well balanced”.
” Gentle on the mouth for alcohol percentage”.

Bad
” Lack of fruitiness and sweetness”.
“Expensive and stocked infrequently”.
” Acidity too subtle”.
” Smooth aftertaste with building dryness”.
” No hint of oak casks in the taste”.
” Watery mouthfeel”.
” Limited taste complexity”.

 

Packaging

At first glance, the branding clearly shows the USP of the ciders home in Wales. The bottles’ colour scheme of pure black and gold makes the drink more eye-catching than the rest of the Gwynt y Ddraig range, as shown on the website. The Wales emphasis, and symbolism of the dragon fits the websites’ slogan “Refreshingly Welsh”. The bottle also emphasises fermentation in Oak casks. The traditional methods of production are highly promoted. I would suggest that a company established in 2001 is unlikely to possess a fully fledged production process though.

The branding at first glance though, appears positive. It affirms medium dryness and refreshing taste. Since it has won many West Country cider awards, I’d expect the dryness to leave my mouth fuzzy.

3.25 units for a 6.5% ABV beverage with 500ml capacity, would seem an especially effective way of mellowing your soul against the governments’ “Do not regularly exceed” range of 3-4 units.
The hefty price-tag of £2.95 from Wally’s per bottle makes this a real commodity. Not to mention, the magical mystery tour around the Welsh capital, I made to find anywhere that stocked it. This means it isn’t overly practical as a regular drink, so it shall be judged as a special treat.

In the strength states, I have sampled stronger. With Twisted tree, Organic Aspalls and Jonathon Blair vintages which often amount to the 7/8% ABV range. I would suggest though, due to Aspalls’ Draught, Stow-ford press and many others falling short of this, that the cider is nestled amongst some highly competitive drinks.

 

The clear bottle glass revealed small clusters of bubbles rising from the cusp of the fluid at the bottleneck, which suggested some level of carbonation. As for sweetness, medium-dry ciders tend to do this well and are ordinarily rather sweet. I hoped the traditional methods used would add some level of complexity when consuming and impart some naturally Appley flavour that was unique to the valley orchards where they’re grown. As for tang I had no expectations.

The bottle blurb mentioned a pleasant fresh, fruity aroma and rich colour, body and flavour. The bottle design clearly showed off a rich amber colour, yet I was also hopeful of a syrupy and not too watery mouthfeel. Especially considering the brand boasting about body. As for the flavour, we shall see shortly.

Smell

A tentative fizz clearly emerged with a reasonable frothing from the dragons’ mouth. The smell remained for some time as a rather consistent acidic scent. Similar to that of a Merrydown and affirming a taste expectation for some level of tang and acidity. The aroma descriptors of fresh and fruity weren’t entirely correct however, since acidity dominated any fruity notes.

Taste

From the first sip a smooth, slightly watery impression was present. The mouthfeel was a little thinner than I was hoping for after reassurance of a rich body. This was a slight letdown.

The cider did possess a tang as suggested by the smell, and this was pleasantly subtle. Sweetness was highly lacking and difficult to notice. Fruitiness was absent. Carbonation level however, was pleasant, and certainly not a contributor to a gassy drink. The flavour was pleasantly bitter which is not a description I often apply. This was due to careful balance of the drink.
Whilst bitterness was not overpowering, it helped provide a gentle experience on the palette. This is seldom seen amongst stronger ciders. The dryness level was good for a medium-dry. This Emerged from subtlety to a confident level after a few sips.

With good balance and some unique taste elements, it was a shame that the cider lacked some natural fruitiness or sweetness. From the website, I was also hoping for some element of complexity in the taste from the oak casks used, but any warming woody element was certainly absent unlike most West Country varieties such as Twisted tree.

Aftertaste

Smooth Appley bitterness developed into the aftertaste. It lasted for a while, and provided my mouth with a slight, yet detectable dryness. This dryness lasted for a considerable amount of time. Even longer after delving deeper into the bottle.

Summary

A well balanced, Improving cider throughout consumption, and into the aftertaste. Strong balance of acidity, carbonation and dryness were only letdown by a lack of fruit and sweetness. Price could be cheaper and more complexity or flavour elements would have been nice. Mouthfeel was a little watery.

Aspall Suffolk Draught Cyder ( Red label) review “Great acidity and mouthfeel, but lacking in dryness, value, or anything unique” – (7.5/10).

Aspall Suffolk Draught Cyder ( Red label) review “Great acidity and mouthfeel, but lacking in dryness, value, or anything unique” – (7.5/10).

The Good

– Great history and bottle design.
– Subtle balance done well.
– Punchy tang with light carbonation.
– Some dryness.
– Ideal mouthfeel and not watery.
– Pleasant smell.

The Bad

– Pricey.
– Not sweet enough.
– Not a dry cider as promised.
– Not particularly unique or complex.
– Not as practical as the organic version.

Packaging

A few centuries after Clement Chevallier converted his mid-suffolk, Aspall hamlet estate ready for Cyder making in 1728, this current bottle of Aspall suffolk Draught Cyder emerged. It was produced as an ode to Aspalls’ lengthy tradition to celebrate 8th generation direct descendants of Clement himself.

The bottle details these individuals as Barry and Henry Chevallier, aswell as a precise date for celebration. This marks the milestone of 275 years since Cyder making began at the factory. Making this Red label Cyder product about 15 years old.

Just because it is intended to celebrate a great achievement though, doesn’t make it a good quality Cyder. Looking at the drink itself, it is clear that the tradition has been carried through in the bottles’ design though with a Champagne-style vessel, and a tapered summit.

In terms of practicality, I purchased it from Sainsbury’s in May 2018 for £1.90. This was only 10p different from the last traditional Aspalls’ bottle I bought and reviewed last year; The Organic version. That had a Green label, rather than the Red shown here. It was also stronger at 7% ABV.

Our Cyder here is just 5.5% and 500ml. This makes the product relatively expensive, since you’d need 2 bottles of 2.8 units each, to get you into or above the governments’ “do not regularly exceed” boundaries. This means a costly evening of £3.80. You’d also most probably be pretty tipsy at this stage too, since 5.6 units is a lot. 2.8 for just one though, doesn’t seem like much at all however, making the bottles quite impractical for consumption.
The Green label Organic bottle fared much better though, with just the one, providing a sufficient 3.5 units , due to it’s higher 7% ABV. This also scored an impressive overall rating of 8/10 meaning the pressure is on here.

So enough background, let’s get to the liquid itself …

Issues with the Organic Aspalls were a lack of sweetness or dryness. This Draught Cyder though, claims to be dry and racy. I Interpret racy as full of flavour, so would expect sweetness from that bottle descriptor. It also claims to be fruity so let’s hope it has a pleasant Appley taste like the Organic version. Based on previously sampled Aspalls, I’d also expect light carbonation and reasonable mouthfeel, without too much wateriness. Finally, the organic had a good tang so I am certainly hoping for some level of acidity here.

Let’s hope this drink is sweet, wholesome, natural, tangy, lightly-carbonated, dry and complex then.

Smell

The scent was fairly confident and rather acidic. Almost resembling that of a Merry-down, East Sussex, cider. Although it died away fairly quickly, it was memorable. It created a lasting positive impression on the nose. On subsequent inhalations, it remained, suggesting a strong and confident drink. It convinced me well to take that all important, first sip.

Taste

There was nothing articifial about the flavour, as it was smooth and pleasant. No harsh sugary notes were apparent, yet an Appley sweetness resonated through. There was instantly, a noticeable tang as the smell suggested, which woke up my taste buds quickly. This hinted of positive acidity levels, much like the Organic (Green label) Aspalls did. On a subsequent sip, after swilling around my thirsty mouth, limited bubbles emerged, suggesting light carbonation. Carbonation level was sufficient however, to favour the acidity, which was pleasant.

The sweetness level was a little too subtle for my taste though, in much the same way as it was in the Organic. No fuzzy feeling, as should be expected from a full dry, was apparent either. The Dryness, whilst noticeable, was rather insufficient in strength. Much like in the Organic. The freshness of the apple was unique, but didn’t provide much complexity of flavour.
An aftertaste or subtle extra layer would have helped this.
It was also rather pricey for what the drink was, and not as distinctive as I was expecting. Mouthfeel was perfect however, since it was just thick enough, yet not syrupy. Dryness and sweetness were noticeable, yet a little insufficient. This meant that light carbonation, balance, and acidy tang, were the main positives to the drink.

Summary

Naturally tangy and lightly sparkling. not especially dry, sweet, or distinctive for the money though. I’d rather buy an Organic Aspalls.

 

Thatchers Gold cider review (8/10) – “Well balanced, full-flavoured, with an eye-catching can. More dryness and apples though please”.

Thatchers Gold cider review (8/10) – “Well balanced, full-flavoured, with an eye-catching can. More dryness and apples though please”.

The Good

” Competitive price, and eye-catching packaging”.
” Well balanced carbonation, acidity and sweetness”.
” Full-flavoured as advertised with some dryness”.
” Wholesome mouth-feel”.

The Bad

” Foul smell”.
“Dying aftertaste and limited dryness”.
” Natural fruitiness lacking slightly”.
” Limited complexity of flavour”.

Packaging

As a member of the Thatchers’ family, we may expect a medium-dry cider, rooted in the Somerset countryside. The blurb affirms this, adding the words “refreshing” and “full of flavour”. I would expect then, a good mouth-feel with limited wateriness. I would expect some level of dryness, and to taste some typical Somerset apples. Namely varieties such as Dabinett. Whilst no specific varieties are named, from the vibrant, colourful orchard scene on the can, it is clear to see some bright red apples which resemble Dabinett in colour at least.

Dryness can be accompanied by acidity, although no expectation can be drawn from the packaging alone. As for carbonation level, predictions are also tentative. I would suggest a drink with limited sweetness though, due to typical Somerset ciders which are dry, lacking this a little.

I bring this review from a pleasant sunny day in the east. An Ideal day for a little evening cider tipple. Admittedly, I have previously consumed this drink, but for review purposes, I am trying to keep an unbiased perspective throughout this review.

The can is a 440 ml Thatchers gold cider coming in at 4.8% ABV, providing 2.1 units per can. It began life as a product created in 1904, evolving into the drink it has become today. It’s brother Thatchers’ Haze is a bit weaker at just 4.5%, which is quite typical for Thatchers’ cans, since they often span between 4 and 5 percent ABV. While bottled ciders can touch close to 8%, namely old Rosie at 7.3%, and Warwickshires twisted tree at 7.4%, this is fairly strong for a “canned” drink.

As for practicality, this can size brings you up to £1.88 for 2 cans to reach the top end of the 3-4 do not regularly exceed limit. This is cheaper than twisted tree at £2 to reach this, but is pricier than Weston’s blend no 5. At just 50p per can which provided the limit for just £1. This was also very good quality so no pressure.

Let’s see if Thatchers gold lives up to it’s vibrant packaging and my expectation for a medium dry, fruity cider, lacking a little in sweetness.

Smell

The smell after very limited bubbles was rather unpleasant. It smells almost like something which has decayed or is past it’s sell by date. The smell is rather strong but doesn’t last long although the liquid continues to steadily release this from the fluids’ cusp for a while. This is accompanied by a light crackle.

Taste

After the crackling died down, I took a first sip. After the unpleasant aroma, this was a very welcome surprise. The fluid had a very pleasant level of non-sickly, sweetness. The mouthfeel was confident and the flavour had a nice element of light fruit to it. I say light, since you could still feel sweetness, so this fruit element didn’t overcome that. As for dryness advertised as medium, I would suggest this was a bit of an overstatement if anything. Whilst it did leave my mouth quickly and wasn’t especially moist, the puckering dryness sometimes apparent from a medium, wasn’t there. That said it was on it’s way, with some subtle dryness. As for carbonation, the level was almost perfect. The acidity level was noticeable slightly, but not overpowering, which again was highly pleasant. No aftertaste was noticeable, as is the case with most ciders on their way to dryness. This meant I was left in no way with a sickly feeling, yet a natural lingering impression of Apple would have been preferable.

Summary

Overall, a full flavoured, clever drink with balance. It balances carbonation with sweetness and acidity. The dryness is slightly lacking along with the aftertaste. A rather unpleasant smell though.

The Mist movie – “Great emotions, good effects, a little long and dull” – (8/10)

The Mist film review (8/10) ” Great emotions, good effects but a little long and dull at times”.

The Mist is a 2007 sci-fi horror film. In my opinion it is an average horror but better as a sci-fi as it is believable, yet not consistently scary.

Plot

The plot was a basic concept but well executed to emphasise emotions and feelings, whilst maintaining tension. It was fairly consistent throughout, but enough variation in the setting, was applied to maintain interest throughout most of the movie. Themes such as racism and religion were carefully employed and likened to society of today. The people in their actions seemed to effectively mimic reality, keeping things believable in a surreal scenario.

Music

Music was absent for most of the movie. The quiet allowed emotive words to have real impact though, and the acting to be carefully observed. It was used well for eerie scenes, and seemingly impossible events were backed up with religious music. Overall the music complemented the themes of the film well.

Setting and effects

The setting was an everyday mundane location, making the events unfolding unexpected. This acted as a good surprise hook to entice the viewer to keep with the film, following the introduction. As time went on the setting became more consistent yet the strength of characters kept things interesting enough to prevent boredom.

The horror was a little too limited at times however, bearing in mind the setting and long movie length. It perhaps needed a little more shock value in places. Particularly around the 1 hour mark, I found this to be the case.

The effects for a 2007 film seemed very well done and for some peculiar life forms this did indeed feel as realistic as possible. The setting was used well to play on emotions and relationships. It also gave a sense of tension. It didn’t merit the 2-hour movie duration however, which was why certain parts felt a little dull.

Emotions were not especially effective when people were busy, and seemed to die off at times. In times of tension however, or greater excitement, the emotions also became more believable. The movie ended in a slightly predictable fashion, although the strength of emotion made this really heart- felt which left me feeling that the film was definitely worth the watch.

Summary
I would recommend watching this film as a mixture of horror, sci-fi, and almost reality drama in a way. For the film however, the duration was too long and the enemies a little sparse. Certain parts needed greater excitement and more emotion. Overall this was exciting though, and capable of keeping an interested viewer throughout.

Survival of the Dead movie – (6.5/10) – Gory comedy not horror !

Survival of the dead 2009 movie review ” Slow-beginning gory comedy. Not what I expected”- (6.5/10)

Intro

Survival of the dead is, according to Wikipedia and Google, a 2009 American horror film. It actually is a post-apocalyptic film which has gore and comedy, in my opinion. If you want horror or fear factor, don’t watch the film and stop reading this review now …

Setting

The film setting was all natural, yet not especially scary considering the world had been almost take over by zombies. It didn’t allow cornering of zombies which was a little disappointing. For a low cost production however the outside environment did convey natural beauty and was believable for the plot.

Music

The basey notes were effective for sinister scenes and for building up tension more spritely sounds were applied well.

Plot

The plot was not too complex, but a little difficult to decipher at times due to a multitude of sides and relations. Rivalry helped the plot, and it was kept light-hearted and amusing throughout, despite the sinister outcomes. It had plenty of gore and was good as a comedy. The effects were non-existent, and it took a significant chunk of time to get into from the start. Fortunately by the end it had redeemed itself as a lighthearted gory zombie comedy. If indeed such a thing exists. As for being what I expected or scary though, the plot didn’t help the setting recover this.

Summary

Slow to build with limited effects but lighthearted at every opportunity which most sci-fi movies don’t have. The setting seemed good for low cost, and gore was well implemented. Not what I expected, but as a gory comedy, good. Watch if you have time. Nothing spectacular.

Doomsday movie review ” Thought provoking, yet relaxing , action-packed entertainment- emotions or humour can be found elsewhere though”. – (8.5/10)

Doomsday movie review ” Thought provoking, yet relaxing , action-packed entertainment- emotions or humour can be found elsewhere though”. – (8.5/10)

 

Intro
Apocalyptic zombie/infection movie from 2008. Released one year prior to zombieland. Zombieland is detailed in my previous blog review. Enjoy. This film however, has twists, turns, corruption and leaves no stone unturned. The ending keeps you guessing till it arrives, and the plot won’t leave the curious mind-numbed. The ebb and flow of the action, keeps you on your toes enough at all times to concentrate for the entire 1hr 50 duration.

Plot
There was great setting the scene with clear virus and quarantine themes. The plot was more complex than zombieland but pitched on a more serious level. Action was alternated with silent calm periods well. This allowed for thoughts to be discussed well. The emotions were never heart felt though resulting in a lack of attachment to the characters. This was perhaps due to silence, and emotionless expressions dominating. The plot intensity took a while to build, yet relative to the long movie length, this felt appropriate and well considered. It was a shame that humour also seemed lacking.

Characters

The acting was highly enthusiastic and very believable with all character thoughts. The mission was not too obvious and twists and turns unravelled in a tense and exciting way throughout the bulk of the movie. There were a range of personalities. Some loud others quiet and cowardly. The range of settings and environments the characters explored, allowed their abilities to be truly tested and demonstrated. This also permitted interest throughout a rather long movie duration.

Music
The music tension was built up well and appropriately creepy tunes were selected for certain scenes. It was only employed in action to contrast well with calmer scenes.

Summary
A well pitched apocalyptic movie with enough uncertainty to unravel in an interesting non predictable way. The film had sufficient action for it’s length and only suffered from a slight lack of humour and emotion. The build up could have been slightly quicker. Strong ending though.

Zombieland – “Sci-fi action with predictable turns” – (6/10)

Zombie land film review (6/10)

Plot

The Zombieland characters were very well played and had their own rather unique personality traits. The plot was clever in terms of maintaining viewer understanding and interest with a lot of action. It included comedy in places and a variety of scenes and personalities to enhance the viewer enjoyment.

 The issue with the plot is for one it was highly predictable, and for a second point it didn’t really have much variation once the story background was understood. This could have benefitted from a better ending and explanation of the cause of the situation shown from the start of the movie.

I would suggest a cliff hanger or better progression to a set point to enhance the film ending. The beginning sets the scene well enough for effective plot understanding however, but as the film goes on, the number of surprises begins to fall dramatically until the fizzle out ending which just isn’t punchy. Don’t let me put you off viewing though as I certainly don’t regret watching and I feel this film is worth 1 and a half hours of any Post-apocalyptic Sci-fi fans’ time.

Summary

I would recommend a watch due to the action-packed nature and modest film length to keep the film as an interesting watch as intended. It isn’t hard to predict the ending however, and their aren’t many twists once the backstory is understood.

Waddle Goose Cyder “Refreshingly free from Backstory. Natural and fruity with tang though- (7.5/10).

Waddle Goose cyder ” Refreshingly free from a backstory. Natural and fruity, with a noticeable tang though” -(7.5/10).

Packaging

With a dark bottle, and bright striking white with orange pattern, you could easily be fooled by the ciders exuberant exterior. It shouts more of the Churchwards’ cider which was pretending to be something it wasn’t, than the Sxollie which attempts to be hip. This isn’t typically a negative, as packaging appropriate to it’s target audience is what every drink should aim for. Whether this is an appropriate to the drink or not.

In this case though, it doesn’t really reassure you. It’s an Aspalls cider. One of the many drinks descended from the 1728 est. factory near Debenham. A rural suffolk town. This historically has upheld various traditions. One would be to illustrate how the cider fits into it’s history, or stick to one colour per cider product showing discrete clarity. It could even be, to possess a bottle shape resembling that of a champagne-like form, most other aspalls bottles have done this since 1930. This was part of their history to create a “Special drink” like champagne itself. If you ask me it is also one of the main USP’s of Aspalls.

At first glance then, it seems rather disappointing. The bottle is shaped like that of Evian, or another dull tasting, or indistinctive product.

At £1.60 for the bottle from Waitrose, and 4.6% ABV, this means you’d have to fork out £3.20 to be just over the recommended “do not regularly exceed” limit of 3-4 units per adult man daily. This would put you at 4.6 units …

Not the cheapest then either … You do get 500ml though, which isn’t a bad capacity.

It mentions how it takes a fresh approach to Apple selection. Not using Worcester spartan or Cox, yet favouring others such as Gala and Zari. With Royal Gala being a sweet eating apple, I wondered if the cider would be nice and sweet.
Mouth-wateringly crisp and flavoursome were 2 of the traits said to be apparent on the blurb. There is nothing else though, except the announcement of ” refreshment deserves a refresh”.

Why not improve and develop rather than overhaul to refresh with a new product though. The history, bottle shape and light flavour is what made aspalls unique in my mind. This didn’t mention any of that. The motto then seems to be forget and move on , rather than refresh, which I didn’t yet, having not tasted the drink, agree with.

We shall see …

 

Smell

The smell was natural and not synthetic. Not especially potent however, and quite ephemeral. I would suggest that it is a product which hasn’t the addition of unnecessary chemicals though. It quickly fades away, and not much of a fizzy head emerges, suggesting light carbonation. Not an unpleasant smell though, which entices you in to the first sip.

Taste

On first sip, the limited carbonation is clear. The fruitiness is also present in the flavour. It is a pleasant, slightly sharp, appley flavour which goes quickly, and leaves your mouth feeling rough. There is no bitter aftertaste and no real aftertaste at all. It does leave a strong crater of dryness however. The flavour doesn’t seem especially complex, and isn’t overly warming. It is pleasant though, almost resembling a refreshing green eating apple.

This is by far the best thing about the drink…

The pleasant flavour, complemented by refreshing tang from the apples perfect level of acidity. Except for dryness though, there isn’t much to get excited about. The complexity and backstory of some ciders make them stand out. I want a story about nature, or an orchard, and then could possibly get more excited about this.

The element of sweetness is disguised by the natural Appley flavour, which does develop well through drinking. I feel the lack of noticeable sweetness is not much of an issue therefore. The flavour doesn’t have an aftertaste and dies fairly quickly which is a shame though. A little more carbonation may have helped this.

 

Summary

A pleasant dry cider which isn’t described in any way on the packaging. The drink is subtle and pleasant yet nothing too spectacular. Light carbonation, yet fading away quickly along with the enjoyment.