DAY OF THE FLOWERS

4 out of 10

Release date: 29th November 2013

Director: John Roberts (Paulie / War of the Buttons)

Cast: Eva Birthistle, Charity Wakefield, Carlos Acosta, Bryan Dick, Christopher Simpson and Phyllis Logan

Writer: Eirene Houston

Trailer: DAY OF THE FLOWERS

UnknownHere comes an unexpected rom-com / chick flick splattered across a travelogue / left-wing fantasy.  I think Day of the Flowers began as a serious look into a families past and a hunt for old ghosts on the other side of the world. Somebody read one of the drafts and had a really shit idea to turn it into a spritely and cute comedy.  This may have worked if the makers had thought to make either of their female leads remotely likeable or convincing but they didn’t – they did the opposite. Actually, I have met women this ‘fucking’ infuriating in the past so I take back saying the leads were unconvincing, maybe it’s just that I can spot idiots like these miles off so I avoid them in real life – and that it’s been a while.

Two sisters, Rosa (EVE BIRTHISTLE – AE FOND KISS) and Ailie (CHARITY WAKEFIELD – SERENA) steal their father’s ashes from their evil step-mother (PHYLLIS LOGAN – SOFT TOP HARD SHOULDER) and run off to Cuba to scatter them where her Mother is buried on the Day of the Flowers.  For no reason other than to bulk out the cast, Rosa has invited fellow street socialist Conway (BRYAN DICK – BLEAK HOUSE) (who wore a kilt everywhere – which nobody seemed to pass comment on) and they go on a road trip – which included following some pretty obvious clues.  In the melee, the father’s ashes get confiscated, they draw some unsavoury attention for a local hustler Ernesto (CHRISTOPHER SIMPSON – MISCHIEF NIGHT) and a caring and fluffy local Tomas (CARLOS ACOSTA – NEW YORK I LOVE YOU). Will Rosa be hoodwinked by the evil Ernesto only to be saved from herself by Tomas? Of course. Is Conway’s only purpose to provide an insipid love interest for Ailee, of course. Are there well sign-posted revelations about parental heritage to be discovered and wept over? Well, yes. Is this predictability enjoyable, hell no.

The only things I can recommend you see Day of the Flowers for are Cuba itself, and the music. So mostly Day of the Flowers delivers for those that want to visit one day, and for those that want to return one day. The acting isn’t bad. Wakefield (who isn’t Scottish) doesn’t quite nail her accent and comes across as shrill and annoying. Everybody else is accomplished enough but its not enough to give this trudge in a hot country anything to write home about. It’s hard to see who would enjoy this movie, as it’s too strange to be a TV time but too safe and niche to attract a cinema audience. It may be after the ‘grey’ pound – shooting to be a light counterpart to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – but it’s too lightly sketched and shallow.

4 out of 10 – Reasonably well acted – sadly it’s too boring and annoying to recommend.  A potentially interesting and deep story about discovering who you really are and who your parents were is abandoned in the search for ‘cute’ laughs and the road more travelled.  For Cuban nostalgics alone, and even then….

Check out Matt Floppy Flowers Usher’s review below

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Eva Birthistle: Wake Wood, Waking The Dead (TV), The Children, Imagine Me & You, Breakfast On Pluto, Borstal Boy, Ae Fond Kiss
  • Charity Wakefield: Scar Tissue, Serena
  • Carlos Acosta: New York I Love You
  • Bryan Dick: The Numbers Station, I Anna, Bleak House (TV)
  • Christopher Simpson: Sixteen, It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, Brick Lane, Mischief Night
  • Phyllis Logan: Downton Abbey (TV), Nativity, Shooting Fish, Secrets and Lies, Soft Top Hard Shoulder, Freddie as FR07, The Doctor and The Devils

GREEN STREET 3

5 out of 10

Release date: 21st October 2013 (DVD Premiere)

Director: James Nunn (The Eliminators / Tower Block)

Cast: Scott Adkins, Jack Doolan, Kacey Barnfield, Joey Ansah, Spencer Wilding, Josh Myers, Roberta Taylor, George Russo, Carlton Leach with Billy Cook and Mark Wingett

Writer: Ronnie Thompson

Trailer: GREEN STREET 3

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I have to confess to not having seen Green Street 2, but I did see the first Green Street movie when it was released on the cinema. It  was jaw droppingly bad and inauthentic, hobbled by bad accents and a confused and miscast leading man Elijah Wood.  Green Street 3 has a tiny advantage in that the lead actor is Scott Adkins – who can actually half-convince as a fighter. He also has unrealised potential as a comedian as Green Street 3 is one of those rare films, a bad film that is actually so bad it’s funny. I watched it with my wife and a few friends and we were laughing all the way through it.  Shame really because it wasn’t designed to be funny at all.

Green Street 3 starts with Danny’s (SCOTT ADKINS – RE-KILL) brother (son of David Essex BILLY COOK – TRAVELLER) getting himself killed in a meet between soccer firms. Danny’s come to lead his old firm back to glory whilst finding out who ‘did’ his bruvver. On his return he realises that the fights have gone underground and are now quite organised – taking place off the street so that the police involvement is minimal. Also money can be made by running a league not unlike the actually players’ league. Danny has a hunch that his brother’s killer is a firm leader – so he trains his own firm up for the greatest showdown the fight league has ever seen.

Like a dopey spoof of Fight Club – Green Street 3 revolve around a series of tournaments and endless scenes of our heroes downING beers, singing at the top of their voices, slow motion fights and some hilarious montages in the gym. Mark Wingett (THE BILL) even pops up as a Burgess Meredith-Rocky style sea-dog trainer type in a Boston Strangler beanie. I half expected to see him sat cross legged sat on Scott Adkins back as the latter does press-ups. There’s a great scene in which Danny calls for his fellow thugs for a jog in the morning – the montage sees 1 jogger fade up to a team of 10 running in slow motion towards the camera. Poor Jack Doolan (MAY I KILL U?) continues his trawl of bad movies in search of a break as Gilly, the previous leader of Danny’s firm. Elsewhere in the cast we have a saucy lady Molly the bar maid (KACEY BARNFIELD – RESIDENT EVIL 4) who’s been wheeled on as a supposed love interest. She gets to flash her loo loos at Danny and then is pretty much sidelined for the duration. Producer and fight choreographer, Joey Ansah (UFO) turns up as a policeman who used to be Danny’s best pal. He has to prove that he’s still ‘got it’ by kicking a can of John Smith‘s off Danny’s head – in another piece of comic genius. The soundtrack is also to blame for the disproportionate levels of laughter aimed at Green Street 3. During the montages there is a lightweight cover version of Survivor’s ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ and a mad synth rock tune called ‘Pushing Back’. So with about 7 montages to get through this is almost a musical by default – what with all the football chants as well.

The cinematography betrays the fact that someone with a degree of talent was employed behind the scenes. Flood lit scenes and nicely lit night shots are prevalent and up the production value of the film exponentially – but on the whole the shonky acting, non-existent script and the endless training scenes strand Green Street 3 in the cheap bins. Even the fight scenes are sub-par. And there’s no excuse for this as the ultra-cheap Ten Dead Men‘s fight scenes proves you don’t need money to feature excellent and well staged combat. Scott Adkins’ onscreen fight skills are usually more fluid and acrobatic than the ones on display here. Maybe that was the intention because Danny isn’t a bounty hunter like his characters in The Expendables 2 or The Tournament for instance. Still, it was all clunky. I’m also recalling a fight scene in which an extra charges across the screen (left to right) mid-fight with someone on his shoulders yelling at the top of his voice! Pure comedy. Luckily Green Street 3 is punctuated with so many unintentionally funny bits I can recommend it on the basis that its entertains.  It does end with one of the best Schwarzenegger-style pay off lines I’ve heard in many year – so for that alone it gets ‘1’ extra point.

5 out of 10 – Diabolical, but so unintentionally funny you have to watch it with friends. The Hooligan Factory has got its work cut out if it wants to be the funniest film about Football hooligans to come out of the UK.  Nice to see Scott Adkins in a UK film all the same.

Read JOE PESCI II aka MATT USHER’s Review Below!!!

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

BASELINE

5 out of 10

Release Date: 12th July 2010 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Rishi Opel (The Grind)

Cast: Jamie Foreman, Freddie Connor, Gordon Alexander, Zoe Tapper, Kellie Shirley, Brenden Lovett, Gemma Atkinson, Joan Hodges, Jay Brown, Raji James, Rez Kempton with Gary Stretch and Dexter Fletcher

Writer: Freddie Connor

Trailer: BASELINE

Review by Matt Usher

BASELINE -nuLife rarely gives you a second chance, so when it does, you should grab it with both hands. I guess this thought went through the minds of the makers of BASELINE but it doesn’t explain why they thought it was a good idea to remake a film as poor as THE GRIND. And still come up with a poor film. BASELINE is a remake and elaboration of the events seen in THE GRIND, using mostly the same actors. Although BASELINE is a vast improvement, I can’t understand why they didn’t spend their money making a completely different film instead.

Context is everything. Anyone stumbling on BASELINE would (I hope) dismiss it as a not particularly interesting fairly run of the mill London gangsters film. But watch it immediately after THE GRIND and it’s like watching SCHINDLER’S LIST immediately after SHOWGIRLS. But what fool is going to watch BASELINE after watching THE GRIND (or vice versa) (apart from me)?

The plot concerns a young man played by Freddie Connor (GYPO) who dreams of one day owning his very own nightclub. Meanwhile he works as a bouncer at Jamie Foreman’s (THE FOOTBALL FACTORY) nightclub (just like in THE GRIND). There he meets the love of his life (Zoe Tapper (CHEERFUL WEATHER FOR THE WEDDING), who gets much more to do than in THE GRIND where she just had to look mildly peeved, though her main character trait here appears to be ‘is bad at housework’) but the course of true love runs not smooth because here’s Gordon Alexander (DON’T LET HIM IN) again as Connor’s buddy. He’s one of Foreman’s henchmen and they (including Dexter Fletcher (AGE OF KILL) – luxury casting in a small (but not cameo) role, and yet he’s actually quite bad) (strange how Fletcher always seems to have an off-day whenever he’s loitering about in these low-budget anti-spectaculars) go along to sort out a (possibly foreign) rival gangster played by boxing legend Gary Stretch (FINAL COMBINATION). The plan goes awry and Gordon Alexander goes to jail. Meanwhile Connor gets a nice promotion and moves in with Tapper while Alexander loses his girlfriend (played by the ever-reliable Kellie Shirley (GBH) – not that any film-maker seems to know what to do with her).

So that’s the prequel bit. The remainder of the film is a retread and re-tweak of THE GRIND as Alexander leaves jail, finds himself heavily in debt to Foreman, guilt-trips Connor into handing over his life savings (thus destroying Connor’s dream of nightclub ownership), imperils all around him and winds up involved in a deeply improbable warehouse-based showdown with some burly bald thugs who have been thugging about all over the place, some of whom may or may not be the burly bald thugs fielded in THE GRIND.

One of the few interesting things about THE GRIND was how it refused to give the audience any easy answers (like who these people are and how they know each other). BASELINE answers all those questions, and retells the whole story and is an altogether more accomplished film, but in doing so it irons out any ambiguity. On the plus side, although only about 12 minutes longer, BASELINE fits in a lot more plot, more characterization and has significantly fewer duff dance sequences in the lame nightclub (now called Baseline rather than The Grind, because that would have just been confusing).

The actors all fare better, though one wonders why they came back for a second go. Freddie Connor is considerably better, but still doesn’t convince as a hard man, though that’s partly the point. Gordon Alexander is better this time partly because he has less to do, and therefore has less screen time to expose his weaknesses. It is a testament to his lack of acting skill that despite being an almost blameless victim it is almost impossible to dredge up even a scintilla of sympathy for his character (yes, I know I just said that he was much better, and that’s true, but that doesn’t mean he’s actually good – I don’t know whether he should get points for persevering or penalties for not knowing when to give up). The more famous names also turn in decent performances (except for Dexter Fletcher). Jamie Foreman again gets it just right, avoiding the OTT excesses he can be prone to.

As with THE GRIND, the music has a lot to do, and although not great, it still manages to upstage most of the cast. They’ve also found a much better nightclub location, and they’ve managed to film it a lot better. Presumably much of this is down to the new director. Poor director Rishi Opel seems to have got the push and been replaced by Brendon O’Loughlin. And this is perhaps the thing: both BASELINE and THE GRIND tell the usual story. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the lesser film has ‘inspired’ the later film, using many of the same cast and creatives, and that seems to be a much more interesting story in itself.

That’s not to suggest that BASELINE is completely negligible. Although hackneyed, it’s a quite good story, with some interesting and relevant themes. It may be that the film-makers are completely oblivious of this, but they have made a resolutely Marxist film criticising the pursuit of capital and the control of that capital by champagne-swigging layabouts who do nothing more than instil fear in the workers who they bleed dry. Early in the film Alexander is in debt to Foreman. He ends up being the fall guy in the confrontation with some other gangsters so he pops off to jail for a few years, assuming that his debt would be cancelled in return for his silence. Alas for him, his employer/creditor disagrees. So clearly the film is a meditation on the spiralling nature of debt, and it becomes a metaphor for a Britain where the poor have literally been required to pay for the misdeeds of the rich, the poor then supinely accepting the blame. It is of course entirely possible that none of this ever entered the film-makers’ heads, which goes to show what they know.

Judging BASELINE on its own merits, it proves itself to be an effective enough film which has a simple story which is told with economy and restraint, and which (just about) avoids outstaying its welcome, but is nevertheless a cold, dull and pointless exercise. But I’m sure its makers would prefer it if I compared it to THE GRIND:  where THE GRIND was dreary, BASELINE is moderately energetic, where THE GRIND was overstretched, BASELINE is reasonably compact, and where THE GRIND was full of lifeless characters going through the motions, BASELINE, oh hang on. You know what, watch something else instead.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR BEFORE?

CUCKOO

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 17th December 2010

Director: Richard Bracewell (Bill)

Cast: Laura Fraser, Richard E. Grant, Antonia Bernath, Adam Fenton with Tamsin Grieg and Richard Brake

Writer: Richard Bracewell

Trailer: CUCKOO

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

VIKING – THE DARKEST DAY

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 2nd November 2013 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Chris Crow (The Lighthouse (2016) / Panic Button / Devil’s Bridge)

Cast: Marc Pickering, Joshua Richards, Mark Lewis Jones, Elen Rhys, Christopher Godwin, Gary Mavers, Jason May, Sarah Parks and Michael Jibson

Writer: Chris Crow & Graham Davidson

Trailer: VIKING – THE DARKEST DAY

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

THE SELFISH GIANT

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 25th October 2013 

Director: Clio Barnard (The Arbor)

Cast: Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder, Siobhan Finneran, Rebecca Manley, Lorraine Ashbourne, Ian Burfield, Ralph Ineson with Steve Evets and Elliott Tittensor

Writer: Clio Barnard

Trailer: THE SELFISH GIANT

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

DOCTOR WHO – DAY OF THE DOCTOR

5.5 out of 10

Release date: 23rd November 2013

Director: Nick Hurran (It’s a Boy Girl Thing / Little Black Book / Virtual Sexuality / Girl’s Night / Remember Me?)

Cast: Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt, Jenna Coleman, Joanna Page, Jemma Redgrave with Tom Baker and Billie Piper

Featured extras: Christopher Eccleston, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Peter Davidson, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, William Hartnell

Writer: Steven Moffat

Trailer: DOCTOR WHO – DAY OF THE DOCTOR 

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The 50th Anniversary of the first BBC broadcast of Doctor Who was celebrated by a one off cinematic event in 3D that was simultaneously released on the TV and on-demand (I think). So hence its inclusion as a film here on Britpic. Far less cinematic entries have made it on to our pages so we made an executive decision to include it.  Both myself, Britpic Dick and Joe Pesci II saw it (myself at the cinema and Joe at home in his lair).  Joe Pesci II is a long time WHO-ster (or Whoo-derphile), I am not but I rarely get around to seeing any TV shows. So for a Dr Who fans’ perspective read below (at the foot of the page). For a review of the ‘film’ as a standalone experience – carry on!

The plot as it goes sees the current Dr Who (MATT SMITH – CLONE) summoned to the National Gallery to look at a painting which appears to be that of his extinct planet Gallifrey from which some figures seem to have escaped. Meanwhile previous Dr Who (DAVID TENNANT – FRIGHT NIGHT) is to be found in Elizabethan England on the trail of a Zygon invasion. Even more meanwhile a third Dr Who (JOHN HURT – ALIEN) has decided to end the time war between the Daleks and the Time Lords once and for all but at what cost? That’s all I could fathom without help.

I haven’t seen any Dr Who episodes since the days of Peter Davidson and I kind of lost interest when Colin Baker took over. So it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten around to giving Dr Who any attention. I was curious to see how this ‘toe in the water’ approach to a ‘real’ Dr Who movie would work. On the whole I think it’s very good that they’ve made little concession towards non-fans. It’s refreshing to see a ‘spin-off’ that doesn’t try to win new fans but is more interested in rewarding it’s millions of followers.  I found elements of the humour very funny and I liked the chemistry between Smith and Tennant.  Also the cheap-er TV show special effects weren’t that bad. The 3D was way sharper than I’ve seen in the majority of large budget Holloywood behemoths.  The length of the scenes between each edit were shorter and it was a very lean cut with no space for pretty establishing shots. This Dr Who was all about forward momentum on the plot.

SPOILER: Much has been made about the cameos – which by now are no secret (only looking at the cast list below will reveal its secrets). But the film also does well out of a game supporting cast of lesser known and previously underused name actors like Jemma Redgrave (HOWARD’S END). John Hurt is good value as the oldest in this line of Doctors. Most of them play it broadly but moments of sadness and pathos still translate with some fans weaping into their popcorn audibly. Good on them. And the story sees a major page turned for the next 50 years. I enjoyed what I could follow but still needed to be briefed on what I couldn’t make head or tail of – which at times felt like Matrix levels worth of exposition and expansion. My fault for not being a fan. If this wasn’t the film to please fans then I really don’t know what would please them.

5.5 out of 10 – One for the followers is this. There is fun to had for the newbie but if this is for the Whooderphiles amongst you, if you aren’t then  please go/view with someone who is a fan, then they can explain what the bejesus is happening. I await a Dr Who movie with baited breath.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Matt Smith: Terminator 5, Lost River, Dr Who (TV), Clone
  • David Tennant: Broadchurch (TV), What We Did On Our Holiday, Postman Pat Movie (voice), Nativity 2, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (voice), The Decoy Bride, Fright Night (2011), St Trinians 2, Glorious 39, Dr Who (TV), Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire, LA Without a Map
  • Jenna Coleman: Dr Who (TV), Waterloo Road (TV), Emmerdale (TV)
  • Joanna Page: Breathless (TV), Nativity 2, Gavin and Stacey (TV), Love Actually, Very Annie Mary
  • Jemma Redgrave: Lassie (2005), I’ll Be There, The Acid House, Bramwell (TV), Buddha Of Suburbia (TV), Howard’s End
  • John Hurt: Snowpiercer, Hercules (2014), Only Lovers Left Alive, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,  Immortals (2011), Brighton Rock (2011),  Harry Potter 1,7 & 8, Melancholia,  New York I Love You, 44 Inch Chest, The Limits Of Control, V For Vendetta, Hellboy 1 & 2, Outlander, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Perfume, The Oxford Murders, The Skeleton Key, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,  The Proposition, Lost Souls, Contact, Night Train, You’re Dead, All The Little Animals, Love and Death On Long Island, WIld Bill (1995), Dead Man, Rob Roy, Second Best, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, Monolith, King Ralph, The Field, Scandal, White Mischief, Heaven’s Gate, The Elephant Man, 1984, Watership Down (voice), Midnight Express, Alien, The Naked Civil Servant, 10 Rillington Place, Little Malcolm
  • Tom Baker:  Little Britain (narrator) (TV),  Monarch Of The Glen (TV), Randall & Hopkirk Deceased (TV), Dungeons & Dragons, Medics (TV), Cluedo (TV), Blackadder 2 (TV), Dr Who (TV), The Golden Age of Sinbad, Nicholas and Alexandra
  • Billie Piper: Secret Diary of a Call Girl (TV), Spirit Trap, The Calcium Kid, Dr Who (TV)
  • Christopher Eccleston: Legend (2015), Fortitude (TV), Thor 2, Song For Marion, GI Joe, Dr Who (TV), 28 Days Later, The Others, Gone In 60 Seconds, Existenz, Elizabeth I, Jude, Our Friends In The North (TV), Shallow Grave, Cracker (TV), Anchoress, Let Him Have It
  • Paul McGann: Pressure (voice), Dr Who (TV), Luther (TV), Lesbian Vampire Killers, Gypo, Queen Of The Damned, My Kingdom, Downtime, The Three Musketeers (1994), Alien 3, Afraid Of The Dark, Paper Mask, Dealers, The Rainbow, Empire of the Sun, Withnail & I, The Monocled Mutineer
  • Sylvester McCoy: The Devil Rides Out, The Hobbit – Battle of the Five Armies, The Christmas Candle, The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, Highway To Hell (2012), Dr Who (TV), Jigsaw (TV)
  • Colin Baker: Dr Who (TV), The Brothers (TV)
  • Peter Davison: Law and Order (UK), The Last Detective (TV), At Home With The Braithwaites (TV), Parting Shots, Black Beauty (1994), All Creatures Great and Small (TV), Campion (TV), Dr Who (TV),  The Hitchhikers’ Guide To The Galaxy (TV)
  • Jon Pertwee: Carry On Columbus, Worzel Gummidge (TV), The Boys In Blue, One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing, Dr Who (TV), The House that Dripped Blood, Carry On Screaming, No1 Of The Secret Service, Carry On Cowboy, Carry On Cleo, Ladies Who Do
  • Patrick Troughton: Inspector Morse (TV), The Two of Us (TV), Dr Who (TV), The Two Ronnies (TV), The Box of Delights (TV), The Omen, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, Scars of Dracula, The Viking Queen, The Gorgon, Jason and the Argonauts, Richard III, Hamlet
  • William Hartnell: Dr Who (TV), Heavens Above!, This Sporting Life, The Night We Dropped a Clanger, The Army Game (TV), The Mouse That Roared, Carry On Sergeant, Hell Drivers, Private’s Progress, The Pickwick Papers, The Magic Box, Brighton Rock, Odd Man Out, The Way Ahead