LOCKE

3 out of 10

Release Date: 11th April 2014

Director: Stephen Knight (Hummingbird)

Cast: Tom Hardy

Voice Cast: Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Danny Webb, Alice Lowe, Silas Carson, Kirsty Dillon, Lee Ross with Bill Milner and Tom Holland

Writer: Stephen Knight

Trailer: LOCKE

Unknown-2To be proofread: Don’t believe the hype. Locke is like overtime at work. The gimmick in how to dramatise and make a one man film thrilling is a failure in my book. The film revolves around a series of escalating dramas that descend on Tom Hardy’s (TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY) titular Mr Locke. Over the course of 90 minutes we witness Locke make or receive a stack of phone calls or talk to the invisible ghost of his father in the back seat of his car. If this race against time involved anything remotely interesting as opposed to situations that could have been avoided if our protagonist was less stubborn or less bloody minded. What we have here is a visually drab soap opera. It’s second hand Home and Away with a dash of work stress thrown in.  In this world of mobile phones and social media it was only a matter of time before we were faced with a film were a character’s whole life is changed remotely, without even having to move from his seat.

Plot one involves a former one-night stand (OLIVIA COLMAN – CUBAN FURY) who is in a London hospital having a baby and whom Locke feels the need to be at the birth and abandon his wife and kids on match night. Plot two involves him stepping away from a massive once in a lifetime job which involves taking delivery of a record load of concrete.  Will he lose his job and be able to save the day remotely over the phone? Do i give a fuck? I work hard enough as it is not have this kind of shit disguising itself as a cinematic drama. A plot cliff hanger dangles off whether or not a civil servant can be reached after hours to open a road. Is life so dull in the UK that we’re making fake thrillers about out of hours phone lines? I think Locke should have done his job and sneakily drove to London the following day – all sorted.  It’s a well-acted waste of 90 minutes.

Then there’s Tom Hardy‘s performance. It’s a strong performance and it needs to be. However, he’s sporting one of the strangest Welsh accents I’ve ever heard and his character isn’t that interesting. Small clues like a registration plate that almost spells ‘adios’ and a Help For Heroes tax disc and wristband on show through out also give us a picture of somebody that supports our soldiers and military stance indicating that he’s a ‘salt of the Earth’ type. He’s just a bit of a bore. Not my idea of a movie hero. A single hander like Locke needed to have more at stake but it’s a small drama blew up into a load of unnecessary histrionics.  Both situations resolve themselves thanks to steady Locke but ultimately I was left bored, cold and irritated by the low stakes storyline. It could have been about anything yet it stays close to home and goes into too much detail on the work side of things. Even the immersive cinematography and motorway locations cannot save this from being a tedious reflection of our own lives – where work concerns masquerade as life-or-death dramas. Concrete? The Chicago Office? A character called Bastard (BEN DANIELS – LUNA) all sent me sleep.

3 out of 10 – Over hyped, low-stakes, flashy soap opera with ambition that tries something different but not different enough.  I suspect ‘writer’s bLOCKE ‘ plagued this tedious Tom Hardy show-off special.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN OR HEARD THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

YASMIN

7.5 out of 10

Release Date: 28th October 2004 

Director: Kenneth Glenaan (Summer (2008))

Cast: Archie Panjabi, Renu Setna, Steve Jackson, Syed Ahmed, Shahid Ahmed with Gary Lewis and Baddi Uzzaman

Writer: Simon Beaufoy

Trailer:  YASMIN

REVIEW COMING SOON

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Archie Panjabi: San Andreas, The Infidel, Traitor, A Mighty Heart, I Could Never Be Your Woman, Chromophobia, A Good Year, The Constant Gardener, Code 46, Bend It Like Beckham, East Is East
  • Steve Jackson: Doctors (TV),  Coronation St (TV)
  • Syed Ahmed: Bradford Riots
  • Shahid Ahmed: Salvage, 28 Weeks Later, Mischief Night, Syriana
  • Gary Lewis: Catch Me Daddy, Not Another Happy Ending, FilthWhen The Lights Went OutNeds, Valhalla Rising, Eragon, True North,  Goal 3, Ae Fond Kiss, Gangs Of New York, Goal!, Shiner, Billy Eliiott, Gregory’s Girl 2, The Match, East Is East, Orphans, My Name Is Joe, My Name Is Joe
  • Badi Uzzaman: The Baby Juice Express, Brothers In Trouble, The Buddha of Suburbia (TV), K2, Tandoori Nights (TV), Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, My Beautiful Laundrette

THE LOVE PUNCH

2.5 out of 10

Release Date: 18th April 2014 

Director: Joel Hopkins (Last Chance Harvey / Jump Tomorrow)

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson, Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie, Louise Bourgoin, Laurent LaFitte, Jack Wilkinson and Tuppence Middleton

Writer: Joel Hopkins

Trailer: THE LOVE PUNCH

REVIEW COMING SOON

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Pierce Brosnan: A Christmas Star, No Escape (2015), Survivor (2015), The November Man, A Long Way Down, Love Is All You Need, The World’s End, Remember Me, The Ghost, Percy Jackson, Mamma Mia!, Married Life, Seraphim Falls, The Matador, After The SUnset, Laws Of Attraction, James Bond – Die Another Day, Evelyn, The Tailor Of Panama, James Bond – The World Is Not Enough, Grey Owl, The Match, Thomas Crown Affair (1999), James Bond – Tomorrow Never Dies, The Nephew, Dante’s Peak, Mars Attacks, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Mrs Doubtfire, The Lawnmower Man, The Deceivers, The Fourth Protocol, Remington Steele (TV), Nomads, The Long Good Friday
  • Emma Thompson: Walk In The Woods, The Legend of Barney Thomson, Effie Gray, Saving Mr Banks, Beautiful Creatures (2013), Brave (voice), Men In Black 3, Harry Potter – parts 3, 4 & 8, Nanny McPhee 2, The Boat That Rocked, An Education, Last Chance Harvey, Brideshead Revisted, I Am Legend, Stranger Than Fiction, Nanny McPhee, Love Actually, Maybe Baby, Primary Colours, The Winter Guest, Sense and Sensibility, Carrington, Junior, My Father The Hero (1994), In The Name of the Father, The Remains of the Day, Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Peter’s Friends, Howard’s End, Dead Again, Impromptu, Henry V, The Tall Guy, Thompson (TV), Fortunes of War (TV), Tutti Frutti (TV), The Young Ones (TV)
  • Timothy Spall: Away, Mr TurnerThe RiseLove Bite, Comes a Bright Day, Ginger and RosaThe King’s Speech, Harry Potter – parts 3 – 8, Wake Wood, Reuniting The Rubins, Heartless,  Alice In Wonderland (2011) (voice), Apaloosa, The Damned Utd, Sweeney Todd, Pierrepoint, Lemony Snickets Series of Unfortunate Events, The Last Samurai, Nicholas Nickleby (2002),  All Or Nothing, Vanilla Sky, Rock Star, Lucky Break, Chicken Run (voice), Loves Labours Lost,  Topsy Turvy, Still Crazy, Wisdom Of Crocodiles, Hamlet (1996), Secrets & Lies, Life Is Sweet, The Sheltering Sky, White Hunter Black Heart, To Kill a Priest, The Missionary, Auf Wierdesen Pet (TV), Quadrophenia
  • Celia Imrie: Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Nativity 3What We Did On Our Holiday, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, St Trinians 2, Nanny McPhee, St Trinians, Imagine Me & You, Wah-Wah, Bridget Jones  2, Wimbledon, Calendar Girls, Heartlands, Thunderpants, Bridget Jones, Lucky Break, Gormenghast (TV), Dinner Ladies (TV), Star Wars – The Phantom Menace, Hilary & Jackie, The Borrowers (1997), In The Bleak Midwinter, Frankenstein (1994)
  • Louise Bourgoin: The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sac
  • Laurent LaFitte: Little White Lies, Tell No One, Crimson Rivers
  • Tuppence Middleton: Spooks – The Greater Good, Jupiter Ascending, The Imitation Game, A Long Way DownTrance, Trap For CinderellaCleanskinSkeletonsChatroom, Tormented

PARKED

5 out of 10

Ireland Film

Release Date: 25th November 2011 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Darragh Byrne

Cast: Colm Meaney, Colin Morgan, Milka Ahlroth, Stuart Graham, Michael McElhatton, Mark Butler, Diarmuid Noyes and David Wilmot

Writer: Ciaran Creagh

Trailer: PARKED

REVIEW COMING SOON

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

DEAD OF THE NITE

3 out of 10

Release Date: 24th March 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: SJ Evans

Cast: Gary Mavers, Joseph Millson, Cicely Tennant, Rachel Littlemac, Stuart Boother, Simone Kaye, Simon Bamford with Paul Fox and Tony Todd

Writer: SJ Evans

Trailer: DEAD OF THE NITE

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To Be Proofread and edited: Dead Of The Nite begins with a level of intrigue but sadly reveals itself to be yet another lacklustre ‘found-footage’ flick.  A half competent framing device that looks beyond the footage is reasonably well-acted by the more experienced actors in the cast, but the lions share of proceedings are hampered by a repetitive, dumb and unforgivably unscary rendition of things that go ‘Bump In the Night!’. So whilst we’re treated to b-movie shenanigans of having American horror-icon Tony Todd (CANDYMAN) sparring with a pair of dopey police detectives played by Scouse plank Gary Mavers (VIKING – THE DARKEST DAY) and Joseph Millson (DEVIL’S BRIDGE) – we are then subjected to amateur dramatics as a group of young filmmakers get stalked by a ghost in a haunted mansion. In fact Dead Of The Nite could have been directed by two separate people bearing in mind the contrasting quality.

Detective Jenkins (GARY MAVERS) is in charge of a murder investigation. Five filmmakers have been found stabbed to death at a haunted mansion but handily they’ve left all their footage behind. Only the spooky caretaker, Mr. Rubert (TONY TODD) seems to have the vaguest idea of what’s going on and he tells the detectives a delicious ghost story. After he is released from police custody after a lack of evidence ties him to the slayings, Jenkins and Detective Anderson (JOSEPH MILLSON) begin to sift through the footage hoping to catch a glimpse of the killer.

For once Gary Mavers puts in a passable performance and seems engaged with the material.Matching him with a mild dash of ham and mustard is the brilliant Tony Todd, who can do scary in his sleep. He is one of these classically trained actors that have gotten lost in the horror genre, never to come up for air in the realms of the mainstream ever again. With three major horror franchises under his belt (FINAL DESTINATION, HATCHET and CANDYMAN) he’s got ample form in this kind of thing and he is the only reason for watching Dead of The Nite. If he had gotten himself a glimpse of the central section of the film being shot he probably would have experienced some embarrassment and disappeared in a puff of smoke!

What plays out in the found-footage is a sad remake of any number of Blair Witch Project imitators. Unwittingly, the first rule of the mock-umentary is ignored. To convince us that what we’re watching is real footage and not a film, the acting needs to be especially natural. But in this case, we’re treated to four out of five balsa wood idiots fumbling around in the dark and without purpose or skill. The only professional amongst them is the long lost Paul Fox (RED TAILS) from countless TV series and the leading role of early Tom Hardy movie Deserter.  He opts wisely for an early bath after finding out that he’s in a school play version of Scooby Doo. So tedious is this filmed kids party game of ‘Murder In The Dark’ I was relieved when the detectives decided to fast forward several sections. The eventual outcome is particularly weak and unconvincing when the ghost finally appears. My no spoiler code will prevent me from telling you why it’s quite so lame and the makers exacerbate the situation by filming an end-of-credits scene (Marvel style) that will make you groan. It will leave you begging to be stabbed!

3 out of 10 – The score is for the film that frames the found-footage segment of the film and that alone. Tony Todd will draw in curious fans and he does have a reasonable amount of screen time considering the walk-ons we’ve seen in previous independents (Rutger Hauer, Robert Englund, Billy Zane, Daryl Hannah all take a bow!)  There’s worse horror movies around at the moment like the godawful Heretic but I found the pull not to forward wind like the cops in the movie almost overwhelming. How meta is that?

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Gary Mavers: Aux, Emmerdale (TV),  Viking – The Darkest Day, The Magnificent ElevenVictimDevil’s Bridge, SNUB!, Dead Man’s Cards, Peak Practice (TV), Casualty (TV), Blonde Fist
  • Joseph Millson: The Chameleon, Banished (TV), The Dead 2 – India, The Magnificent ElevenDevil’s Bridge, SNUB!
  • Simon Bamford: Book of Blood, Nightbreed, Hell Raiser 2, Hell Raiser
  • Paul Fox: Red Tails, Deserter, Casualty (TV), The Royal (TV), Coronation St (TV)
  • Tony Todd: Agoraphobia, Frankenstein (2016), The Watcher (2015), Final Destination 5, Hatchet 2, Transformers 2 (voice), 24 (TV), Hatchet, Final Destination 3 (voice), Final Destination 2,  Le Secret, Final Destination, Candyman 3, Wishmaster, The Rock, Candyman 2, The Crow, Excessive Force, Night Of The Living Dead (1993), Candyman, Keeper of the City, Lean On Me, Bird, Platoon

MORRIS – A LIFE WITH BELLS ON

5 out of 10

Release Date: 9th January 2009

Director: Lucy Akhurst

Cast: Tom Oldham, Aidan McArdle, Derek Jacobi, Naomie Harris, Ian Hart, Jasper Britton, Sophie Thompson, Brodie Bass, Lucy Akhurst, Richard Lumsden, Clive Mantle with Greg Wise, Harriet Walter and Dominique Pinon

Writer: Tom Oldham

Trailer: MORRIS – A LIFE WITH BELLS ON

REVIEW COMING SOON

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Aidan McArdle:  The Borderlands, Mr Selfridge (TV),  The Mill (TV), Killing Bono
  • Derek Jacobi: Cinderella (2015), Effie Gray, Grace of Monaco, Vicious (TV), Last Tango In Halifax (TV), My Week With Marilyn, Anonymous, The King’s SpeechIronclad, The Riddle, The Golden Compass, Underworld 3, Nanny McPhee, Gosford Park, Gladiator (2000),  Love Is The Devil, Hamlet (1996), Dead Again, Henry V (1989), Little Dorrit, The Odessa Files, The Day Of The Jackal
  • Naomie Harris: Jungle Book – Origins (voice), Our Kind of Traitor, James Bond – Spectre, Southpaw, Mandela – A Long Walk To FreedomJames Bond- SkyfallThe First Grader, Sex & Drugs & Rock-N-Roll, Morris – A Life With Bells, Pirates of The Caribbean  3, Pirates of The Caribbean 2, A Cock & Bull Story, Street Kings, Miami Vice Movie, After The Sunset, 28 Days Later, Trauma
  • Ian Hart: Boardwalk Empire (TV), Dough, Hard Boiled Sweets, A Boy Called Dad, Breakfast On Pluto, A Cock and Bull Story, Rag Tale, Finding Neverland, Blind Flight, Killing Me Softly, Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone, Strictly Sinatra, Born Romantic, Liam, Best, The Closer You Get, The End Of The Affair, Wonderland (1999), This Year’s Love, Enemy Of The State, B-Monkey, Mojo, The Butcher’s Boy, Michael Collins, The Hollow Reed, Nothing Personal, Clockwork Mice, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, Land and Freedom, Backbeat, The Hour and The Times
  • Sophie Thompson: Harry Potter – part 7, Eat Pray Love, Eastenders (TV), Fat Slags, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Gosford Park, Relative Values, Dancing at Lughnasa, Emma (1996), Persuasion, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Twenty-One
  • Richard Lumsden: Downhill, Sightseers, Sugar Rush (TV)
  • Clive Mantle: Game of Thrones (TV), Holby City (TV), Casualty (TV), Alien 3, White Hunter Black Heart, Robin Hood (TV)
  • Greg Wise: Walking On SunshineEffie Gray, Blackwood, The Disappeared, A Cock and Bull Story, Johnny English, Mad Cows, Feast Of July, Sense and Sensibility
  • Harriet Walter: Star Wars – The Force Awakens, Man Up, Suite Francaise, The Wedding Video (2012), Law & Order UK (TV), Cheri, Atonement, Babel, Chromophobia, Onegin, The Governess, Bedrooms & Hallways, Keep The Aspidistra Flying, The Leading Man, The Hour of The Pig, Sense & Sensibility
  • Dominique Pinon: My Old Lady, The Young and Prodigious TS Spivet, MicMacs, The Oxford Murders, Dante 01, A Very Long Engagement, Amelie, Alien 4, The City of Lost Children, Delicatessen, The Legend of the Holy Drinker, Betty Blue, The Return of Martin Guerre

THE QUIET ONES

6.5 out of 10

Release Date: 11th April 2013

Director: John Pogue (Quarantine 2)

Cast: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne and Olivia Cooke

Writer: John Pogue

Trailer: THE QUIET ONES

REVIEW COMING SOON

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Jared Harris: The Man From UNCLE, Poltergeist (2015), Pompeii, The Mortal Instruments, Mad Men (TV), Sherlock Holmes 2 (2011), The Ward, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Cashback, Lady In The Water, Notorious Bettie Page, Oceans 12 (2004), Resident Evil 2, Sylvia, Mr Deeds, Igby Goes Down, Perfume, B Monkey, Happiness, Lost In Space, Father’s Day, I Shot Andy Warhol, Dead Man, Blue In The Face, Smoke, Nadja, The Public Eye, Last of the Mohicans (1992), The Rachel Papers
  • Sam Claflin: Me Before You, Hunger Games- Mocking Jay 2, Hunger Games- Mockingjay, Love Rosie, The Riot Club, Hunger Games 2 – Catch a Fire, Snow White and The Huntsman, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, United
  • Erin Richards: Open Grave
  • Rory Fleck-Byrne: Vampire Academy
  • Olivia Cooke: Me Earl and The Dying Girl, The Signal, Ouija, Bates Hotel (TV)