MRS BROWN’S BOYS – D’MOVIE

1 out of 10

UK / Ireland Co-Production

Release Date: 27th June 2014

Director: Ben Kellett

Cast: Brendan O’Carroll, Jennifer Gibney, Rory Cowan, Paddy Houlihan, Danny O’Carroll, Eilish O’Carroll, Simon Delaney, Pat Shields, Dermot O’Neill, Fiona O’Carroll, Amanda Woods, Gary Hollywood, Dermot Crowley, Sorcha Cusack, Raj Ghatak, Conor Moloney, Eamon Holmes with Nick Nevern and Robert Bathurst

Writer: Brendan O’Carroll

Trailer: MRS BROWN’S BOYS D’MOVIE

Mrs_Brown_movie_poster

TO BE PROOFREAD: As Mrs Brown (BRENDAN O’CARROLL) herself would probably say herself this film was “fecking shoite!” I feel as if Buster (DANNY O’CARROLL) has sold me a bootleg version of the TV series made by fans with a budget straight out of Poundland. I find myself laughing at the series but this film is a mirthless rip-off of Australian hit-comedy The Castle. It’s barely got a joke in it and where the TV show can usually get away with it’s un-PC humour, D’Movie repeatedly exposes itself as racist, homophobic and even worse stuck for funny ideas!

Mrs Brown‘s market store is under threat of closure along with the rest of the street because evil property developers want to make a compulsory acquisition of the the area. Mrs Brown and family are going to fight it though. So she takes her fight right to the top even when faced with an embarrassed Nick Nevern (THE HOOLIGAN FACTORY) playing an Eastern European gangster with a moustache that keeps on falling off when the jokes run out (actually there are no jokes).

Mind you it did take a hell of a lot of money in the UK and judging by the funny-ness of the 2014 Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special I can vouch for them and say that the film is a blip. One can only imagine the window to get a film made was really narrow and they hadn’t had time to write a funny plot. It’s a complete rush-job from start to finish and an utter waste of the talented O’Carroll family. It’s a wasted opportunity. I did overhear fellow audience members saying how great it was as I was leaving, so it appeals to the majority of the people of Barnstaple, Devon who were in stitches at the weakest of attempted gags.

1 out of 10 – Truly woeful and unfunny extension of the hilarious TV sitcom that’s taking the UK and Ireland by storm. A shame they shoved this shoddy knock-off their fans. It just smacks of a quick buck and a lazy cash-in. I hear there’s a sequel in the works… Feck off!

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Brendan O’Carroll: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV), Agnes Browne
  • Jennifer Gibney: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV), Agnes Browne
  • Rory Cowan: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV)
  • Paddy Houlihan: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV)
  • Danny O’Carroll: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV)
  • Eilish O’Carroll: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV)
  • Simon Delaney: This Must Be The Place
  • Pat Shields: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV)
  • Dermot O’Neill: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV)
  • Fiona O’Carroll: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV)
  • Amanda Woods: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV)
  • Gary Hollywood: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV), Taggart (TV), The Winter Guest
  • Dermot Crowley: Luther (TV), Bleak House (TV)(1995), James Bond – Octopussy, Star Wars – Return of The Jedi
  • Sorcha Cusack: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV), Coronation St (TV), Snatch, Casualty (TV), Angel, Jane Eyre (1973)
  • Raj Ghatak: Dead Set (TV)
  • Conor Moloney: Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV)
  • Nick Nevern: Sexy Bizness, Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3, The Hooligan Factory, The Hooligan WarsVendettaWhite Collar Hooligan 2Fall of the Essex BoysGBHOutpost 2The Rise Of a White Collar HooliganVictimThe Sweeney MovieTurnout7LivesStrippers Vs. Werewolves, Terry
  • Robert Bathurst: Absolutely Anything, Narcopolis, Toast of London (TV), Downton Abbey (TV), Scoop, The Thief Lord, Heidi (2005), Cold Feet (TV), Twenty One, Whoops Apocalypse, The Lenny Henry Show (TV), Blackadder (TV)

STRENGTH AND HONOUR

3 out of 10

Release Date: 25th September 2008 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Mark Mahon

Cast: Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones, Patrick Bergin, Michael Rawley, Gail Fitzpatrick, Michael Collins and Richard Chamberlain

Writer: Mark Mahon

Trailer: STRENGTH AND HONOUR

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Michael Madsen: 2047, The Hateful 8, A Hitman In London, Diamond HeistThe Big I AmHighway To Hell (2013), Not Another Not Another Movie, Scary Movie 4, The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe (voice), Sin City, Kill Bill, James Bond – Die Another Day, Species 1 & 2, Donnie Brasco, The Winner, Mulholland Falls, Free Willy 1 & 2, Wyatt Earp, Final Combination, The Getaway (1994), Fixing The Shadow, Reservoir Dogs, Thelma & Louise, The Doors
  • Vinnie Jones: Redirected, Diamond Heist, Escape Plan, Fire With Fire, Madagacar 3 (voice), The Age Of Dragons,  Kill The Irishman, The HeavyAssault of Darkness, Not Another Not Another Movie, The RiddleThe Other Half,The Midnight Meat Train, Garfield 2 (voice), The Condemned, X-Men 3, She’s The Man, EuroTrip, Tooth, The Big Bounce, Mean Machine, Swordfish, Snatch, Gone In 60 Seconds, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  • Patrick Bergin: We Still Steal The Old Way, Age of Kill, Gallowwalkers, The Wee Man, Highway To Hell (2012), Ella Enchanted, When The Sky Falls, Eye Of The Beholder, The Invisible Circus, Lawnmower Man 2, The Map Of The Human Heart, Patriot Games,  Love Crimes, Robin Hood (1991), Highway To Hell, Mountains of the Moon
  • Michael Rawley: Disco Pigs
  • Michael Collins: King of the Travellers, Assault of Darkness, Pavee Lackeen
  • Richard Chamberlain: I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, The Return of the Musketeers, Allan Quartermain and The Lost City Of Gold, King Solomon’s Mines, The Thorn Birds (TV), The Swarm, The Last Wave, The Slipper and The Rose, The Towering Inferno, The Four Musketeers (1974), The Three Musketeers (1973), Julius Caesar (1970), Dr. Kildare (TV)

STAGGER

0.5 out of 10

Release Date: 22nd September 2009 (DVD Premiere)

Director:Paul T T Easter (Mind Games)

Cast: Paul T T Easter, Earl Ling, Holly McKeon, Kevin Wilkinson, Chris McDermott, Mark Margason, Robert Turner, Linda Hook, Brad Wall, Lee Johnson, Samuel Victor, Ashlie Walker, Adam Saint with James Fisher, Rita Ramnani and Simon Phillips

Writer: Paul T T Easter & Samuel Victor

Trailer: STAGGER

REVIEW BY MATT USHER AKA JOE PESCI II BELOW… IT’S VERY FUNNY.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

WARRIORESS

2 out of 10

Release Date: 9th June 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Ross Boyask (Tower of the Dead / Ten Dead Men)

Cast: Cecily Fay, Joelle Simpson, Will Brenton, Christian Howard, Merilees Fay Harris, Helen Steinway-Bailey, Holly Loveday, Simon Feilder, Keith Eyles, Zara Phythian and Brendan Carr

Writer: Ross Boyask

Trailer: WARRIORESS

REVIEW by Joe Pesci II BELOW

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

THE HOOLIGAN FACTORY

7 out of 10

Release Date: 13th June 2014

Director: Nick Nevern (Terry)

Cast: Nick Nevern, Jason Maza, Tom Burke, Ray Fearon, Lorraine Stanley, Morgan Watkins, Josef Altin, Steven O’Donnell, Keith-Lee Castle, Alex Austin, Ronnie Fox, Juliet Oldfield, Peter Barrett, Michael Lindley, Tony Denham, Cass Pennant, Brett Goldstein, Neil Large, Billy Cook and Leo Gregory with Craig Fairbrass, Tamer Hassan and Danny Dyer

Writer: Nick Nevern and Michael Lindley

Trailer: THE HOOLIGAN FACTORY

UnknownTO BE PROOFREAD: Nick Nevern‘s (GBH) second feature as director is a massive improvement on his debut Terry. It’s also a great contrast as this film lampoons the type of film he tried to make with his lousy debut. Less about that though, this is today. The Hooligan Factory sets its store out on the steppes of the hills owned by The Zucker Brothers (NAKED GUN / AIRPLANE) and The Wayans Family (SCARY MOVIE) but instead of doing a humourless spoof like they do, he’s weaved in a decent story with affectionately drawn caricatures.  Starring as the one of the biggest idiots UK cinema has seen since the Jihadi losers on parade in Four Lions, Nick Nevern proves his chops as a very funny comedian (who knew?)  In most of his dramas he often plays a clenched up ball of fury that could pop an eye ball at any minute, he takes his well-worn set of grace notes and points them in a new direction.  Is The Hooligan Factory the long overdue moratorium on shit hooligan films (that often don’t even feature hooligans). One can sense the other filmmakers have sensed this too by rush releasing Top Dog and the surprisingly good bank heist movie Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan.  Like all comedies going in without seeing the trailer would yield quite a bit more comedy gold, but the converted fans who have been following this films progress since the makers were shopping on Facebook for extras, there’s far far less to get tickled by. (Simple maths!)

Danny (JASON MAZA – TEN DEAD MEN) is a jobless no hoper who falls in with recently released from jail football hooligan and firm top dog Dex (NICK NEVERN) and his gang The Hooligan Factory.  Dex wants revenge for the accidental death of his son in a duck pond during a ruck years before with the Baron’s firm (KEITH-LEE CASTLE – DOGHOUSE).  As Danny gets initiated into the firm will he survive the cliches of what it takes to be a real ‘hooligan’?

Jason Maza is usually a dependable dramatic force but he seems stretched and out of his comfort zone in a comedy – it’s probably because his role is a cipher and has less room for quirkiness. He is upstaged left right and centre by the gallery of lunatics like Bullet (TOM BURKE – THE INVISIBLE WOMAN), Midnight (RAY FEARON – CORONATION STREET) and the wonderful Old Bill (STEVEN O’DONNELL – BRING ME THE HEAD OF MAVIS DAVIS) as an undercover cop that nobody spots. There’s a brilliant pastiche of ID – especially the remake of the ‘Gumbo’ scene where the cop blows his cover.  Much fun is had at the expense of the classics like Rise of The Footsoldier, Essex Boys films (classics? hang on), ID and The Firm.  It’s clear that the makers are in love with this genre and are now holding up a stop sign to those that continue to trample on these films with their shit quickies (of which Nick Nevern and co and all had a hand at some stage.) -> Hooligan Wars anyone?

Time will tell if this is the stopper in the bottle.  As a brit comedy, it works well going in cold. It’s a rare thing to find a funny comedy these days that doesn’t rely on the same old jokes. Here’s a film that respects fans of the British lad-flick and rewards us for our time by giving us a real good laugh. It’s packed with cameos from just about every actor you’d care to see from your old favourites. It even has two  former on-screen Pat Tates vying for screen time in one scene. So if you know the territory this comedy works. If you don’t it may limit the appeal although it saves itself by not being too much of a specialist by going the Wayans Brothers route and being a 100 crap joke a minute that only succeeds in replicating the original’s set design and wardrobe.  The Hooligan Factory retains a bold story arc and is all the stronger and funnier for it.  I hope that Nick Nevern and co. team up for another comedy but this doesn’t need a sequel just yet. SPOILER: Fave scene is the Leo Gregory (TOP DOG) “Who’s got a book coming out?” scene. SPOILER END.

7 out of 10 – Very funny old school comedy that knows it’s targets well and it’s as homophobic as they come but then it is set in the 80s. Or is it?

Review by Matt Gusher down below. We think he liked it.

 WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

TOP DOG

5 out of 10

Release Date: 1st June 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Martin Kemp (Stalker (2011))

Cast: Leo Gregory, Ricci Harnett, Lorraine Stanley, George Russo, Dannielle Brent, George Sweeney, Susan Penhaligon, Francis Pope, Johnny Palmiero, Gary Lawrence, Ryan Oliva with Jason Flemyng and Vincent Regan

Writer: Dougie Brimson

Trailer: TOP DOG

Unknown

Martin Kemp’s (STALKER) second feature film as director, whilst being an improvement on his debut, is a solid yet melodramatic drama that refuses to distinguish itself. It’s about a small time criminal, Billy Evans (LEO GREGORY – WILD BILL) biting off more than he can chew.  Bolstered by committed performances from a talented cast of familiar and unknown faces, this could be producer Jonathan Sothcott‘s most serious and grown up film to date.  What stops Top Dog being one to remember and celebrate though is its reluctance to stand out from the crowd, a lack of originality and yet another ‘tin eared’ script.  This is rescued from stinkerdom though by notably excellent performances from Leo Gregory (who does convince as a man out of his depth), Lorraine Stanley (THE HOOLIGAN FACTORY) (who seems to be the ‘go-to’ lady when producers need a powerhouse actress in their low-budget flick) and Ricci Harnett (TURNOUT) (it’s always great to see this underused actor in all too rare leading roles).

The plot runs on rails. It’s all very predictable and plays like a violent, sweary yet over melodramatic episode of Eastenders. The soap operatics near the end over tip the whole film into parody come it’s misjudged ending, but for most of the film’s running time it keeps it’s cool and nerve. The plot also includes some football hooliganism. Yes, it’s a film without the word Hooligans in the title or a big ass St George’s flag on the front. Incredible!  Based on a novella by Dougie Brimson – the predictable plot sees top boy Billy of the local firm Acton Casuals (AC! CHA CHA CHA!) go up against Harnett’s local mr big when Billy’s Auntie’s (SUSAN PENHALIGON – SOLDIER OF ORANGE) pub begins getting squeezed for protection money.  The whole thing escalates in a tit-for-tat war that continually ups the stakes until people begin to get kidnapped, killed and the whole skirmish gets extinguished by bigger fish further up the food chain.

There are flashes of visual brilliance in this other wise ordinary point and shoot affair.  The film’s opening shot of what appears to be snow covered mountains turns out to be something altogether different is powerful and difficult to forget. It’s a shame the rest of the film is directed and lensed so anonymously, but these are small complaints when Kemp, Sothcott and the actors have gotten so much right this time. A reliable Jonathan Sothcott production has been a long time coming. After his solo calling card Vendetta proved, his brand isn’t arsing around in the shallows anymore. He’s on the way up. Vendetta was a huge success and with Top Dog, it’s proven itself to be a hard act to follow. I’m happy to say that whilst Top Dog isn’t great at least it feels like a real film. It doesn’t look cheap and the plot is tight and makes sense throughout. It’s also harder to critique a film that I don’t like because it’s down to my personal tastes, rather than not liking it because it’s a slap dash piece of cheap crap.  Whilst this comes across like a place holder before the bigger more flashier Jonathan Sothcott productions come down the line it still serves as the second best film he’s put together in his short but very busy run. Here’s to We Still Kill The Old Way and Age of Kill doing less fence sitting and more thrill making.

5 out of 10 – Solid yet ordinary gangster melodrama that is helped no end by a stellar cast committed to getting this Dog on (or near) the top. Middle Dog it is then.

Another review by Joe Pesci II below.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

DANGEROUS MIND OF A HOOLIGAN

6.5 out of 10

Release Date: 19th May 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Greg Hall  (Bonded By Blood 2)

Cast: Paul Marlon, Simon Phillips, Samuel Anoyke, Roger Griffiths, Lauren Rollins, Mark Savage, Peter Woodward, Rita Ramnani and Mark Sangster

Writer: Greg Hall

Trailer: DANGEROUS MIND OF A HOOLIGAN

MV5BOTkzNTMyNzU4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjY0OTc1MTE@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_For a Paul Tanter / Simon Phillips production Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan  is shockingly good because all their other films (except one or two) are very shit. But yet again this has barely anything to do with football hooligans (or even any type of hooligan). I think Tanter et al, rely on the fact that one word (HOOLIGAN) will bring them loads of money. Put together all their movies  and you have about 3 minutes of football hooliganism and that’s the truth. Thank god films with the word ‘tampon’ aren’t popular as Simon and Paul would be making Day In The Life of a Tampon, I’m a Tampon Get Me Out Here, Rise and Fall of a Cheap Tampon etc.  What we have here is a competent and entertaining homage/rip off of Reservoir Dogs, Revolver and Wild At Heart (I think.)

A gang of bank robbers, previously unknown to each other, rob a bank. We see the robbery, the lead up and the aftermath in a jumbled chronological order favoured by filmmakers in the early 2000s. We see lots of tributes to Quentin Tarantino: a character gets killed by not taking his gun to the toilet; the warehouse where the gang first meet is very reminiscent of the one in Reservoir Dogs; there’s a vengeful, satantic otherworldly cop in panto-dress on their trail, who’s definitely trying to be a Scots Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper‘s character from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet)(MARK SANGSTER). So it wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve in ten foot neon-letters, yet it works. As all things heist-like, the plan goes tits up when the leader of the gang gets fatally shot and the gang go on the run without a plan and place to divide the money. Why they stick together for so long isn’t clear. Oh yeah, they take a useless hostage too (LAUREN ROLLINS). The gang consists of ex-boxer Danny (PAUL MARLON – ESSEX BOYS RETRIBUTION), Caesar (SAMUEL ANOYKE), Anthony (SIMON PHILLIPS – HE WHO DARES), Michael (MARK SAVAGE) and Rowntree (ROGER GRIFFITHS – AMA).

For once Simon Phillips seems well-cast as the wimp of the bunch and he always seems at ease when working in an ensemble as opposed to a leading role like his grandstanding embarrassment in He Who Dares. The other members of the gang are equally good giving a little bit of depth and shade here and there to potentially stock characters. I liked Paul Marlon (who is relatively new to me having only seen him as an assassin in the woeful Essex Boys Retribution) who takes a shine to his hostage and who demonstrates on a few occasions that there is still honour amongst thieves. Elsewhere gravitas is brought to the ensemble by Roger Griffiths (who is one of those faces you’ve seen for years but couldn’t put a name to) and newcomer Samuel Anoyke is the itch and scratch. His character Caesar provides all the friction and electricity needed. Essentially this is a straightforward d-movie elevated by nice acting, a pretty sharp script, nice plotting and a good degree of complex editing. The plot has some interesting plot developments (some work, some don’t), but mostly this is a low-budget triumph.

It has to be said though that a lot of the films bad points can be dropped on Mark Sangster‘s doorstep. His portrayal of a demonic cop is beyond pantomiming. His wardrobe is out of kilter with the world around him and he seems to be addicted to breath fresheners? The film also tries to turn itself into a David Lynch film whenever he’s onscreen too but a combination of Mark Sangster‘s bad acting, the weird choice of lighting and just about everything else in these scenes is out of whack with the rest of the film. It’s like they’ve been edited in from a way poorer film. A stand off in a hotel corridor between him and Paul Marlon almost pasts muster but this single-handedly reminded me that I was watching a Paul Tanter/Simon Phillips production.  I don’t know who this actor is but he was bad. Other bad aspects were a cringe-worthy game of cards between the hostage and Paul Marlon. Well performed but very unlikely.

Despite all the negatives, it’s the second best Paul Tanter/Simon Phillips film after White Collar Hooligan and that’s because of the good acting and that they pulled off the jumbled narrative story telling device. The script is above average for this type of thing too. Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan comes with reservations but if you like this kind of straightforward bank heist movie, there’s lots for the uncynical viewer to enjoy – although it’s a lot to ask your regular viewer to tolerate the continuous Tarantino steals.

6.5 out of 10 – A competent quickie that steals from the best but has a few ideas of it’s own. Great performances from a largely unknown cast, this is Paul Tanter and Simon Phillips best production in donkeys. Just don’t expect to see any hooligans. Here’s to Rise and Fall of the Tampax Twins.

2nd review below – ‘In The Dangerous Mind of an Ewok with a writing disorder’ aka Matt Usher

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?