FALL OF THE KRAYS

3.5 out of 10

Release Date: 28th March 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Zachary Adler (Rise of the Footsoldier 3 / Rise of the Krays)

Cast: Simon Cotton, Kevin Leslie, Phil Dunster, Alexa Morden, Nicola Taggart, James Weber Brown, Dan Parr,  James Hepburn, Rocky Abrahms, Ian Keir Attard, Michael Instone with Josh Myers and Danny Midwinter

Writer: Sebastian Brown & Ken Brown

Trailer: Fall of the Krays

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So here we are again, the second half of the cash-in to Tom Hardy‘s towering Legend. Combined this film and the first one, Rise of the Krays, fail to deliver in three hours what Legend did in five minutes of it’s 2 hour running time.  Sadly, the cartoon acting is back and the slim and under-researched script are too. There’s little to add to the first review except the only reason a non-reviewer would come back for more would to be to see how they tackle the big events like the death Jack The Hat, Cornell and Frances’ sad suicide. The latter is handled with the same amount of tact you’d expect in a Will Ferrell remake. We’re in foul-mouthed TV movie land and the soapyness of the approach does little to distinguish the director, actor or writers. Zero attention has been paid to period authenticity or even fact.

Simon Cotton seems less bonkers in part 2 but then the world around him seems to match him at last. But he’s still not Reggie Kray. He’d be fine as fictional bad guy but he’s all wrong here. Kevin Leslie as Ronnie, steps out of his shadow here, and thin script aside, he shows that he’d be a competent actor in a TV show. He’s the better of the two actors but he doesn’t look the part either. Danny Midwinter (INTERVIEW WITH A HITMAN), Phil Dunster and Alexa Morden all return to provide solid supporting turns but it’s very slim pickings and all the more-so when you compare this watered down paste of a gangster epic. Josh Myers (ANTI-SOCIAL) pops up as Mad Frankie Fraser for a minute so he’s something to look forward to.

On the whole, this is an also-ran.  Pale, unscary, uninformative, historically oblivous to fact, marginally less-crap the first one.

3.5 out of 10 – Few bright spots. Goodfellas this isn’t. Looking forward to the Chuckle Brothers version, ‘From Me To You: An East End Reverie’.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

THE HALLOW

3.5 out of 10

Release Date: 13th November 2015

Director: Corin Hardy

Cast: Joseph Mawle, Bojana Novakovic, Michael McElhatton, Gary Lydon and Michael Smiley

Writer: Corin Hardy & Felipe Marino

Trailer: THE HALLOW

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This is one of those horror films that has been made by a director who’s most interested in his toy boy than telling a story and generating any fear. Whether its been at the high or low budget end of the filmmaking scale, the horror genre seems to be the place to start. The genres full of them. In The Hallow, the director has left the plot to run by itself to a clockwork tempo whilst he works on his creature effects.

A scientist  (JOSEPH MAWLE – PROTOTYPE) gets sent to remote part of Ireland were dark magic still exists. His detail is to assess and the raze an ancient forest. He discovers a fungus that takes over the human brain turning them into trees. The locals warn the scientist off yet his, his young wife and baby stay in the big scary house in the woods anyway. Meanwhile, creatures in the woods (baby stealers) begin to attack the house night after night. What do they want? Well that should be obvious but none of it is sold convincingly.

The storytelling is repetitive and the main actors don’t seem that interested in bringing the story to life. So are the effects any good? They are Hollywood class although the wooden villains look to cute to be deadly child killing wood fairies. Michael Smiley (OUTPOST) turns up for a sole scene as a worldly police man and he brings a bit of context to the panic.  What could have been interesting, exciting and a horror to remember ultimately plays it too safe, just like another Brit-horror with a budget, Blackwood. Expect to see the director do another creature feature. Whether he’ll get to write and direct again is another thing as it doesn’t seem like he’s interested enough to transport his audiences into his world unless he can pour a thick dollop of CGi on it.

3.5 out of 10 – Well made, standard, safe horror that springs no surprises.

REVIEW BY MATT USHER BELOW

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

 

 

BULLET BOY

10 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 8th April 2005

Director: Saul Dibb (Suite Francaise / The Duchess)

Cast: Ashley Walters, Luke Fraser, Clare Perkins, Leon Black, Sharea Samuels, Clark Lawson, Rio Tison, Louise Delamere, Jaime Winstone and Curtis Walker

Writer: Saul Dibb

Trailer: BULLET BOY

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

NOBLE

4 out of 10

Release Date: 4th February 2016

Director: Stephen Bradley (Boy Eats Girl)

Cast: Deirdre O’Kane, Sarah Greene, Liam Cunningham, Brendan Coyle, Ruth Negga, Nhu Quyn Nguyen Linh, Mark Huberman, Kinh Quoc, Le Ngoc Tu’o’ng, Dat Khou Nguyen Tien, Gloria Cramer Curtis, David Mumeni and Pauline McLynn

Writer: Stephen Bradley

Trailer: NOBLE

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Now I want to make it clear, I love Ireland, I love Irish people, but I don’t like Irish films like Noble that are so Irish you feel like your going to die of Guinness poisoning with the cliched catawalling of Danny Boy is wringing in your ears as the road rise to meet you and the wind is at your craic. My god this film is soooooo Irish yet most of it is set in Vietnam, I know. How ‘Irish’ is that? It’s like the old Irish jokes we used to tell in the playground in the 1980s. Did you hear about the most Irishy movie ever made? They made it in Vietnam. Gurgle, gurgle….

Anyway Noble is based on the true-story of one Christina Noble, an average sort of girl from a torn family who got it into her head after seeing footage on the TV about the Vietnam War that she wanted to go on a mission from god to devote her life to caring for street children. And unended spectacularly unaverage… unlike the film. Average, average. AVERAGE!!! It would scream mediocre if averages ‘things’ actually screamed.

The film is split into present day and the past. We have a child Christina (GLORIA CRAMER CURTIS) who is all dark curls and Irish cute who bursts into song at the drop of a blarney stone, mainly Danny Boy. Her Da’ (LIAM CUNNINGHAM – LET US PREY) isn’t a bad sort, just an unreliable alcoholic who does a bunk leaving Noble to grow up with nuns lead by a tough Pauline McLynn (FATHER TED) doing a grand impression of Mrs Doyle from Father Ted dresssed as a nun. She grows into Sarah Greene (STANDBY) who moves to the UK, marries a horrible Turk and then turns into Deirdre O’Kane (KILLING BONO) who does the Vietnam bit of the tale. Angela’s Ashes this isn’t but it has a bloody good try at wringing every last cliche out of the Irish film playbook.

Battling odds you know she’s going  to rocket past unhindered because of her cheeky Irish minx ways, you know you’re onto a film which plays it safe for audiences who like to know the plot of films before they watch them. The acting is fine across the board and the Vietnamese cast thoroughly match the Irish / English gang. As if to highlight the problems facing street kids and a few clunky side plots are welded into the story with scripted lines written in marker pen. Mainly, we have the friend-cum-secret-paedophile revealed near the end to put some snakes in the film’s boots but it ends up playing like a deleted scene from Eldorado. And is handled in an utterly cackhanded way.

Brendan Coyle (DOWNTON ABBEY) plays a generous business man / romantic potential but ultimately he’s defeated by this O’Kane’s cartoon cut-out do-gooder with a monotonous ‘vehicle reversing’ remix on a Dublin accent.  I’d have read a book or watched a TV documentary with interest, this sort of film might fly on the Hallmark channel or at village halls in the Cotswolds but on the whole this sort of film shouldn’t need to be made anymore. There are enough quality feature length documentaries being made these days without having to endure such a laboured plod of a life-story like Noble.

4 out of 10 – Noble by name, Noble by nature. The film doesn’t do her life mission justice as it’s just made to look like unimaginative and self-serving. Sleep well. It’s all a bit too boring to do its bold subject any favours.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Deirdre O’Kane: The Messenger (2016), Moone Boy (TV), Killing Bono, Festival, Boy Eats Girl, Intermission, With or Without You
  • Sarah Greene: Burnt, Penny Dreadful (TV), Standby
  • Liam Cunningham: Pursuit (2016), Let Us Pray, Game of Thrones (TV), Dr Who (TV), The Numbers Station, Good Vibrations, Safe House, War Horse, The Guard, Centurion, Clash Of The Titans (201o), Harry Brown, Perrier’s Bounty, The Tournament, Blood- The Last Vampire, The Mummy 3, Hunger, The Escapist, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, The League Of Gentleman’s Apocalypse, Dog Soldiers, Jude, War Of The Buttons, A Little Princess, First Knight
  • Brendan Coyle: Me Before You, Downton Abbey (TV), The Raven, Lark To Candelford Rise (TV), Perrier’s Bounty
  • Ruth Negga: Warcraft, Preacher (TV), Iona, Agents of SHIELD (TV), Jimi, Misfits (TV), Isolation, Breakfast On Pluto
  • Mark Huberman: Boy Eats Girl, Band of Brothers (TV)
  • Pauline McLynn: Eastenders (TV), Shameless (TV), Heidi (2005), Gypo, Iris, An Everlasting Piece, The Most Fertile Man In Ireland, When Brendan Met Yrudy, Quills, Nora, Angela’s Ashes, Father Ted (TV)

 

STANDBY

4 out of 10

Irish Film Production

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 14th November 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Rob Burker & Ronan Burke

Cast: Jessica Pare, Brian Gleeson, Francesca Cherrault, Tina Kellegher, Ian Lloyd Anderson, John Lynn, Sarah Greene, Stella McCusker, Sean Colgan, Paul Roe, Gary Egan and Stanley Townsend

Writer: Pierce Ryan

Trailer: STANDBY

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Jessica Pare: Mad Men (TV), Hot Tub Time Machine, Suck, Wicker Park
  • Brian Gleeson: The Stag
  • Francesca Cherrault: Genesis (2016)
  • Tina Kellegher: The Clinic (TV), Ballykissangel (TV), The Snapper
  • Sarah Greene: Noble, Burnt, Penny Dreadful (TV)
  • Stanley Townsend: The Voices, 24 (TV), One Chance, Killing Bono, First Night, Cars 2 (voice), Holy WatersIsolation, Happy Go Lucky, The Libertine, Suzie Gold, Wondrous Oblivion

THE EXORCISM OF ANNA ECKLUND

6.5 out of 10

Release Date: 7th March 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Andrew Jones  (The Toymaker / Robert 2 / Robert / Conjuring The Dead / The Haunting At The Rectory / Poltergeist Activity / The Last House on Cemetery Lane  / Theatre of Fear  / Amityville Asylum)

Cast: Lee Bane, Tiffany Ceri, Jeff Raggett, Rik Grayson, Claire Carreno, Sarah Tempest, Melissa Bayern and Judith Haley

Writer: Andrew Jones

Trailer: THE EXORCISM OF ANNA ECKLUND

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Britpic is very happy to be able to write a good film review for Andrew Jones / Lee Bane’s Welsh horror film factory.  To date, ‘the world’s first horror film director to be afraid of the dark’ Mr Jones’ films have followed an upward arc in quality.  For ‘The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund‘ a few more lights have been turned off to cast some long shadows, and the script is sharper, plot more interesting, the acting great all round (most of the cast has stepped up to match lead actor Lee Bane this time) and it’s choreographed, scored and well filmed. You can actually say there’s a bit of cinecraft gone into this effort, as virtually all Jones’ films to date have had the ambience and mood of an Aldi Commerical (I wished they’d have cast Kerry Catona as Anna Ecklund come to think of it… or am I mixing brands???). There’s still a way for these guys to go, but now they’ve finally reached the gates of making cinema-strength b-movie horrors. Jones and Bane are about the only guys operating at no/low budget filmmaking in the UK that are rapidly improving. So we’d like to shout about them – eventhough in amateur blog land no can hear you shout.

Now I hate exorcism movies. They’re all the same. They all follow the same plot as The Exorcist to some point. And so does The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund. It has the ticklist of cliches: troubled priest, good christian girl gets possessed, no one but the priest recognises Latin, devil is everywhere, etc… What I did like were the flourishes and the well-choreographed fight scenes near the end. Clunkiness is at a minimum except for a crap scene with one of Anna’s (TIFFANY CERI – ROBERT 2) friends – which should have been chopped. Lee Bane (ROBERT) is once again, one of the main reasons and for once, not THE only reason to watch one of Mr Jones’ horrors. His priest is shows depths which the script can’t get to and he makes some of the baffling aspects to the surrounding mythology palatable and pretty damn interesting… and that’s what makes this exorcist horror fresh… the back story. Usually, Exorcism films are just wham-bam thank you mam, blood, guts and dick crucifixes – this film delves into some of the stories behind real life exorcisms…

Oh yeah, like Robert The Doll, this film is supposedly based on a true story. Hahahahahahaaaaaa. Put your hands up if you bought this / watched it because it was based on real life events and expected an accurate account?  I’m making myself redundant in even pointing this out aren’t I, but this is about as realistic as Zoolander is to the fashion world. I should know I perform exorcisms on co-Britpic reviewer Matt Usher / Joe Pesci II every time we meet.

Anyway f*ck facts, this is a great, tightly wraught, dare I say it scary and competent no-budget horror that I’d recommend this to pals that don’t watch arthouse movies. So the daft ones with little care for film culture. There’s room for Jones / Bane to improve but this is a significant step upward from Robert and Conjuring The Dead (the next best features).  Turn a few more lights off too next time. They’re next horror Robert 2 won’t have Lee Bane in a lead role to rely on (as he got killed with a loofah in part one – I think, so only half a spoiler there), so we’ll see if Jones’ can stand up tall without his partner in film-crimes.

6.5 out of 10 – Solid, well paced, and only slightly clunky, exorcism flick that contains some very good central performances from leads Lee Bane, Tiffany Ceri and regular Judith Haley (POLTERGEIST ACTIVITY) as a demonic fag smoking Mother Superior.

Read another review below by Matt Usher

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BLOOD FEUD

3 out of 10

Release Date: 29th February 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Darren James King (Looters, Tooters and Sawn-Off Shooters)

Cast: Paul Lee King, Mickey Curate, Steve Collins, Steven Arnold, Rory Locke, Mehmet Halit, Danny Howard, Senel Karava, Mark Sears, Paul Reg King, Saffron Sprackling with Darren James King and Jerry Anderson

Writer: Paul Lee King

Trailer: BLOOD FEUD

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Whilst the second King Brothers feature is a lot more focussed than Looters, Tooters and Sawn-Off Shooters, they’ve still got a long way to go. Blood Feud benefits from a decent performance by unknown Mickey Curate. Given a better script, he could have impressed. With the writer Paul Lee King also breathing down your neck, you’re hardly going to ask for better lines are you?

With a plot pinched from the half-baked Stand-Up Guys, Grace (PAUL LEE KING) has 24 hours to kill his best friend Paul (MICKEY CURATE) who’s been release from jail after 12 years for taking the rap for killing Ray’s (STEVE COLLINS) son. During the intervening years Grace has become a Christian, so he no longer sniffs drugs, drinks beer or thumps people. He’s also become a preachy Christian, who mopes about talking about the past and the evils of hedonism. He still takes Mickey down the pub and to the local brothel though, and gets in loads of scraps with Ray’s men. There’s also a cameo by a third King Brother (or cousin or parent), Paul Reg King who plays cinema’s most unlikely priest who acts like the equivalent of Q in James Bond. Instead of a weapon he gives the unlikely heroes a platitude to use against anyone that’s going to hit them.

There’s a lot of preaching about walking the righteous path in this, and it seems that good will win out in a way, but as much as the script tries to make Grace out to be a good man tortured by a bad past, I think the film is written by scallies that don’t know the meaning of a what it means to be truly good beyond the cartoonish.  There’s more downcast misery here than ten years of 1980s-era Eastenders. Humour is unintentional, particular Paul’s request to “stop talking about all this emotional shit and get some hard core sex.” I wondered for a minute whether they were former lovers but then they go to a knocking shop but nothing goes right even then. Except for the viewer who gets to see loads of boobs.

The fight sequences are pretty good this time around. No back flips or roundhouses needed, just some good punch ups to do the trick. There is one fight though that just decends into two people rolling around in a pile of well placed cardboard boxes…great fun!

For a no budget crime thriller, this isn’t as crap as Looters, Tooters and Sawn-Off Shooters, so whilst there are feint signs of improvement and recognition of its own limitations, a better script would have gone a long way.  Mickey Curate carries the weight as writer/actor Paul King struggles to convey his pain or love of Christ. The flashbacks and back story are bit hard to piece together too. And the whole thing could be reinterpreted into a massive day out to win a hug off Ashley (STEVEN ARNOLD) from Coronation Street.

3 out of 10 – Thoughtful but off-key. Preachy and unintentionally moronic it’s still a big improvement on Looters, Tooters and Sawn-Off Shooters.

Review below by Matt The Shusher Usher

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