UNDERCOVER HOOLIGAN

3 out of 10

Release Date: 26th December 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Nicholas Winter (Hooligan Legacy)

Cast: Kris Johnson, Simon Cotton, Ali Bastian, Munro Graham, Patrick Connolly, Tim Berrington, Sapphire Elia, Aggy K Adams, Eric Colvin with Ryan Winsley and Chris Simmons

Writer: Nicholas Winter

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I had high hopes for Nicholas Winter’s second film as director after Hooligan Legacy. Seems like a ridiculous statement but in context his debut was a tough little gangster movie with pace, good performances and proved to be a good calling card for the director and it’s leading man, Kris Johnson (WHO NEEDS ENEMIES). Sadly, this time around their latest one,Undercover Hooligan proves to be heavy work. Johnson, usually a confident actor, who’s already proved to be one to watch, falters with a bad script, and this time delivers a less than cocksure performance. The plot and acting from some of his supporters leave much to be desired too.

Undercover Hooligan follows the first underground assignment for ‘Violent Cop of the Terraces’ Michael Clarke, who has to go to jail for six months just to look authentic enough to get in with some people traffickers lead by Patrick Connolly and his children, played by Simon Cotton (RISE OF THE KRAYS) and Sapphire Elia (VENGEANCE). Cotton further solidifies his rep, at Britpic Crescent, as one of low-budget cinemas biggest over-performers. He doesn’t quite ruin the film, that’s a group effort.  Plot holes and character dopiness sabotage a potentially entertaining film but familiarity with this kind of plot arch scuppers Undercover Hooligan in more ways than one. It’s not Kris Johnson‘s only dud, see Essex Vendetta for that – but he’s not the problem in that one.

The violence is a bit sickening and every bit gratuitous, as it was in Hooligan Legacy, but here it seems stitched on to make up for the cardboard acting and tired story. Again it would seem like the word ‘hooligan’ has been wheeled out by the SEO boys to sell a few more units but it’s connection to football or hooliganism is on the thin side, as you’d expect. I look forward to Kris Johnson‘s next appearance, but for Mr Winter the director and writer he’s currently hung at a 1/1 tie-off. Please come back with something better next time.

3 out of 10 – Leaden and drawn out crime non-thriller starring the usually confident and natural Kris Johnson. This time he’s either miscast or unsure about the script as he comes across uncomfortable this once. Simon Cotton overcooks the principle baddy and the rest of the cast set about doing wooden furniture impressions. Underpowered Hooligans.

Trailer: UNDERCOVER HOOLIGAN

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THIS ACTOR IN BEFORE?

BrOTHERHOOD

3 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 29th August 2016

Director: Noel Clarke (The Anomaly / 4.3.2.1 / Adulthood)

Cast: Noel Clarke, Jason Maza, Shanika Warren-Markland, Arnold Oceng, Leeshon Alexander, Cornell John, Tonia Sotiropoulo, David Ajala, Adjoa Andoh, Fady Elsayed, Jack McMullen, Michael Omari, Rosa Coduri, Daniel Anthony, Lashana Lynch, Chris Ryman, Olivia Chenery, Ashley Thomas with Nick Nevern, Steven Cree and Red Madrell

Writer: Noel Clarke

Trailer: BROTHERHOOD

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS – THE MOVIE

5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON, DARLING

Release date: 1st July 2016

Director: Mandie Fletcher (Miranda (TV) / Stella (TV) / Absolutely Fabulous (TV) / Hamish Macbeth (TV)/ Desmonds (TV) / Blackadder 3 (TV) / Brush Strokes (TV)/ Only Fools and Horses (TV) / Black Adder 2 (TV) / Three Up Two Down (TV) / Butterflies (TV))

Cast: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks, Robert Webb, Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness, Celia Imrie with Kathy Burke and June Whitfield with Kate Moss, Lulu, Emma Bunton, Mark Gatiss, Chris Colfer, Marcia Warren, Nick Mohammed, Harriet Thorpe, Helen Lederer with Jon Hamm, Rebel Wilson and Barry Humphries

Featured cameos: Stella McCartney, Christopher Biggins, Jerry Hall, Lily Cole, Gwendoline Christie, Graham Norton, Judith Chalmers, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe, Suki Waterhouse with Dawn French and Joan Collins

Writer: Jennifer Saunders

Trailer: ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS – THE MOVIE

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Jennifer Saunders: Sing (voice), Minions (voice), Blandings (TV), This Is Jinsy (TV), The Comic Strip Presents…(TV), Absolutely Fabulous (TV), Coraline (voice), French & Saunders (TV), Shrek 2 (voice), Fanny & Elvis, Spice World, Muppet Treasure Island, A Midwinter’s Tale, Eat The Rich, The Supergrass, The Young Ones
  • Joanna Lumley: The Man You’re Not, Absolutely Anything, She’s Funny That Way, The Wolf of Wall Street, Absolutely Fabulous (TV), Animals United (voice), Corpse Bride (voice), Ella Enchanted, The Cat’s Meow, Maybe Baby, Mad Cows, Parting Shots, Prince Valiant, James and The Giant Peach, Innocent Lies, Cluedo (TV), Lovejoy (TV), Shirley Valentine, The Kenny Everett Show (TV), Curse of the Pink Panther, Trail of the Pink Panther, Sapphire and Steel (TV), The New Avengers (TV), The Satanic Rites of Dracula, Coronation Street (TV), Lady Chatterly vs Fanny Hill, The Devil’s Widow, James Bond – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  • Julia Sawalha: Absolutely Fabulous (TV), Lark Rise To Candelford (TV),  Jonathan Creek (TV), Chicken Run (voice), Wind In The Willows (1996), Pride & Prejudice (TV), A Midwinter’s Tale, Martin Chuzzlewit (TV), Press Gang (TV), Buddy’s Song, Educating Marmalade (TV)
  • Jane Horrocks: Sunshine On Leith, Trollied (TV), Absolutely Fabulous (TV), Garfield 2 (voice), Arthur Christmas (voice), Brothers Of The Head, The Corpse Bride (voice), Born Romantic, Chicken Run (voice), Little Voice, Bring Me The Head Of Mavis Davis, Second Best, Life Is Sweet, Memphis Belle, The Witches, Getting It Right
  • Robert Webb: Cold Feet (TV), Peep Show (TV), Ambassadors (TV), The Wedding Video, Confetti, The Magicians
  • Celia Imrie: A Cure For Wellness, Bridget Jones 3, Second Best Marigold Hotel, What We Did On Our Holiday, Nativity 3, The Love Punch, 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)
  • Kathy Burke: Pan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Flushed Away (voice), Anita & Me, Once Upon a Time In The Midlands, The Martins, Kevin & Perry Go Large, Love Honour & Obey, Elizabeth I, Dancing At Lughnasa, This Year’s Love, Nil By Mouth, Sid & Nancy, The Harry Enfield Show (TV)
  • June Whitfield: Absolutely Fabulous (TV), Run For Your Wife, Last Of The Summer Wine (TV), Jude, Carry On Columbus, Terry and June (TV), Carry On Girls, Bless The House, Carry On Abroad, The Benny Hill Show (TV),  Carry On Nurse, The Tony Hancock Show (TV)
  • Kate Moss: Zoolander 2
  • Lulu: Whatever Happened To Harold Smith?, To Sir With Love 2, Men In Love, The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (TV), Three of a Kind (TV), To Sir With Love
  • Emma Bunton: Keith Lemon, Spice World
  • Mark Gatiss: Taboo (TV), Sherlock (TV), Denial, Our Kind of Traitor, Dad’s Army, Victor Frankenstein, London Spy (TV), Game of Thrones (TV), Wolf Hall (TV), Dr Who (TV), Starter For 10, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (voice), The League of Gentleman’s Apocalypse, Sex Lives of the Potato Men, Birthday Girl, The League of Gentlemen (TV)
  • Chris Colfer: Glee (TV)
  • Marcia Warren: Vicious (TV), Leap Year, Dangerfield (TV)
  • Nick Mohammed: The Sense of an Ending, Bridget Jones 3, Benny & Jolene
  • Harriet Thorpe: Absolutely Fabulous (TV), S.N.U.B!, French & Saunders (TV), The Brittas Empire (TV), Alexei Sayle Stuff (TV)
  • Helen Lederer: Gridiron UK, Chicken, Hollyoaks (TV), Old Jack’s Boat (TV), Absolutely Fabulous (TV), Horrid Henry – The Movie, Fat Slags, Solitaire For 2, Bottom (TV), Naked Video (TV)
  • Jon Hamm: Baby Driver, Keeping Up With The Joneses, Minions (voice), Mad Men (TV), A Young Doctor’s Notebook (TV), The Congress (voice), Friends With Kids, Bridesmaids, Sucker Punch (2011), The Town, The A-Team, Shrek 4 (voice), Howl (2010), The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008), We Were Soldiers, Kissing Jessica Stein
  • Rebel Wilson: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2017), Pitch Perfect 3, Grimsby, Pitch Perfect 2, Night At The Museum 3, A Few Best Men, Pain & Gain, Pitch Perfect, Ice Age 4 (voice), What To Expect When You’re Expecting, Small Apartments, Bridesmaids, Bogan Pride (TV), Pizza (TV)
  • Barry Humphries: Blinky Bill (voice), Justin and the Knights of Valour (voice), The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, Finding Nemo (voice), Ally McBeal (TV), Spice World, Welcome To Woop-Woop, The Leading Man, Immortal Beloved, The Dame Edna Experience (TV), The Marsupials – The Howling 3, Shock Treatment, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band, The Barry Humphries Show (TV), Bedazzled (1967)
  • Christopher Biggins: Run For Your Wife, Psychoville (TV), Blow Dry, Circus, Decadence, Poldark (TV), Porridge (TV), The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Jerry Hall: Tooth, Princess Caraboo, Batman (1989)
  • Lily Cole: London Fields, The Messenger (2015), Snow White and The Huntsman, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, St Trinians
  • Gwendoline Christie: Star Wars – , Game of Thrones (TV), Star Wars – The Force Awakens, Hunger Games – Mockingjay 2
  • Graham Norton: The Graham Norton Show, I Could Never Be Your Woman, Another Gay Movie, Father Ted (TV)
  • Judith Chalmers: Wish You Were Here (TV)
  • Daisy Lowe: Tulip Fever, Pressure, Confine
  • Suki Waterhouse: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, Insurgent, Love Rosie
  • Dawn French: The Vicar of Dibley (TV), The Comic Strip Presents…(TV), Psychoville (TV), Lark Rise to Candleford (TV), Animals United (voice), Coraline (voice), French and Saunders (TV), The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe (voice), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban, Maybe Baby, The Adventures of Pinocchio (1996), Eat The Rich, The Supergrass, The Young Ones (TV)
  • Joan Collins: Molly Moon, Benidorm (TV), Saving Santa (voice), Footballers Wives (TV), The Flintstones 2, The Clandestine Marriage, A Midwinter’s Tale, Decadence, Dynasty (TV), The Bitch, Sunburn, The Stud, The Big Sleep (1978), The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones, Alfie 2, Football Crazy

DAVID BRENT – LIFE ON THE ROAD

7.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 11th August 2016

Director: Ricky Gervais (Special Correspondents / Derek (TV) / Life’s Too Short (TV) / Cemetery Junction / The Invention of Lying / Extras (TV) / The Office (TV))

Cast: Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith, Jo Hartley, Tom Basden, Tom Bennett, Mandeep Dhillon, Andrew Brooke, Diane Morgan, Stuart Wilkinson, Andy Burrows, Michael Clarke, Steve Clarke, Abbie Murphy, Miles Chapman, Rebecca Gethings, Ashley McGuire, Roisin Conaty, Alexander Arnold, Peter Andre with Nina Sosanya and Kevin Bishop

Writer: Ricky Gervais

Trailer: DAVID BRENT – LIFE ON THE ROAD

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Ricky Gervais: Blazing Samurai (voice), Special Correspondents, Derek (TV), Night At The Museum 3, Muppets Most Wanted, Cemetery Junction, Extras (TV), Life’s Too Short (TV),  Night At The Museum 2, The Invention Of Lying, Night At The Museum,  Stardust, Ghost Town, The Ricky Gervais Show (TV), For Your Consideration, The Office (TV)
  • Ben Bailey Smith: Level Up, Law and Order UK (TV), Wishbaby
  • Jo Hartley: Access All Areas, Prevenge, Eddie The Eagle, This Is England ’90 (TV),  When The Lights Went OutIll Manors, This Is England ’88 (TV), Inbred, This Is England 86 (TV), Soulboy, Crying With Laughter, This Is England
  • Tom Basden: Plebs (TV), W1A (TV)
  • Tom Bennett: Mascots, Love & Friendship, PhoneShop (TV), The Booze Cruise 2
  • Mandeep Dhillon: Wolfblood (TV), 24 (TV)
  • Andrew Brooke: Babylon (TV), DaVinci’s Demons (TV)
  • Diane Morgan: Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe (TV)
  • Alexander Arnold: Poldark (TV), Skins (TV)
  • Ashley McGuire: Man Down (TV), Gold
  • Roisin Conaty: Man Down (TV)
  • Peter Andre: Keith Lemon
  • Nina Sosanya: W1A (TV), Last Tango In Halifax (TV), Wizards vs. Aliens (TV), Silk (TV), Dr Who (TV), Nathan Barley (TV), Code 46, Teachers (TV)
  • Kevin Bishop: A Few Less Men, Nigel Farage Gets His Life Back, Moonwalkers, Chinese Puzzle, All Stars, May I Kill U?A Few Best MenKeith Lemon, The Kevin Bishop Show (TV), Muppets’ Treasure Island

 

WEEKEND RETREAT

3.5 out of 10

Release date: 5th November 2011 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Brett Harvey (Brown Willy)

Cast: Esther Hall, Dominic Coleman, Simon Harvey, Dean Nolan, Daniel Harvey and Dudley Sutton

Writer: Brett Harvey

Trailer: Not available

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The Harvey Brothers are probably the closest the Duchy of Cornwall has to auteurs at the time of writing. A merry band of filmmakers who have so far made a clutch or documentaries, shorts and two fictional features. Weekend Retreat was their first, and the much improved follow up was Brown Willy.  Their feature debut shows a lot of promise and some of the quirks and invention they’d apply to the second film, alas, as much as you’d like Weekend Retreat to be a winner, it largely flops due to the same damining factors that trip up so many low-budget filmmakers – a ropey script, weird plotting and uneven acting from a mixture of industry pros and locals.

A warring couple, Esther Hall (BLACK MIRROR) and Dominic Coleman (COLD FEET) turn up at a holiday cottage. Unfortunately, on the same day, two dim-witted brothers, Simon Harvey (BROWN WILLY) and DEAN NOLAN (TIN) turn up at the house to burgle the dreaded ‘second-home’ owner, Dudley Sutton (ORLANDO). A caper ensues that sees switched allegiances wreck everybody’s plans, and the idea of a peaceful break goes out of the window as things get comically out of control.

Weekend Retreat starts with an extended flashback, which anyone who had holidays in Cornwall growing up will love, as it features the desolate children theme park Flambards. Two young brothers go around on several rides before facing the 40ft ‘Wall of Death’ which seems to be the defining moment in the burglars’ lives. This is a wonderfully presented scene and its a shame that rest of the film rarely gains these levels of entertainment again. A scene about halfway through when one of the burglars gives a shoulder to cry on, and unexpected comfort to Esther Hall at the climax of an exhausting chase is the best bit by miles and is possibly the main reason for watching this muddled debut. It’s a film which demonstrates the stories potential, and also the opportunities missed to make this a truly funny break out picture. As it is Weekend Retreat remains a little-known curio which fans of Brown Willy may go and seek out to get more of the same. Unfortunately, these guys were still only learning the trade and had quite a way to go before they got it right. On the plus side, it takes some filmmakers ages to get a good film made, check out Steve M Smith or Steve Lawson, who put out lots of films, all terrible with no sign of improvement on the horizon. The Harvey Brothers well and truly upped their game by scaling back with Brown Willy, coming up with a smaller cast, and concentrating on the craft of presenting a humourous film, with a great soundtrack and some of the best landscape cinematography I’ve seen in a no-budget film.

A good try, but I’m afraid despite the ‘real’ actors on duty, Weekend Retreat is largely a patience tester and could have been much funnier. Here’s to future projects though, because there is evidence of talent on the rise here.

3.5 out of 10 – Clunky, mildly funny marriage farce, tripped up by lethargic plotting and uneven acting. Stick to the Harvey Brothers’ second film Brown Willy. Much funnier, much better.

Review below by Matt Usher

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Esther Hall: Black Mirror (TV), Mount Pleasant (TV), Doctors (TV), Rome (TV), Waking The Dead (TV), Spooks (TV), Queer As Folk (TV), Land Girls
  • Dominic Coleman: The Devil Went Down To Islington, Cold Feet (TV), Paddington, We Are The Freaks, Sex Lives of the Potato Men
  • Simon Harvey: Brown Willy
  • Dean Nolan: Tin
  • Dudley Sutton: Tin, Fall of An Empire, Cockneys Vs. ZombiesOutside Bet, The Shouting Men, Lovejoy (TV), Dean Spanley, Eastenders (TV), The Football Factory, The Tichborne Claimant, Incognito (1997), Orlando, Edward II, The Rainbow, The Devils, The London Connection, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, The Leather Boys

 

BONDED BY BLOOD 2

5 out of 10

Release Date: 9th January 2017 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Greg Hall (Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan)

Cast: George Russo, Sam Strike, Josh Myers, Johnny Palmiero, Casey Batchelor, Dani Dyer, Martin Delaney, Naomi Willow, Tony Denham, Perry Warner, Kirk Norcross, Tracy Kirby, Jerry Anderson, Scott Wickes, Johnny Sachon, Danny Howard with Mark Cooper Harris, Terry Stone and Chris Ellison

Writer: Simon Cluett

Trailer: BONDED BY BLOOD 2

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Here it is. The dramatisation of Bernard O’Mahoney’s documentary and book, Essex Boys – The Truth making it the first to lionise the next generation of crims. Hanging around on the shelf for over 12 months Bonded By Blood 2 is finally out. The first one told the same story as the last half of the original Rise of the Footsoldier about the now legendary but no less boring Landrover Murders, in which drug dealers and gangsters Tony Tucker, Craig Rolfe and Pat Tate all met with a grisly end. This one tells a slightly more interesting but equally seedy tale of Essex crims called Dean Boshell (SAM STRIKE – EASTENDERS), Damo Alvin (GEORGE RUSSO – TONY), Ricky Percival (JOSH MYERS – FALL OF THE KRAYS) and Malcolm Walsh (MARTIN DELANEY – NOW YOU SEE ME 2). Boshell falls under Alvin’s protection in jail but proves to be a low-level acolyte on joining the gang when they graduate to the outside world. Ricky Percival is the hot head leader, and Alvin is the more scheming of the two. So whilst Percival is out there building an empire with an old enemy, Alvin is plotting and using Boshell to do his dirty work. The cops find the weak link and use Boshell as an informant and so it plays out with double-cross after double-cross.

Bonded By Blood 2 is the next in a long line of films about Essex criminals and it’s a healthy sub-genre of the independent British film market. With Rise of the Footsoldier 3, Essex Heist, Barbie Dolls Gangsters of Upminster all awaiting a release, there seems to be no sign to this revenue stream running its course. Seems all you have to do is say ‘c*nt’ a lot, and get yourself some ex-players from London’s Burning or The Bill to show up and et voila you have your movie. Bonded By Blood 2 even has some reality TV stars in the mix too from the likes of The Only Way Is Essex and Celebrity Big Brother... Oh oh. Pretty much all the cast do a good job however, and nobody makes a fool out of themselves. The film’s main problem is that it fails to distinguish itself from its rivals like the Rise of the Footsoldier series and one or two other contenders. The ‘fictional’ framing device where Johnny Palmiero’s (EAT LOCAL) Bernard O’Mahoney meets Mr X (a ripe Mark Cooper Harris (PRETTY BOY)) who sells him the story of Boshell and Alvin, is troublesome. It’s almost comic compared to the rest of the film which has the look and feel of an episode of Brookside. Produced by the notorious Jonathan Sothcott, I can say that this is one of his best films to date, but not a patch on Vendetta. This is around the Top Dog mark, but streets ahead of We Still Kill The Old Way and way above his last turd, Age of Kill.  Director Greg Hall does another competent job after his debut Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan. Terry Stone (RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER 3) reprises his role in flashbacks at Tony Tucker but his inclusion amounts to little and impacts the central narrative in no way. It’s just another sales hook and way to tie this sequel into the first one.

5 out of 10 – So whilst it’s solid and largely helped by an impressive cast doing what they enjoy and do best – shout and say c*nt a lot – it does what you expect, nothing more nothing less.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

A DOZEN SUMMERS

3 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 17th August 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Kenton Hall

Cast: Hero Hall, Scarlet Hall, Kenton Hall, Sarah Warren, Robert Bilic, Sanjiv Hayre with Ewen McIntosh and Colin Baker (narrator)

Writer: Kenton Hall

Trailer: A DOZEN SUMMERS

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?