ABDUCT

0.5 out of 10

Release date: 1st May 2017 (DVD premiere)

Director: Ilyas Kaduji (Anamorphosis)

Cast: Mark Arnold, Mhairi Calvey, William B Davis, Petra Bryant, Andrei Claude,  Franco Flammia, Buffy Davis and Art Bell with Jack O’Halloran and Sienna Guillory

Writer: Philip Daay & Ilya Kaduji

Trailer: ABDUCT

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Quite easily one of the most amateurish, worst and unfinished cheapos I’ve ever seen. This gives king of z-grade trash movies, Steve M Smith a run for his money and lessons in how to make absolutely terrible sci-fis. How the filmmakers (I use that word tentatively) rounded up this number of professional actors and Petra Bryant (THE LAST SCOUT) is a true mystery.  This barely coherent leaking bag of toxic and runny dog shit involves a girl (MHAIRI CALVEY) who has been on the run from aliens and the government all her life? She stumbles into the lives of conspiracy theorist and radio station shock jock, Ridley (MARK ARNOLD – TRANCERS 4) and his farm landlord (WILLIAM B DAVIS – THE X-FILES). They come under siege when the aliens led by Superman veteran Jack O’Halloran as a Man in Black called Alistair turns up and doesn’t do a lot. He does try to lure her out of the kitchen with a funny voice though… Hmmm. Sienna Guillory (DON’T HANG UP) shows up in a weird cameo as if she’s playing dress up in her child’s panto. Everybody is just awful, the fake American accents are some of the worst you’ll ever hear and the special effects are z-grade. You’ll never have seen CGI this soupy in the history of cinema, even if you go back to the 1970s… Ed Wood jr has competition for Plan 9 From Outer Space. There’s nothing to recommend here, even the actors look embarrassed to be caught on film. Witness William B Davis’ in-joke about X-Files and cringe. Witness Petra Bryant succumbing to Russian brain reprogramming ala the Manchurian Candidate. Witness people get shot and recover instantly (and they aren’t the aliens – just victims of bad storytelling). This gives Invasion Earth by Steven M Smith a really good rival in a race to bottom of worst low-budget horror films ever made.

0.5 out of 10 – Avoid at all costs. The cast may draw you in with curiosity but for the most part it’s littered with ludicrous cameos, badly directed scenes, non-acting, over-acting, nonsensical plots. Alien’s really are here. They made this film.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Mark Arnold: Anamorphosis, Trancers 5, Trancers 4, Threesome, Teen Wolf, The Edge of Night (TV)
  • William B Davis: The X-Files (TV), The Tall Man, Passengers (2008), Smallville (TV), Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, The X Files Movie, Unforgettable (1996), Beyond The Stars
  • Petra Bryant: Nightmare on 34th Street,  The Last Scout, The Disappearance of Lenka Wood, Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3
  • Buffy Davis: The Night Manager (TV), The Archers (radio), Doc Martin (TV), Until Death, The Machinist
  • Jack O’Halloran: The Flintstones, Dragnet, Superman II, Superman, King Kong (1976)
  • Sienna Guillory: Don’t Hang Up, Fortitude (TV), Lucky Man (TV), High-RiseThe Goob, Luther (TV), Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 4, Inkheart, Eragon, Resident Evil 3, Love Actually, The Principles of Lust, The Time Machine (2002), Late Night Shopping, Sorted

AWAY

6.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 12th May 2017 (DVD premiere)

Director: David Blair (The Messenger (2016) / Best Laid Plans (2012))

Cast: Timothy Spall, Juno Temple, Matt Ryan, Hayley Squires, Joanna Roth, Reece Noi, Tony Pitts with Terry Stone and Susan Lynch

Writer: Roger Hadfield

Trailer: AWAY

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Timothy Spall: Early Man (voice), The Journey, Denial, Alice In Wonderland 2 (voice), Mr TurnerThe Love PunchThe RiseLove BiteComes 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
  • Juno Temple: Vinyl (TV), Black Mass, Far From The Madding Crowd (2015), Sin City 2, Maleficent, Horns, Lovelace, The Dark Knight Rises, Small Apartments, Killer Joe, The Three Musketeers (2011), Kaboom, Greenberg, St Trinians 2, Glorious 39, Mr Nobody, Cracks, Year One, Wild Child, The Other Boleyn Girl, St Trinians (2007), Atonement, Notes On a Scandal
  • Matt Ryan: Constantine (TV)
  • Hayley Squires: Giantland, I Daniel Blake, Blood Cells
  • Reece Noi: K-Shop, Game of Thrones (TV), Waterloo Road (TV), Emmerdale (TV), Doctors (TV), Grange Hill (TV), The Virgin of Liverpool, My Kingdom
  • Tony Pitts: Journeyman, Line of Duty (TV), Star Wars – Rogue One, Peaky Blinders (TV), Hyena
  • Terry Stone: We Still Steal The Old Way, Once Upon a Time In London, Rise of the Footsoldier 3, Fanged Up, Bonded By Blood 2, Plastic, Get LuckyOutside BetAnuvahood,  The HoldingBonded By BloodShankTen Dead MenJack SaidDoghouseUnarmed and DangerousRise Of The Foot SoldierRollin’ With The Nines, Hell To Pay
  • Susan Lynch: The Secret Scripture, The Scouting Book For Boys, City Rats, Someone Else, Holy Waters, Enduring Love, 16 Years Of Alcohol, Nora,Waking Ned, From Hell, Elizabeth I – The Golden Age, Beautiful Creatures, Downtime, The Secret Of Roan Inish

 

AMEN ISLAND aka UNHAPPY BIRTHDAY

3 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 21st June 2011 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Mark Harriot & Mike Matthews

Cast: David Paisley, Christina DeVallee, Jonathan Keane, Jill Riddiford and David McGillivray

Writer: Mark Harriot & Mike Matthews

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • David Paisley: River City (TV), Holby City (TV), Casualty (TV)
  • David McGillivray: The House of Whipcord

THE SENSE OF AN ENDING

7 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 14th April 2017

Director: Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox)

Cast: Jim Broadbent, Harriett Walter, Michelle Dockery, Emily Mortimer, Billy Howle, Freya Mavor, Joe Alwyn, James Wilby, Edward Holcroft, Peter Wight, Hilton McRae, Jack Loxton, Timothy Innes, Andrew Buckley, Nick Mohammed, Karina Fernandez, Oliver Maltman, David Horovitch with Matthew Goode and Charlotte Rampling

Writer: Julian Barnes / Nick Payne

Trailer: THE SENSE OF AN ENDING

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Jim Broadbent: Black 47, Paddington 2, Bridget Jones 3, Ethel and Ernest (voice), The Legend of Tarzan, Eddie The Eagle, London Spy (TV), War & Peace (TV), Brooklyn, The Lady In a Van, Big Game, Get Santa, Paddington, Postman Pat (voice), The Harry Hill Movie, Closed Circuit, Le Week-EndFilth, Cloud Atlas, The Iron Lady, Another Year, Harry Potter- part 8, Harry Potter- part 6, Arthur Christmas (voice), The Damned United, Young Victoria, Inkheart, Indiana Jones 4, Hot Fuzz, Chronicles Of Narnia- The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, Bridget Jones 2, Vera Drake, Vanity Fair, Bright Young Things, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Gangs Of New York, Iris, Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones, Little Voice, Topsy Turvy, The Avengers, The Borrowers, Smilla’s Feeling For Snow, The Secret Agent, Rough Magic, Richard III (1995), Princess Caraboo, Bullets Over Broadway, Widow’s Peak, The Crying Game, Enchanted April, Life Is Sweet, Erik The Viking, Vroom, Brazil
  • Harriet Walter: Blakc Sails (TV), Call The Midwife (TV), Star Wars – The Force Awakens, Man Up, Suite Francaise, Downton Abbey (TV), The Assets (TV),  The Wedding Video (2012), Morris – A Life With Bells On, 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
  • Michelle Dockery: Downton Abbey (TV), Self/Less,  Non-Stop, Anna Karenina (2012), Hanna
  • Emily Mortimer: Mary Poppins Returns, Spectral, Rio I Love You, Hugo, Cars 2 (voice), Shutter Island, Harry Brown, The Pink Panther 2, Redbelt, Lars and the Real Game, Paris Je T’Aime, Match Point, Howl’s Moving Castle (voice), Dear Frankie, Bright Young Things, Young Adam, Formula 51, Lovely & Amazing, The Kid (2000), Love’s Labours Lost, Scream 3, Notting Hill, Elizabeth I, The Last of the High Kings, The Ghost and The Darkness
  • Billy Howle: On Chesil Beach
  • Freya Mavor: Cezanne at Moi, Not Another Happy Ending, Sunshine On Leith, Skins (TV)
  • Joe Alwyn: The Favourite, Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk
  • James Wilby: Breathe, Casualty (TV), ChickLit, Titanic (TV), De-Lovely, Gosford Park, Cotton Mary, Tom’s Midnight Garden, An Ideal Husband, Regeneration, Crocodile Shoes (TV), Lady Chatterley (TV), Immaculate Conception, Howard’s End, A Handful of Dust, Maurice, Privileged
  • Edward Holcroft: Kingsman 2, London Spy (TV), Kingsman – The Secret Service, Wolf Hall (TV), Vampire Academy
  • Peter Wight: Another Mother’s Son, Trespass Against Us, Ethel & Ernest (voice), Kon Tiki, Mr Turner, The Look Of Love, My Week With MarilynHardboiled SweetsGhosted, Best Laid Plans (2012)CloneAnother YearCass, Hot Fuzz, Babel, Flood, Pride & Prejudice (2005), Vera Drake, Shiner, Naked, Mean Time
  • Hilton McRae: Darkest Hour, Denial, The Execution of Gary Glitter, Red Riding (TV), Doctors (TV), The Secret Rapture, Greystoke, Star Wars – Return of the Jedi, The French Lieutenant’s Woman
  • Timothy Innes: Daphne
  • Andrew Buckley: Identicals, The Bunker (2016),  Jimi, Skeletons, Extras (TV)
  • Nick Mohammed: Bridget Jones 3, Absolutely Fabulous – The MovieBenny & Jolene
  • Karina Fernandez: Daphne, Mr TurnerPride (2014), Another Year, Happy Go Lucky
  • Oliver Maltman: The Mercy, Mr Turner, Another Year, Happy Go Lucky
  • David Horovitch: The Chamber (2017), The Infiltrator, Mr Turner, In Your Dreams, Young Victoria, Max, Solomon & Gaenor, Just William (TV)
  • Matthew Goode: Birthmarked, Guernsey, The Hatton Garden Job, Allied, Self/Less, Pressure, The Imitation Game, Belle, Stoker, Cemetery Junction, Watchmen, A Single Man, Leap Year, Brideshead Revisted, Imagine Me & You, Match Point
  • Charlotte Rampling: Assassin’s Creed, The Forbidden Room, 45 Years, Broadchurch (TV), London Spy (TV), Dexter (TV), Night Train To Lisbon, The Sea, Nymphomaniac, Eye of the Storm, The Invisible Woman, I, AnnaCleanskin, elancholia, Never Let Me Go, Streetdance, The Duchess, Babylon AD, Basic Instinct 2, Swimming Pool, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, Spy Game, Under The Sand, The Wings Of The Dove, Paris By Night, DOA (1987), Angel Heart, Max Mon Amour, The Verdict, Stardust Memories, Orca, Sherlock Holmes in New York (TV), Jackpot, Farewell My Lovely, Caravan to Vaccares, The Night Porter, Zardoz, Henry VIII and His Six Wives, Vanishing Point, Asylum, The Damned, Georgy Girl

 

 

CLOWN KILL

2.5 out of 10

Release date: 15th May 2017 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Mark J Howard

Cast: Roy Basnett, Jessica Cunningham, Stephen Greenhalgh, James Thompson, Tim Paley, Holly Chadwick, Rachel Dargie, Jeff Downs and Simon Entwistle

Writer: Mark J Howard & Stephen Greenhalgh

Trailer: CLOWN KILL

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This narky, no-budget stalker flick at least attempts to be memorable. In a lot of ways, it’s only the budget and the limits of some of its performers that holds this killer clown flick back from achieving a comic notoriety on the same level as some of the well-worn Hollywood horror franchises. However, Stitches it is not – it’s not even Jason X. The main star is the reality TV personality Jessica Cunningham from The Apprentice and more recently Celebrity Big Brother. She plays a woman who works in a shabby ‘ad’ agency, who had, six months earlier, gotten drugged and raped by a clown in a pub toilet. Left to complete a rebranding for a local circus, she finds herself locked in the office with a murderous clown, who may or may not be one of her colleagues in disguise. Could it be her boss, the unhinged Charlie Boy (ROY BASNETT) or Quasimodo (STEPHEN GREENHALGH), the sinister janitor? Could be!? Who cares?

Clown Kill serves up limited laughs, and as weak as they are the ‘have a go’ bunch look like the cast had a good cackle at themselves in the process. Particularly, the two night security guards – still disposable – but at least they have a good line of piss-taking and practical joke playing before the clown gruesomely dispatches them. Did I say this was a horror? Well, it’s about as scary as an episode of Crossroads. There’s zero tension, so the decision to throw in a bunch of jokes was very wise.

The last horror we watched here was the pompous and utterly boring Ripper, which attempted to restore Jack The Ripper, as the ultimate film bogeyman. Clown Kill tries the same, but instead mixes humour with the murderous villainy. It’s the kind of role that welcomes plenty of egg and ham, and I think the actor  who plays the killer clown nails it. It’s just that the film and the location are cheap and the story takes way to long to get going. Yet, if you’re in a very, very forgiving mood, this weird horror-comedy from Widnes or Runcorn could be exactly what you need. If you’re not in the moon it’s just another cheapo quicky to quickly forget about.

2.5 out of 10 – Very lumpy, cut-price slasher flick with amusing script and game performances from it’s amateur cast. Cheapo the Clown, if you like.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Jessica Cunningham: Celebrity Big Brother (TV), The Apprentice (TV)
  • Tim Paley: Tash Force, Diary of a Bad Lad

CAGE

4.5 out of 10

Release date: 1st April 2017 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Warren Dudley (The Cutting Room)

Cast: Lucy-Jane Quinlan and Patrick Bergin

Voice cast: Jake Unsworth, Sharon Drain and Andy Costello

Writer: Warren Dudley

Trailer: CAGE

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This economy-class thriller has a secret weapon – a very, very strong and convincing performance by the only actress ‘seen’ in the film, Lucy-Jane Quinlan (THE BROMLEY BOYS). All else would have failed if they gotten a weaker, less committed young performer.

Phone sex-worker, Gracie agrees to meet a client called Peter (PATRICK BERGIN – PATRIOT GAMES). This is against her employers rules, but she is out of money and desperate. The next morning she awakes, a captive in a giant wooden cage, containing a bed, her mobile phone, food and a raging headache. The door is locked shut with a chain and padlock, and she appears to be too weak to smash her way out or try other methods we know. Her only instructions are to wait and all will be revealed as to why she is being held, and that she mustn’t contact the police.  As the days wind onwards, she is put under pressure by a family emergency which she cannot attend to, and increasingly cryptic Peter to deal with.

There is a twist in the tale but then there always is in these types of thrillers. It’s terrifically naff, and not particularly convincing. However, it does present the viewer with something different. It’s a hard one to swallow. Thanks to the previously mentioned central performance, Cage just about sells its story to us and it holds its ground amongst earlier films that offered up a similar premise. It’s a shame there’s still one or two plot holes like – where’s her toilet? Why is she left with a mobile phone that can dial out? I thought it was quite clever how the captor kept her on a hook long enough, so as to get her too weak to break out, but most people we know would have tried harder, sooner to escape. I don’t care how much you needed the money.

4.5 out of 10 – Good low-budget attempt at kidnap thriller that capitalises on a great performance from its unknown lead, but flounders with a twist that nobody wanted and reeks of cop-out.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

FREE FIRE

8 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 31st March 2017

Director: Ben Wheatley (Freakshift / High-Rise / A Field In England / Sightseers / Kill List/ Down Terrace)

Cast: Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy, Sam Riley, Jack Reynor, Michael Smiley, Noah Taylor, Babou Ceesay, Enzo Cilenti, Mark Monero with Tom Davis and Patrick Bergin

Writer: Ben Wheatley & Amy Jump

Trailer: FREE FIRE

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?