A STREET CAT NAMED BOB

7.5 out of 10

Release date: 3rd November 2016

Director: Roger Spottiswoode (The 6th Day / James Bond – Tomorrow Never Dies / Mesmer / And The Band Played On / Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot / Air America / Turner & Hooch / Shoot To Kill / The Best of Times / Under Fire / Terror Train)

Cast: Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head, Darren Evans, Beth Goddard, Lorraine Ashbourne, Nina Wadia, Tony Jayawardena, John Henshaw, Akbar Kurtha, Ivana Basic with Ruth Sheen and Caroline Goodall

Writer: Tim John & Maria Nation / James Bowen & Garry Jenkins

Trailer:

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Solid, piece of family entertainment with a bit of an edge, this true story of a recovering drug addict, who becomes an overnight sensation because of his devoted cat, Bob, could have been yet another piss-weak TV-movie. That A Street Cat Named Bob actually has something going for it is a pleasant surprise.

This real-life aspirational story is the very modern kind that it may not have caught the nation’s imagination if it wasn’t for viral social media. James, (LUKE TREADAWAY – FORTITUDE) a Big Issue vendor and busker, gets given a second chance when his case worker Val (JOANNE FROGGATT – DOWNTON ABBEY) and finds him a flat. He is soon befriended by a stray cat, who he calls Bob. Bob is devoted to him and follows him everywhere, even when he goes busking or on his errands. Sitting atop of his shoulders. Life isn’t all rosy for James, as he’s still a few steps from finishing his methodone programme. The temptations to take heroin are all around him, not least when he lives in a very run down area, where dealers lurk on every street, and an old friend from the streets, Baz (DARREN EVANS – HUNKY DORY) shows up expecting help. His father has a new family who really hate him, and he’s an embarrassment to them all, so his support network is social services, Bob, and the most groomed crusty in the history of movies, neighbouring dog walker, Betty (RUDA GEDMINTAS – THE INCIDENT). Eventually he’s happened upon by a local journalist after becoming a YouTube sensation and this leads ot having his life story written and published in a series of books (leading to this film).

Thankfully, we’re not quite in the realms of Richard Curtis’ London but there is still a disconnect with real life with the lack of true-grit, dirt and shit of being a drug addict. It’s still a fairly cheery film that only touches base with many of the issues at its core. One character talks about The Big Issue being a gateway job, you know, like marijuana is a gateway drug. Well, if this thought-piece masquerading as light entertainment gets people staying away from drugs then all is well. As a gritty film in the style of Nil By Mouth is niche with a limited audience. And it’s probably preaching to people in the know already – a film about a man with the cat, could act as a trojan horse and actually raise awareness of very real issues to people of the right age – young adults, as well as grannies, mums and dads.

So a big well done to the makers, and of course to the real life James and Bob for giving the ‘disinterested’ something a bit spiky to chew on.  Luke Treadaway is superb and well-cast. He doesn’t take the easy route and go for cute, he is convincing in every way and it’s a big deal that he wins hearts and minds whilst being upstaged by a cheeky cat. Predictable but never smug, this is the kind of commercial film the British Film Industry should get behind and produce a few more of. True life stories that genuinely inspire.

7.5 out of 10 – A trojan horse of a movie, that smuggles some difficult facts and plot lines into a fcute animal film for families. One of the best mainstream British movies for years.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

 

STARFISH

6 out of 10

Release date: 26th October 2016

Director: Bill Clark

cast: Joanne Froggatt, Tom Riley, Michele Dotrice, Ellie Copping, Simon Bamford, David Carr and Phoebe Nicholls

Writer: Bill Clark

Trailer: STARFISH

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I dread watching films like this. Not because I end up a sobbing wreck. It’s just as a film, it’s a troubling medium, the ‘disease-showcase’ movie. Like sports movies they are about human endurance and run along a set path. A good, hardworking person (never a lolly-gagging lazy turd who’s bad to their friends or family) who gets struck down by a life-changing condition. Often these films serve as an education, and can be involving and moving like Still Alice, or crass, terrible and maudlin like The C Word. Starfish ticks just about every box but it’s lightness of touch and a striking central performance from Joanne Froggatt (DOWNTON ABBEY) makes sure that this isn’t written off as an off-key Hallmark Channel hankie-fest.

About Sepsis.

Based on the true story of Tom Ray (TOM RILEY – DA VINCI’S DEMONS) is struck down with sepsis one day. A staggering 1 in 10 people survive an attack, and those that do have to live with horrific injuries including limb-loss. This film tells the story of Tom, his wife Nicola (FROGGATT) and his young family. After surviving an attack, he returns home and the drama tells of how they all struggle and then ultimately cope together with such a horrifying change. The impact on seemingly normal lives is colossal. Tom Riley has the more difficult role – he is in turn depressed, confused, self-loathing, hateful to his loved ones, and a changed man. As the funds run out and their new way of life takes shape you begin to invest more in the situation.

Well made, and well-acted, it does walk a well-worn path and it’s in the quieter moments when this film wins points. When Tom sees the extent of his amputation, and his disfigured face, the filmmakers really send you on that journey of crushing wonderment. There are several positive scenes that recur throughout the film. The titular starfish shows up from time to time to teach our hero to be strong and about the mythical possibility that his limbs could grow back – just like a starfish. A late confrontation bewtween Tom and Nicola also push this ahead of most ‘disease-of-the-week’ TV specials. The actors effortlessly convincing as a married couple on the brink of burn out. The ending is filled with hope, yet there are no miracles. The message isacceptance, and that the sufferer isn’t the only one afflicted when a deadly disease strikes you down out of the blue.

6 out of 10 – Above average ‘Life vs Disease’ film, dealt with sensitively and convincingly. A difficult job considering these films come with a ready made plot. A superior granny special

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Joanne Froggatt: Mary Shelley, Bob The Builder (voice) (TV), A Street Cat Named Bob, Downton Abbey (TV), Still Life, Filth, UWantMe2KillHim?In Our Name, Coronation Street (TV)
  • Tom Riley: Kill Your Friends, Da Vinci’s Demons (TV), I Want Candy
  • Michele Dotrice: Captain Jack, Vanity Fair (1998) (TV), Bramwell (TV), Some Mother’s Do Have ‘Em (TV), The Blood On Satan’s Claw, And Soon The Darkness, Middlemarch (1968) (TV), The Witches (1966)
  • Simon Bamford: Dead of the Nite, Book of Blood, Nightbreed, Hell Raiser 2, Hell Raiser
  • Phoebe Nicholls: Chubby Funny, Transformers 5, Fortitude (TV), Downton Abbey (TV), Shackleton (TV), Fairy Tale, Maurice, The Missionary, Brideshead Revisited (TV), The Elephant Man, Women In Love

CHICKLIT

3.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 2nd September 2016

Director: Tony Britten (Draw On Sweet Night)

Cast: Christian McKay, Dakota Blue Richards, Miles Jupp, Eileen Atkins, David Troughton, Caroline Catz, Tom Palmer and James Wilby with Niamh Cusack, Cathy Tyson and John Hurt

Writer: Oliver Britten & Tony Britten

Trailer: CHICKLIT

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Christian McKay: Florence Foster Jenkins, Draw On Sweet Night  The Theory of Everything, Northern Soul, Rush (2013), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Mr Nice, Me and Orson Welles
  • Dakota Blue Richards: Endeavour (TV), The Quiet Hour, The Fold, Skins (TV), The Secret of Moonacre, The Golden Compass
  • Miles Jupp: Journey’s End, 8 out of 10 Cats (TV) (presenter), Mock of the Week (TV), Have I Got News For You (TV), Rev (TV), Balamory (TV)
  • Eileen Atkins: Suite Francaise, Magic In The Moonlight, Doc Martin (TV), Beautiful Creatures, Wild Target (2010), Psychoville (TV), Robin Hood (2010), Last Chance Harvey, Scenes Of a Sexual Nature, Cold Mountain, The Hours, Gosford Park, The Avengers (1998), Wolf, Jack and Sarah, Let Him Have It, Equus
  • David Troughton: The Levelling, Nina Forever, The Interceptor (TV), New Tricks (TV), Casualty 1909 (TV), Casualty 1907 (TV), Captain Jack, Bonjour la Classe (TV), The Chain, Wings (TV), David Copperfield (1975)(TV), Dr Who (TV)
  • Caroline Catz: DCI Banks (TV), Doc Martin (TV)
  • Tom Palmer: Eastenders (TV), Dr Who (TV)
  • James Wilby: Breathe, The Sense of an Ending, Casualty (TV), 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
  • Niamh Cusack: The Ghoul, Departure, Testament of Youth, The Kid (2010), The Closer You Get, Heartbeat (TV), The Playboys (1992), Fools of Fortune, A Marriage of Inconvenience, Paris By Night
  • Cathy Tyson: The Marker, Mob Handed, Grange Hill (TV), Band of Gold (TV), Priest (1994), The Serpent and The Rainbow, Mona Lisa
  • John Hurt: That Good Night, Damascus Cover, The Journey, My Name Is Lenny, Jackie, Snowpiercer, Hercules (2014), Only Lovers Left Alive, Doctor Who – Day of the Doctor, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,  Immortals (2011), Brighton Rock (2011),  Harry Potter 1,7 & 8, Melancholia,  New York I Love You, 44 Inch Chest, The Limits Of Control, V For Vendetta, Hellboy 1 & 2, Outlander, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Perfume, The Oxford Murders, The Skeleton Key, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,  The Proposition, Lost Souls, Contact, Night Train, You’re Dead, All The Little Animals, Love and Death On Long Island, WIld Bill (1995), Dead Man, Rob Roy, Second Best, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, Monolith, King Ralph, The Field, Scandal, White Mischief, Heaven’s Gate, The Elephant Man, 1984, Watership Down (voice), Midnight Express, Alien, The Naked Civil Servant, 10 Rillington Place, Little Malcolm

DAD’S ARMY (2016)

2 out of 10

Release date:  5th February 2016

Director: Oliver Parker (Johnny English 2 / St Trinians 2 / Dorian Gray / St Trinians (2007) / The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) / An Ideal Husband (1999) / Othello (1995))

Cast: Toby Jones, Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tom Courtenay, Daniel Mays, Blake Harrison, Alison Steadman, Sarah Lancashire, Mark Gatiss, Felicity Montagu, Emily Atack, Holli Dempsey, Annette Crosbie, Julia Foster, Mark Tandy, Andrew Havill, Martin Savage, Ian Lavender with Bill Paterson, Oliver Tobias and Michael Gambon

Writer: Hamish McColl

Trailer: DAD’S ARMY (2016)

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Oof, why does this exist? Did the fans of the original 1960s and 1970s TV series really need this reboot. I don’t know any fans of the old show so I don’t know if this film has done it justice, I can only appraise it on it’s own meagre merits.

What do you call a comedy with no laughs? There seems to be so many of them made, it should be a genre in its own right. Sadly, this is yet another DOA remake, reboot, sequel with a cast full of household names from TV and film, plus a load of oldies and one member of the original bunch, Ian Lavender (EASTENDERS).

The thin-plot involves the arrival of a spy in the village of Walmington-on-Sea during WW2, where Captain Mainwaring (TOBY JONES – TALE OF TALES) and his Dad’s Army guard a section of the coast.  Meanwhile, a mysterious woman, Rose Winters (CATHERINE ZETA-JONES – BLUE JUICE) moves to town. She’s a journalist, and has the male population all a quiver and falling over themselves to ‘bed’ her. Little do they know she may be the spy they are on the look out for.

When the identity of the spy is revealed near the end, I had no idea it was meant to be a secret.  Non of the hi-jinx is funny or even engaging and it’s a shame that such a wonderful cast has signed on to this vapid nostalgia turd. Its as lifeless and as pointless an exercise like most of the current crop of TV remakes. There’s no excuse for the lack of decent jokes as their is a hoard of comedy writing talent in England that could have turned this into gold standard material, instead we got Hamish McColl, the guy that wrote the so-so Johnny English movies. It’s time for him to move on and give someone with an active funny bone the typewriter.

2 out of 10 – A lousy, unfunny comedy made on a huge budget, amde to cash in on the grey pound. The least the makers could have done is employ a gag writer. Crap and empty.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Toby Jones: Jurassic Park 5, The Snowman (2017), Atomic Blonde, Wayward Pines (TV), Tale of Tales, Anthropoid, Morgan, Alice In Wonderland 2 (voice), The Man Who Knew Infinity, Dad’s Army, Serena, Hunger Games – Mockingjay 2, By The Gun, Marvellous, Muppets Most Wanted, Captain American 2, My Week With Marilyn, Snow White & The Huntsman,  The Berberian Sound Studio, The Hunger Games, Red Lights, Tintin (voice),Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows- part 1 (voice), Captain America, Your Highness, The Rite, Sex Drugs and Rock N’ Roll, St Trinians 2, Nightwatching, Creation, W., Frost / Nixon, City Of Ember, St Trinians, The Mist, The Painted Veil, Infamous, Mrs Henderson Presents, Finding Neverland, Ladies In Lavender, Harry Potter & The Chambers Of Secrets, Simon Magus
  • Bill Nighy: The Limehouse Golem, Their Finest, Pride (2014), I Frankenstein, About Time, The World’s End (voice), Jack The Giant Slayer, Total Recall (2012), Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Wrath Of The Titans, Arthur Christmas (voice), Chalet Girl, Rango (voice), Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows- part 1, Wild Target (2010), Glorious 39, The Boat That Rocked, Underworld 3, Valkyrie, Pirates Of The Caribbean 3, Hot Fuzz, Notes On a Scandal, Flushed Away (voice), Alex Rider- Stormbreaker, Pirates Of The Caribbean 2, Underworld 2, The Constant Gardner, A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (2006), The Magic Roundabout (voice), Enduring Love, Shaun Of The Dead, Underworld, Love Actually, State Of Play (TV), I Capture The Castle, Auf Wierdesen Pet! (TV), The Lost Prince, Lucky Break, The Lawless Heart, Blow Dry, Guest House Paradiso, Still Crazy, Alive and Kicking (1996), Being Human, True Blue
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones: RED 2, Side Effects, Broken City, Rock of Ages, Lay The Favourite, Playing for Keeps, The Rebound, Death Defying Acts, No Reservations, Ocean’s 12. The Legend of Zorro, The Terminal, Intolerable Cruelty, Chicago, America’s Sweethearts, Traffic, High Fidelity, The Haunting (1999), Entrapment, The Mask of Zorro, The Phantom, Blue Juice, Darling Buds of May (TV), Splitting Heirs, Christopher Columbus – The Discovery
  • Tom Courtenay: Guernsey, The Legend of Barney Thomson, 45 Years, Night Train To Lisbon, Quartet, Gambit (2012), The Golden Compass, Flood, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Last Orders, Whatever Happened To Harold Smith?, A Rather English Marriage (TV), The Boy From Mercury, Let Him Have It, The Dresser, Catch Me a Spy, One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, A Dandy in Aspic, The Day the Fish Came Out, The Night of the Generals, Doctor Zhivago, King Rat, Operation Crossbow, King and Country, Billy Liar, Private Potter, The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner
  • Daniel Mays: The Limehouse Golem, Star Wars – Rogue One, The Infiltrator, Victor Frankenstein, Byzantium, Welcome To The Punch, Tintin (mo-cap), Made In Dagenham, Nanny McPhee 2, The Firm (2009), Shifty, The Bank Job, Atonement, Vera Drake, All Or Nothing
  • Blake Harrison: Prime Suspect 1973 (TV), Bob The Builder (voice)(TV), The Inbetweeners 2, Keeping Rosy, The Inbetweeners, The Inbetweeners (TV)
  • Alison Steadman: Burn Burn Burn, In The Blood, Gavin & Stacey (TV), Confetti, Fat Friends (TV), The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Adrian Mole (TV), Chunky Monkey, Topsy Turvy, Pride & Prejudice (TV), Blame It On The Bellboy, Life Is Sweet, Wilt, Shirley Valentine, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Stormy Monday, Clockwise, A Private Function, P’Tang, Yang, Kipperbang, Nuts In May
  • Sarah Lancashire: Happy Valley (TV), Last Tango In Halifax (TV), Lark Rise To Candelford (TV), When Did You Last See Your Father?, Rose and Maloney (TV), Clocking Off (TV), Where The Heart Is (TV), Coronation Street (TV)
  • Mark Gatiss: Taboo (TV), Sherlock (TV), Denial, Absolutely Fabulous – The Movie, Our Kind of Traitor, 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)
  • Felicity Montagu: Alan Partridge – Alpha Papa, I’m Alan Partridge (TV)
  • Emily Atack: Iron Sky 2, Ibiza Undead, The Bunker (2016)Almost Married, Get Lucky, Outside Bet, The Inbetweeners (TV)
  • Holli Dempsey: Aaaaaaaah!, The Aliens (TV), Derek (TV)
  • Annette Crosbie: Eat Local, Into The Woods, What We Did On Our Holiday, Little Dorrit (TV), Calendar Girls, One Foot In The Grave (TV), The Debt Collector, Shooting Fish, Doctor Finlay (TV), Solitaire For 2, Leon The Pig Farmer, The Pope Must Die, Hawk The Slayer
  • Julia Foster: All Coppers Are…, Half a Sixpence, Alfie (1966), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
  • Mark Tandy: The Limehouse Golem, Maurice, Defence of the Realm
  • Andrew Havill: The Children Act, My Cousin Rachel, The Carer, Hyde Park On The Hudson
  • Martin Savage: Mr Turner, Another Year, Topsy Turvy
  • Ian Lavender: Eastenders (TV), The Hooligan Factory, Dad’s Army (1971), Dad’s Army (TV)
  • Bill Paterson: The Healer, High-Rise, Outlander (TV), Law & Order UK (TV), Creation, Dr Who (TV), How To Lose Friends and Alienate People, Miss Potter, Amazing Grace, Rag Tale, Kingdom of Heaven, Bright Young Things, Crush (2001), The Match (1999), Hilary & Jackie, Spice World, Victory, Richard III (1995), God On The Rocks, Truly Madly Deeply, The Witches, The Rachel Papers, Hidden City, Auf Wierdesen Pet (TV), Defence of the Realm, A Private Function, The Killing Fields, Smiley’s People (TV)
  • Oliver Tobias: Highway To Hell (2013), The Brylcreem Boys, Cobra Mission, Dick Turpin (TV), The Stud, Arthur Of The Britons (TV)
  • Michael Gambon: Mad To Be Normal, Victoria & Abdul, Viceroy’s House, Paddington (voice), Fortitude (TV), Quartet, The King’s Speech, Harry Potter – parts 2-8, The Book Of Eli, Fantastic Mr Fox (voice), Brideshead Revisited (2008), The Good Night, The Good Shepherd, The Omen (2006), The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,  Layer Cake, Sky Captain and The World Of Tomorrow, Sylvia, Open Range, The Actors, Ali G In Da House, Charlotte Gray, Gosford Park, High Heels and Low Lifes, Sleepy Hollow, The insider, Plunkett & Macleane, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Gambler, Wings Of The Dove, Mary Reilly, The Innocent Sleep, Two Deaths, Nothing Personal, A Man Of No Importance, The Browning Version (1994), Toys, Mobsters, The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover, A Dry White Season, The Rachel Papers, Paris By Night, The Singing Detective (TV)

SING STREET

7 out of 10

This is an Irish film

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 20th June 2016

Director: John Carney (Begin Again / Once)

Cast: Ferdia Peelo-Walsh, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Mark McKenna, Ian Kenny, Ben Carolan, Don Wycherley, Percy Chamburuka, Conor Hamilton, Karl Rice, Kelly Thornton with Aiden Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy

Writer: John Carney

Trailer: SING STREET

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Ferdia Peelo-Walsh: Vikings (TV)
  • Lucy Boynton: Don’t Knock Twice, Miss Potter
  • Jack Reynor: Detroit, Free Fire, Glassland, A Royal Night Out, Transformers 4, Delivery Man, What Richard Did
  • Aiden Gillen: Pickups, King Arthur – Legend of the Sword, You’re Ugly Too, Maze Runner 2, Game Of Thrones (TV),  Still, Calvary, Mister JohnShadow DancerTreacle Jr, The Dark Knight Rises, BlitzWake Wood, Twelve Rounds, The Wire (TV), Shanghai Knights, The Low Down, Queer As Folk (TV), My Kingdom, Some Mother’s Son, Mojo, Circle Of Friends
  • Maria Doyle-Kennedy: The Conjuring 2, Jupiter Ascending, Byzantium, Titanic (TV), Albert Nobbs, The Tudors (TV), Miss Julie (2000), Gregory’s Two Girls, The General (1998), A Further Gesture, Moll Flanders (1996), Nothing Personal, The Commitments

MOLLY MOON & THE INCREDIBLE BOOK OF HYPNOTISM

3.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 2nd December 2016

Director: Christopher N Rowley

Cast: Raffey Cassidy, Dominic Monaghan, Lesley Manville, Jadon Carnelly-Morris, Ben Miller, Sadie Frost, Annie-Marie Duff, Celia Imrie, Tallulah Evans, Tom Wisdom, Fern Deacon and Emily Watson with Omid Djalili, Gary Kemp and Joan Collins

Writer: Christopher N Rowley, Tom Butterworth, Georgia Bing, and Chris Hurford

Trailer: MOLLY MOON

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

THE PASS

7 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 9th December 2016

Director: Ben A Williams

Cast: Russell Tovey, Arinze Kene, Lisa McGrillis and Nico Mirallegro

Writer: Ben A Williams

Trailer: THE PASS

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?