4 out of 10


Release date: 20th March 2017 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Andy Edwards

Cast: Cara Theobold, Emily Atack, Jordan Coulson, Ed Kear, Homer Todiwala, Algina Lipkis, Michael Wagg, Matt Kennard, Chris Simmons, Alex Felton, Seb Castang, Alex Zane with Marcia Do Vales and Matt King

Writer: Andy Edwards




8.5 out of 10

Release date: 21st October 2016

Director: Ken Loach (Jimmy’s Hall / The Angel’s Share / Route Irish / Looking for Eric / The Wind That Shakes The Barley / Tickets / Ae Fond Kiss / Sweet Sixteen / Bread and Roses / My Name Is Joe / Carla’s Song / Land and Freedom / Ladybird Ladybird / Raining Stones / Riff Raff / Hidden Agenda / Kes / Poor Cow)

Cast: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Brianna Shann, Dylan McKiernan, Kate Rutter, Kima Sikazwe, Stephen Clegg, Sharon Percy, Micky McGregor and Malcolm Shields

Writer: Paul Laverty



At last, here is the Ken Loach film that everybody in the UK must see. We’ve long read about Ken Loach being the political watchdog of British cinema, but whilst he does put out interesting movies its been a long time since he’s put his finger on the pulse and made a film that is for vital viewing. Perhaps this is the first film since Ladybird Ladybird and Raining Stones that tackles the problem of everyday people fighting to stay above the poverty line and speaks to us rather than gives us a history lesson to learn from.

This time Loach and his long time collaborator Paul Laverty take a good look at our ridiculous benefits system that makes signing on a labyrinth for those who grew up without use of the internet.  Daniel Blake (DAVE JOHNS) is one such citizen who is recovering from a heart attack. A talented carpenter, he’s assessed by a bureaucrat inspite of presenting medical evidence and told that he must actively seek work. He must sign on the internet because Job Centre Plus is ‘online by default’. Faced with a a largely unsympathetic wall of apathy he edges closer and closer to the poverty line. He befriends a single mother, Katie (HAYLEY SQUIRES – BLOOD CELLS) and her two young children (BRIANNA SHANN and DYLAN MCKIERNAN) who are similar victims of the labyrinth and nonsensical benefits system.  Having been relocated to Newcastle (where the film is set) from London in order to have reasonable housing for her kids, she also struggles valiantly to make impossible ends meet.  The processes are so long and difficult to follow the weeks pass and the money runs out.

The film highlights how the state is largely failing the older generation and a whole swathe of the population with exclusive systems and no access to appropriate help where and when needed. Dave Johns and Hayley Squires put in note-perfect, gripping performances giving heart and soul to their fight to (basically) live, they are supported by a large and excellent cast of unknowns too. Their story shows that if you can’t play the game there are few good options available as an alternative. Even those with work struggle to live – the zero hours contracts are briefly covered when Daniel’s neighbour, Kima Sikazwe complains about only being needed for 45 minutes at his job in a depot and earning a sum less than £4.00.

The plot certainly goes for the big moments but like Boyz N The Hood, another film calling for social change on a national scale, there’s no room for subtleties. The story takes the characters on a journey through job centres, pointless career workshops, hospitals, food banks, police stations and more. It really needs to be seen, but then what can we do? Art as protest is crucial but how can it impact a change when there are so many that live this struggle. They don’t want to watch films like this, they live it. A film like I, Daniel Blake is a fictionalised window through which the chattering classes can peer and shake their heads in disgust. But its existence is still needed as it raises a much needed awareness. You can help in a small way, if you don’t already, pitch in a few bits to the food bank during your weekly shop. That’s what I’ll be continuing to do and making sure I never go within a million miles of a dole office. Because that’s the scary part, we don’t know when we’ll be dependent on the state. Scarier than any horror. See it ASAP.

8.5 out of 10 – As cinematic as most of Ken Loach’s other films (not very) BUT this one’s vital viewing. Relevant to everybody, old and young. Find a way to see this today.



5 out of 10

UK/Ireland/Netherlands co-production


Release Date: 12th September 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Simon Pummel

Cast: Lachlan Nieboer, Nora-Jane Noone, Nick Blood, Michelle Assante, Jacinta Mulcahy, Andrew Buckley, Anthony Cozens and Tony Way

Writer: Simon Pummel




1.5 out of 10

Release Date: 3rd October 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: James Twyman aka Steve M Smith (Haunted 5 / Haunted 4 / Haunted 3 / Haunted 2 / Borstal / I Am Hooligan / Essex Boys – Law of Survival / Hooligans At War / Haunted (2013))

Cast: Darren James King, David Shaw, Jonathan Jules, Nigel Thijs, Charlotte Gould, Phoebe Delikoura, Colette Hughes, Sammy Johnston, Cameron Bell, Tony Fadil and Jon-Paul Gates

Writer: James Twyman and Steve M Smith



AKAAlan Bennett and the day my alien mother-in-law came to tea’. This cheap quickie from hack Steve M Smith (directing under the alias James Twyman) is a ridiculous attempt to turn a good intentioned but over-simplistic Ken Loach-style drama about troubled teens into an Independence Day also-ran.  Set on the same farm as the gun runner from Essex Boys – Laws of Survival, several teens are rounded up to be cured by celebrity chav-whisperer, Alan Bennett (DAVID SHAW). The kids are made up of a trouble pop star, a friendly black guy, a footballer, a transgender wannabe, a nympho and a Nazi (a few others). Most of the teens are just about capable of learning their lines but they ae largely awful. Only Darren James King (BORSTAL) shows any signs of talent, shame he’s stuck with the Nazi role and stuck in a Steve M Smith movie. Alan Bennett is under pressure to give an interview to an asshole presenter played with over the top lunacy by 10p budget film fave Jon-Paul Gates (HAUNTED 2). His role relieves the tedium spent with the teens but not in a good way. When the aliens finally show up again, after an abysmal prelude where some scientists get zapped with pink lightning.

The aliens themselves are crap. They are basically extras in cat suits and motorcycle helmets who carry pink death torches… Actually the whole alien invasion thread seems bookended onto the corny middle bit about teenagers getting to know themselves. If the aliens had arrived earlier, or one of the dims had spotted the pink death rays then it may have got more generic earlier. However, it doesn’t and we’re left to ponder why such lo-rent aliens would bother possessing such a dull bunch. The dialogue is cod-Grange Hill, with all the emo-twats joining into some lame love-in, whilst Alan Bennett begins to say ‘Fuck’ a lot before trying to rescue everyone.

The director needs to be commended for coming up with a new idea besides Essex gangsters or football hooligans. Shame its all turned out to be a  Poundland version of Independence Day 2 full of wet acting wannabes and  whatever Jon-Paul Gates is.

1.5 out of 10 – Better titles would have been Invasion Essex  or Close encounters of the turd kind.

Another official Britpic review by Matt ‘The Flusher’ Usher down below.



5.5 out of 10


Release Date: 3rd October 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Joel Novoa

Cast: Simon Rivers, Linus Roache, Paul Popplewell, Christine Tremarco, Andy Rush, Duncan Airlie James, Naveed Choudhry, Shahid Ahmed, Benjamin Harris, Sylwia Kaczmarek and Neil Pearson with Perry Fenwick, Richard Graham and Lee Ross

Writer: Vincent O’Connell



  • Simon Rivers: Doctors (TV)
  • Linus Roache: Vikings (TV), Non-Stop, Titanic (TV), Coronation Street (TV), Law & Order (TV), Before The Rains, Find Me Guilty, Batman Begins, The Forgotten (2004), The Chronicles of Riddick, Beyond Borders, Blind Flight, Hart’s War, Best, Siam Sunset, The Wings of a Dove, Priest (1994)
  • Paul Popplewell: The Goob, ’71, Spike IslandTyrannosaur, The Waiting Room, Morvern Callar, 24 Hour Party People
  • Christine Tremarco: Hector, Casualty (TV), Outcast (2010), Waterloo Road (TV), Anita & Me, Clocking Off (TV), Face, Under The Skin (1997), Priest (1994)
  • Andy Rush: Here and Now
  • Naveed Choudhry: Waterloo Road (TV)
  • Shahid Ahmed: Catch Me Daddy, Salvage, 28 Weeks Later, Mischief Night, Yasmin, Syriana
  • Neil Pearson: Bridget Jones 3, Waterloo Road (TV), Drop The Dead Donkey (TV), The Booze Cruise 3, The Booze Cruise 2, Bridget Jones 2, Fever Pitch, Between the Lines (TV), The Secret Rapture,  That’s Love (TV)
  • Perry Fenwick: Eastenders (TV), GMT, Janice Beard WPM, The Winslow Boy, The Tichborne Claimant, Ellington (TV), ID, Watching (TV)The Raggedy Rawney
  • Richard Graham: Dom Hemingway, Hollyoaks (TV), Vera Drake, ID, Under Suspicion (1991), My Beautiful Laundrette, The Bounty
  • Lee Ross: Dusty & Me, Infected, Dawn of the Planet of The Apes, Locke (voice), Centurion, Eastenders (TV), Goal, Metroland, Rogue Trader, I.D., Secrets and Lies,  Hard Men, Press Gang (TV)



1.5 out of 10

Release Date: 5th September 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Steven M Smith (Haunted 5 / Haunted 4 / Haunted 3 / Haunted 2 / Borstal / Invasion Earth / Essex Boys – Law of Survival / Hooligans At War / Haunted (2013))

Cast: Darren James King, Chris Bell, Ryan Regis, Mark Wingett, Sharon Lawrence, Katie Alexander-Thom, Steve North, David Beck, Marcel Dorian, Mat Holt, Mark Sears, Sarah Rose Denton, Tony Fadil, Ian Hawke, Jemima Slade, Steven M Smith with Ben-Loyd Holmes and Jon-Paul Gates



I Am Hooligan has one thing going for it. It’s not an Essex Boys movie. Actually make that two things, it actually contains scenes of hooliganism (unlike most films with the ‘H’ word in the title).  Otherwise, I’m sad to report this is another thrown together bag of film offal. It’s a mixed bag of terrible scripting, uneven acting, basic plotting, bad grading, bad editing, a random clown, and inappropriate musical interludes. For once, the best aspect is the narration. Usually, narration doesn’t work, because it isn’t needed. In I Am Hooligan, at least there’s been some attempt to let the audiences see inside the hero’s confused head.

Justin’s (DARREN JAMES KING – INVASION EARTH) only friend Eddie (CHRIS BELL – HAUNTED 2) is a bit of a bore who’s always nagging at him to do better in life. When Kevin (RYAN REGIS) and his bunch of mates take him to the pub it turns out he’s got the right stuff when it comes to a tear up. When the gang decide to test Justin’s true mettle one night they trick him into attacking Eddie in an alley. This is when the wheels come off Justin’s descent in the a life of thugdom. But is it already too late? Is he doomed to lead a violent life? On top of all of this, his Dad (MARK WINGETT – THE BILL) is duffing up his Mum (SHARON LAWRENCE) every day and he’s got to stop it.

As basic as that sounds there’s still some confusing elements as opera music stalks our characters as they walk around the Thamesmead Estate, there are loose connections to A Clockwork Orange with scenes recreated and references come thick and fast. Look out for the glasses of milk, and the extended tableau in the milk bar, and then there’s the wonderfully bonkers cameo by Jon-Paul Gates (HAUNTED 2) as an assassin who’s walked straight out of an Twin Peaks audition – that’s my favourite bit. The main actors are OK but hamstrung by sub-Simon and The Witch level dialogue. The word ‘c*nt’ is shouted out and over emphasisesd at every opportunity and it gave me a head ache (poor me!). Poor Chris Bell is saddled with a duffer of a role, thrown in as Justin’s conscience and guardian angel he’s just an over moralising bore, with repetitive dialogue and he’s probably to blame for Justin’s transformation if you think about it. Elsewhere, Ryan Regis as Kevin is a terrible actor, and with such a dominant role he almost single handedly ruins the film, but even without him it would be a toxic turd.

Scenes are badly lit and mastered, and it’s another botch it and scarper job by Steve M Smith & Chris Bell. There’s no signs of improvement from their last flick Essex Boys – Law of Survival and it’s a bad thing if Steve M Smith’s earlier Haunted (2013) currently leads the way pointwise here at Britpic.wordpress, as that was pretty shonky.

1.5 out of 10 – Very slim pickings from Steve M Smith and Chris Bell. It’s very dopey, badly made, laughably sincere, tonally unsure and unintentionally funny.

Read below for another review



6 out of 10


Release Date: 25th March 2016

Director: Scott Graham (Shell)

Cast: Ruth Negga, Douglas Henshall, Ben Gallagher, Sorcha Groundsell, Michelle Duncan and Tom Brooke

Writer: Scott Graham

Trailer: IONA


  • Ruth Negga: Warcraft, Preacher (TV), Agents of SHIELD (TV), Noble, Jimi, Misfits (TV), Isolation, Breakfast On Pluto
  • Douglas Henshall: Party Pieces, Salvation, Outlander (TV), Shetland (TV), The Eagle, Dorian Gray, Lawless Heart, Primeval (TV), This Year’s Love, Orphans, Fast Food, If Only, Angels & Insects
  • Michelle Duncan: The Broken
  • Tom Brooke: Preacher (TV), Game of Thrones (TV), The Veteran, The Boat That Rocked