JAWBONE

9 out of 10

Release date: 12th May 2017

Director: Thomas Napper

Cast: Johnny Harris, Ray Winstone, Michael Smiley, Luke J I Smith, Jackie Clune, Simon Manyonda and Ian McShane

Writer: Johnny Harris

Trailer: JAWBONE

Jawbone-movie-poster

Remember the Coen Bros film, Barton Fink, when the titular screenwriter is tasked by Hollywood to write a B-movie about a wrestler? “You know, nothing to fruity. It’s a wrestling flick, what do you want, a road map?” Well, Jawbone is about a boxer and pretty much everything you’d expect to see in a boxing flick is present and correct. However, this one has the beating heart of a lion, and boxing scenes quite unlike you’ve seen in anything since Raging Bull. Johnny Harris (FORTITUDE), a good actor who knows his range, plays to his strengths in this self-scripted effort about an alcoholic, Jimmy McCabe, who reconnects with his boxing past when he is made homeless and sees the rocky bottom staring back up at him. He goes back to the gym to find his former trainers Bill (RAY WINSTONE – NIL BY MOUTH) and Eddie (MICHAEL SMILEY – SPACED), where he became an ABA champ at 16. The welcome is frosty but they give him a chance. Elsewhere, he gets himself a make or break fight via promoter and shady old friend, Joe (IAN MCSHANE – THE GOLDEN COMPASS) that could kill him.

On the negative side, it does take a while for this film to shake off the cliches and grab your attention. But in retrospect these scenes do well to build the character of Jimmy, and to show what’s really at stake. We’re aware his demon is the bottle and possibly self-made – there’s no spectres from the past whispering in his ear or goading him ala My Name Is Lenny. The struggle is realistically wrought and played note perfect by Johnny Harris. Elsewhere in the cast, old pros like Ray Winstone and Ian McShane do their thing. Ian McShane is always good and wheels out his ‘flash harry’ schtick. This time the context is right and the one scene that his promoter Joe turns up for is nicely done. He’s essentially the same guy he played in John Wick, or nicer version of his heavy in Sexy Beast. Winstone successfully steals the show, some may say unfairly, with an understated and touching performance.  He’s quite wonderful in one of his best roles in years and years, and it’s his character that raises Jawbone out of the ‘just another boxing movie’ crate.

Michael Smiley brings ample support and is amazing as the salty Belfast trainer, who has a few surprises up his sleeve. Thankfully there’s no obligatory, woman or child character to slow the story down. There’s no ex-wife or kids to make amends with, just old friends to haunt. The boxing scenes are technically terrific and even after seeing 100 sports movies, the climatic fight is gripping. The villainy of the opponent (LUKE J I SMITH – THE BROMLEY BOYS) is well evoked in a wordless role.  The camera work and sound design is superb. Even the montage scenes work well, and although necessary, they don’t fall into the pop video end like a lot seem to do. Remember the ‘Pushing Back’ song from Green Street 3? This is done by bring up the sounds of the gym, dialogue or street sounds to the fore front, rather than making a corny Survivor wannabe song front and centre. Jawbone’s closest comparison is Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler. It’s not quite as good as the latter that’s because its more focussed yet slighter, narrative-wise. But it’s still the best sports movie we can hope for from the UK, when so many try and fail horribly – remember the muddled The Man Inside?

Look out for a Paul Weller song at the end called ‘The Ballad of Jimmy McCabe’. I’m glad the makers didn’t use this over a training montage, as it’s as corny as hell and threatens to undo some of the sterling work that’s gone before. A slight wrinkle, then, yet nothing to worry about. Utterly recommended.

9 out of 10 – If you think sports movies are all the same, you’re right. But if you like them then Jawbone is a superb example that puts 90% of others to shame. Pretty much film perfection

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

JUST JIM

4 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 25th September 2015

Director: Craig Roberts

Cast: Emile Hirsch, Craig Roberts, Nia Roberts, Aneirin Hughes, Richard Harrington, Charlotte Randall, Ryan Owen, Matthew Aubrey, Sai Bennett with William Thomas and Mark Lewis Jones

Writer: Craig Roberts

Trailer: JUST JIM

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

JIMMY’S HALL

REVIEW COMING SOON

UK/Ireland co-production

Release Date: 30th May 2014

Director: Ken Loach: (The Angel’s Share / Route Irish / Looking for Eric / Riff Raff / Raining Stones / My Name Is Joe / Carla’s Song / Land and Freedom / The Wind That Shakes The Barley / Kes / Ae Fond Kiss / Ladybird Ladybird)

Cast: Barry Ward, Jim Norton, Simone Kirby, Francis Magee, Aileen Henry, Aisling Franciosi with Brian F. O’Byrne and Andrew Scott

Writer: Paul Laverty

Trailer: JIMMY’S HALL

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Barry Ward: Shooting For Socrates, Blood Cells, Bypass, The Claim (2000)
  • Jim Norton: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Water For Elephants, The Boy In Striped Pyjamas, Driving Lessons, The Oyster Farmer, Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets, Mad About Mambo, American History X, Into The West, Hidden Agenda, Adolf Hitler – My Part In His Downfall, Straw Dogs
  • Simone Kirby: Alice In Wonderland 2, Peaky Blinders (TV)
  • Francis Magee: Blood Cells, Good People, Cemetery Junction, London River, The Crew, Layer Cake, The Sex Lives Of The Potato Men
  • Aisling Franciosi: The Fall (TV)
  • Brian F. O’Byrne: Queen & Country, Prime Suspect (TV), Mildred Pierce (TV), Season of the Witch, The International, Brooklyn’s Finest, Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, No Reservations, Bug, The New World, Million Dollar Baby, Intermission, Disco Pigs, An Everlasting Piece
  • Andrew Scott: Alice In Wonderland 2, Swallows and Amazons, Victor Frankenstein (2015), James Bond – Spectre, Sherlock (TV),  Pride (2014), Locke (voice), The Stag, Dates (TV)

JAMES BOND – SPECTRE

6.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 26th October 2015

Director: Sam Mendes (James Bond – Skyfall / Away We Go /  Reservation Road / Jarhead / The Road To Perdition / American Beauty)

Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Jesper Christensen, Rory Kinnear, Alessandro Crimorna, Judi Dench with Monica Bellucci and Ralph Fiennes

Writer: John Logan, Neal Purvis & Jez Butterworth

Trailer: JAMES BOND – SPECTRE

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Daniel Craig: Star Wars – The Force Awakens, James Bond – Skyfall, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (US),  Tintin (voice), Dream House, Cowboys & Aliens, Defiance, James Bond – Quantum Of Solace,  Flashbacks Of a Fool, The Golden Compass, The Invasion, James Bond – Casino Royale, Infamous, The Jacket, Munich, Layer Cake, Enduring Love, Sylvia, The Mother, The Road To Perdition, Tomb Raider, Hotel Splendide, Some Voices, The Trench, Elizabeth I, Love Is The Devil
  • Christoph Waltz: Tarzan (2016), Big Eyes, Horrible Bosses 2, Muppets Most Wanted, The Zero Theorem, Epic (voice),  Django Unchained, Carnage, The Three Musketeers (2011), Water For Elephants, The Green Hornet, Inglourious Basterds, Ordinary Decent Criminal
  • Lea Seydoux: Gambit (2016), The Lobster, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Blue Is The Warmest Colour, Grand Central, Mission Impossible 4, Midnight In Paris, Robin Hood (2010), Inglourious Basterds
  • Naomie Harris: Jungle Book – Origins (voice), Our Kind of Traitor, Southpaw, Mandela- A Long Walk To Freedom,  James Bond – Skyfall, The First Grader, Morris – A Life With Bells, Sex & Drugs & Rock-n-Roll, Pirates of The Caribbean 3, A Cock & Bull Story, Street Kings, Miami Vice Movie, Pirates of The Caribbean 2, After The Sunset, Trauma, 28 Days Later
  • Ben Whishaw: In The Heart of the Sea, The Danish Girl, The Lobster, Suffragette, Paddington (voice), Lilting, London Spy (TV), The Zero Theorem, James Bond – Skyfall, The Cloud Atlas, The Tempest (2010), Brideshead Revisited (2008), Bright Star, I’m Not There, Perfume, Stoned
  • Dave Bautista: Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Kickboxer 4, Highlander (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy, WWF Raw (TV), Riddick, Man With The Iron Fists, The Scorpion King 3, House of the Rising Sun, My Son My Son What have Ye Done?
  • Andrew Scott: Alice In Wonderland 2, Swallows and Amazons, Victor Frankenstein (2015), Sherlock (TV),  Pride (2014), Locke (voice), The StagJimmy’s Hall, Dates (TV)
  • Jesper Christensen: Nyphomaniac, Melancholia, The Debt, The Young Victoria, James Bond – Quantum of Solace, Flame & Citron, James Bond – Casino Royale, The Interpreter, Italian For Beginners
  • Rory Kinnear: Trespass Against Us, Man Up, Penny Dreadful (TV), The Casual Vacancy (TV), The Imitation Game, Cuban FuryBroken (2013),  James Bond – Skyfall,  Wild Target (2010), James Bond – Quantum Of Solace
  • Judi Dench: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Tulip Fever, Second Best Marigold Hotel, PhilomenaRun For Your WifeJames Bond – Skyfall, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, J. Edgar, My Week With Marilyn, Jane Eyre (2011), Pirates Of The Caribbean 4, Nine, Notes On A Scandal, James Bond – Golden Eye, James Bond – Tomorrow Never Dies, James Bond – The World Is Not Enough, James Bond – Die Another Day, James Bond – Casino Royale, James Bond – Quantum Of Solace, Mrs Henderson Presents, Pride & Prejudice (2005), Ladies In Lavender, The Chronicles Of Riddick, The Importance Of Being Earnest, The Shipping News, Iris, Chocolat, Tea With Mussolini, Shakespeare In Love, Hamlet (1995), Mrs Brown, Jack & Sarah, Henry V (1989), A Handful Of Dust, 84 Charing Cross Road, A Room With a View
    Monica Bellucci: The Wonders, Shoot ‘Em Up, The Brothers Grimm, She Hate Me, The Passion of the Christ, The Matrix Revolutions, The Matrix Reloaded, Tears of the Sun, Irreversible, Asterix & Obelisk Meet Cleopatra, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Malena, Under Suspicion (2000), L’Appartement
  • Ralph Fiennes: Flying Horse, A Bigger Splash, Hail Caesar, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Invisible Woman, Great Expectations (2012),  James Bond – Skyfall, Wrath Of The Titans, Coriolanus, Harry Potter- parts 3-8, Cemetery Junction, Clash Of The Titans (2010), Nanny McPhee 2, The Reader, The Hurt Locker, The Duchess, In Bruges, The Constant Gardener, Chromophobia, Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of The Were Rabbit (voice), Maid In Manhattan, Red Dragon, Spider, The End Of The Affair, Onegin, The Avengers (1998), Oscar & Lucinda, The English Patient, Strange Days, Quiz Show, Schindler’s List, The Baby Of Macon, Wuthering Heights (1992)

JUDAS GHOST

7 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 20th April 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Simon Pearce

Cast: Martin Delaney, Lucy Cudden, Simon Merrells, Alexander Perkins and Grahame Fox

Writer: Simon R. Green

Trailer: JUDAS GHOST

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Martin Delaney: Bonded By Blood 2, Now You See Me 2,  Amar Akbar & Tony, Stormhouse, Shortland Street (TV), Family Affairs (TV)
  • Simon Merrells: Victrix, Take Down, Spartacus (TV), Family Affairs (TV), Mersey Beat (TV), London’s Burning (TV)
  • Alexander Perkins: Law & Order UK (TV), The Office (TV)
  • Grahame Fox: Casualty (TV), Stormhouse, Lava, Bodywork, Darklands

JOY DIVISION

7.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 17th November 2006

Director: Reg Traviss (Anti-Social / Screwed (2011) / Psychosis)

Cast: Ed Stoppard, Tom Schilling, Bernadette Heerwagen, Bernard Hill, Lea Mornar, Sybille Gebhardt, Sean Chapman, Bernard Kay, Suzanne von Borsody, Katrena Rochell, Ram John Holder with Ricci Harnett and Michelle Gayle

Writer: Reg Traviss

Trailer: JOY DIVISION

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Ed Stoppard: Youth (2016), Cryptic, Ruby The Young Witch, Blackwood, Cilla (TV), Papadopoulos and Sons, Upstairs Downstairs (TV), Nanny McPhee 2, Bridehead Revisited (2008), The Pianist, The Little Vampire
  • Tom Schilling: Woman In Gold, Suite Francaise, The Baader Meinhoff Complex, Atomised
  • Bernard Hill: North V South, Wolf Hall (TV), Outpost 11, The Kid (2010), Valkyrie, Franklyn, The League Of Gentleman’s Apocalypse, Wimbledon, Lord Of The Rings – Return Of The King, Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers, The Scorpion King, Going Off Big Time, The Loss Of Sexual Innocence, True Crime, Titanic (1998), The Ghost and The Darkness, Madagascar Skin, Double X, Mountains Of The Moon, Shirley Valentine, Drowning By Numbers,  No Surrender, The Chain, The Bounty, Gandhi, Boys From The Black Stuff (TV)
  • Sean Chapman: Psychosis, Peak Practice (TV), The Sea Change, Hellraiser 2, For Queen and Country, Hellraiser, The Fourth Protocol, Underworld (1986), The New Stateman (TV), Made In Britain, Scum, Boarding School
  • Bernard Kay: Psychosis, Pierrepoint, The Puritan, Sinbad and The Eye of The Tiger, Sweeney (1977), Z Cars (TV), Dr Who (TV), Witchfinder General, Dr Zhivago
  • Suzanne von Barsody: Run Lola Run
  • Katrena Rochell: Psychosis
  • Ram John Holder: White Van Man (TV), Song For Marion, Down To Earth (TV), Lucky Break, Virtual Sexuality, Porkpie (TV), Desmonds (TV), Half Moon Street, My Beautiful Laundrette, Pressure (1978)
  • Ricci Harnett: Rise of the Footsoldier 2, Top Dog, VendettaThe Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan, Ill Manors, Turnout, Psychosis,Rise Of The Footsoldier, 28 Days Later
  • Michelle Gayle: Eastenders (TV), Grange Hill (TV)

JADOO

5 out of 10 

Release Date: 6th September 2013

Director: Amit Gupta (Resistance)

Cast: Amara Karan, Harish Patel, Kulvinder Ghir, Tom Mison, Nikesh Patel, Harvey Virdi, Paul Bazely, Sophiya Hayque, Paul Bhattacharjee and Adeel Akhtar with Madhur Jaffrey and Ray Panthaki

Writer: Amit Gupta

Trailer:JADOO

Jadoo-UK-Quad-Poster

To be proofread: Jadoo is a nice little movie elevated by some nice performances by it’s lead ensemble. The only trouble with Jadoo is that it fails to take any risks and could have been way funnier considering the comic talent involved.

Two feuding brothers (HARISH PATEL – RUN FAT BOY RUN) and (KULVINDER GHIR – GOODNESS GRACIOUS ME) tear up the family recipe book and open their own restaurants. Years later Patel’s daughter Shalini (AMARA KHAN – ALL IN GOOD TIME) tries to end the fight by asking them to join forces and cater for her wedding.  And that’s essentially all there is. A rival Curry vendor played by Ray Panthaki (INTERVIEW WITH A HITMAN) is the true villain of the piece who stirs up the conflict in order to destroy both businesses.  Set in Leicester, it shows the English-Indian experience through a honeyed lense. Never has Leicester looked so interesting!

The days of exploiting culture clashes in movies are gone and Jadoo dodges a bullet by having Shalini’s family accept her fiancee, white and dull surgeon Mark (TOM MISON) for who he  is, not where he’s from and what he looks like. But it also makes for a duller film.  A lot more could have been made of the brother’s rivalry and some fun to be had with their insults but again the film chooses to opt for melodrama to bring the family together in the closing scenes.  Gladly, the acting brings the film home and its still a very easy film to like and that’s mainly down to he hugely warm and charismatic Harish Patel, who just about steals every film I’ve seen him in (he couldn’t rescue Keith Lemon – no one could).  The food on display will also make curry lovers go spare. I had a curry right after watching it so under no circumstances sit down to watch this hungry.

5 out of 10 – Light and very mildly funny. Quietly predictable but still easy to like if your looking for something inoffensive and enjoyable.  I’d recommend All In Good Time over this  – which shares similar plot lines and a number of the cast instead though for way bigger laughs (and cliches).

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?