NO FIXED ABODE (NFA)

5.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 29th November 2013 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Steven Rainbow (iWitness)

Cast: Patrick Baladi, Saskia Butler, Vicky Roberts, Laurence Saunders, Simon Lowe, Gabriel Paul, Sean Connolly, Ava Baladi and David Sterne

Writer: Steven Rainbow

Trailer: NO FIXED ABODE (NFA)

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

Posted in N, U.

NEVER LET GO

4.5 out of 10

Release Date: 7th October 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: The Ford Brothers (Offensive / The Dead 2 – India The Dead – Africa)

Cast: Angela Dixon, Nigel Whitmey, Velibor Topic, Heather Peace, Rami Nasr, Sarah Perles, Samantha Bolter, Michael Xavier, Sanita Sims with Glenn Salvage and Lisa Eichorn

Writer: The Ford Brothers

Trailer: NEVER LET GO

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After delivering two very competent international zombie movies (The Dead 1 & 2) on a shoe-string budget, the Ford Brothers venture to North Africa to do a female remake of Taken (or anyother number of straight-to-video clunkers of the 2000s).

Never Let Go stars Angela Dixon (OFFENSIVE) (unknown to me) as an American special-forces operative to takes her baby on holiday to Morocco. The father of the child is a married US Senator and is a very busy man (possibly evil). Anyway, the baby is kidnapped by some East Europeans; Velibor Topic (THE SMOKE) and Joe Pesci II’s fave, Glenn Salvage (THE SILENCER) – yes, The Silencer himself! Ms Dixon will stop at nothing to recover her kid. Police, holidaymakers, men with stubble beware – she’ll bellow, “My DAUGHTER, WHERE IS SHE!” in their face. She pistol whips pigeons, dogs, people, children, everybody who stands in her way. The film is relentless, predictable and fast paced. Where Never Let Go succeeds is its committment to being a good ‘meat and two veg’ bog standard action film. Compare this to Neil Jones‘ dog shit Age of Kill and immediately the contrasts are obvious. The Ford Brothers don’t execute their action scenes with a heavy heart or with ill-preperation. At times this feels like a top-notch actioner we may have seen Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock starring in 15 years ago. Times have changed though and it’s all old hat, as good as the finished product may be. It’s too late in the day for a film like this to offer anything new. The Fords came up with some ingenius twists to the well-trodden, sad zombie genre, so I was hoping for something fresh here. Sadly, it’s a half-baked script and a repetitve story on offer. Shame really because I was looking forward to a third outing in The Dead series. Instead, we got this. Something no one was looking for, except for Joe Pesci II who got to see Glenn Salvage do his thing for the first time in years.

4.5 out of 10 – Not bad, but it’s nothing new. Tried and tested ground but it does have some great action sequences.

Review by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher (Never Stop Tugging) below

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

NOBLE

4 out of 10

Release Date: 4th February 2016

Director: Stephen Bradley (Boy Eats Girl)

Cast: Deirdre O’Kane, Sarah Greene, Liam Cunningham, Brendan Coyle, Ruth Negga, Nhu Quyn Nguyen Linh, Mark Huberman, Kinh Quoc, Le Ngoc Tu’o’ng, Dat Khou Nguyen Tien, Gloria Cramer Curtis, David Mumeni and Pauline McLynn

Writer: Stephen Bradley

Trailer: NOBLE

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Now I want to make it clear, I love Ireland, I love Irish people, but I don’t like Irish films like Noble that are so Irish you feel like your going to die of Guinness poisoning with the cliched catawalling of Danny Boy is wringing in your ears as the road rise to meet you and the wind is at your craic. My god this film is soooooo Irish yet most of it is set in Vietnam, I know. How ‘Irish’ is that? It’s like the old Irish jokes we used to tell in the playground in the 1980s. Did you hear about the most Irishy movie ever made? They made it in Vietnam. Gurgle, gurgle….

Anyway Noble is based on the true-story of one Christina Noble, an average sort of girl from a torn family who got it into her head after seeing footage on the TV about the Vietnam War that she wanted to go on a mission from god to devote her life to caring for street children. And unended spectacularly unaverage… unlike the film. Average, average. AVERAGE!!! It would scream mediocre if averages ‘things’ actually screamed.

The film is split into present day and the past. We have a child Christina (GLORIA CRAMER CURTIS) who is all dark curls and Irish cute who bursts into song at the drop of a blarney stone, mainly Danny Boy. Her Da’ (LIAM CUNNINGHAM – LET US PREY) isn’t a bad sort, just an unreliable alcoholic who does a bunk leaving Noble to grow up with nuns lead by a tough Pauline McLynn (FATHER TED) doing a grand impression of Mrs Doyle from Father Ted dresssed as a nun. She grows into Sarah Greene (STANDBY) who moves to the UK, marries a horrible Turk and then turns into Deirdre O’Kane (KILLING BONO) who does the Vietnam bit of the tale. Angela’s Ashes this isn’t but it has a bloody good try at wringing every last cliche out of the Irish film playbook.

Battling odds you know she’s going  to rocket past unhindered because of her cheeky Irish minx ways, you know you’re onto a film which plays it safe for audiences who like to know the plot of films before they watch them. The acting is fine across the board and the Vietnamese cast thoroughly match the Irish / English gang. As if to highlight the problems facing street kids and a few clunky side plots are welded into the story with scripted lines written in marker pen. Mainly, we have the friend-cum-secret-paedophile revealed near the end to put some snakes in the film’s boots but it ends up playing like a deleted scene from Eldorado. And is handled in an utterly cackhanded way.

Brendan Coyle (DOWNTON ABBEY) plays a generous business man / romantic potential but ultimately he’s defeated by this O’Kane’s cartoon cut-out do-gooder with a monotonous ‘vehicle reversing’ remix on a Dublin accent.  I’d have read a book or watched a TV documentary with interest, this sort of film might fly on the Hallmark channel or at village halls in the Cotswolds but on the whole this sort of film shouldn’t need to be made anymore. There are enough quality feature length documentaries being made these days without having to endure such a laboured plod of a life-story like Noble.

4 out of 10 – Noble by name, Noble by nature. The film doesn’t do her life mission justice as it’s just made to look like unimaginative and self-serving. Sleep well. It’s all a bit too boring to do its bold subject any favours.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Deirdre O’Kane: The Messenger (2016), Moone Boy (TV), Killing Bono, Festival, Boy Eats Girl, Intermission, With or Without You
  • Sarah Greene: Burnt, Penny Dreadful (TV), Standby
  • Liam Cunningham: Pursuit (2016), Let Us Pray, Game of Thrones (TV), Dr Who (TV), The Numbers Station, Good Vibrations, Safe House, War Horse, The Guard, Centurion, Clash Of The Titans (201o), Harry Brown, Perrier’s Bounty, The Tournament, Blood- The Last Vampire, The Mummy 3, Hunger, The Escapist, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, The League Of Gentleman’s Apocalypse, Dog Soldiers, Jude, War Of The Buttons, A Little Princess, First Knight
  • Brendan Coyle: Me Before You, Downton Abbey (TV), The Raven, Lark To Candelford Rise (TV), Perrier’s Bounty
  • Ruth Negga: Warcraft, Preacher (TV), Iona, Agents of SHIELD (TV), Jimi, Misfits (TV), Isolation, Breakfast On Pluto
  • Mark Huberman: Boy Eats Girl, Band of Brothers (TV)
  • Pauline McLynn: Eastenders (TV), Shameless (TV), Heidi (2005), Gypo, Iris, An Everlasting Piece, The Most Fertile Man In Ireland, When Brendan Met Yrudy, Quills, Nora, Angela’s Ashes, Father Ted (TV)

 

NINA FOREVER

8 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 22nd February 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Ben Blaine & Chris Blaine

Cast: Abigail Hardingham, Cian Barry, Fiona O’Shaughnessy, David Troughton, Elizabeth Elvin and Sean Verey

Writer: Ben Blaine & Chris Blaine

Trailer: NINA FOREVER

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Abigail Hardingham: Sasquatch (2016), Hollyoaks Later (TV)
  • Cian Barry: Dr Foster (TV), Doctors (TV), Holy Water
  • Fiona O’Shaughnessy: Utopia (TV), Nightwatching, Until Death
  • David Troughton: 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)
  • Sean Verey: Pramface (TV), Shelfstackers (TV)

NORTH V SOUTH

3.5 out of 10

Release Date: 16th October 2015

Director: Steven Nesbit (Gloves Off)

Cast: Steven Berkoff, Bernard Hill, Elliott Tittensor, Brad Moore, Geoff Bell, Oliver Cotton, Charlotte Hope, Freema Agyeman, Gary Cargill, Sydney Wade, Dom Monot with Keith Allen, Steve Evets and Greta Scacchi

Writer: Steven Nesbit

Trailer: North V South

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The makers of North V South have bothered to conjure a half-decent plot of sorts. It’s a shame then that despite the prescence of some reliable actors, there’s no flare or energy expended here. It’s mainly notable for seeing Steven Berkoff (RED 2) in a rare leading role. As Britpic fans will have noticed, he’s been delivering a string of cameos to low-budget filmmakers for some time now. So it’s good to see him earn his money with extended screen time.

The top firm from North meets up with their opposite number from the South. At the meeting, loose cannon from the South, Gary Little (BRAD MOORE – MONTANA) murders John Claridge’s (BERNARD HILL – DOUBLE X) best mate which kicks off a war of paranoia. The two teams line up as Berkoff, Keith Allen (SHALLOW GRAVE), Geoff Bell (THE BUSINESS) and Moore. From the North there’s Hill, Oliver Cotton (THE DANCER UPSTAIRS), Freema Ageyam (DR WHO) and Elliott Tittensor (SHAMELESS). Little does anybody know, that somehow and quite randomly, the latter is seeing  Vic’s (Berkoff) daughter (CHARLOTTE HOPE – I MISS YOU ALREADY). The lovers are working on borrowed time because Brad Moore has discovered their secret. So the tribes go to war in slow motion.

Acting aside, with a particularly good turn from Keith Allen and a reasonably well though out plot, this fails to live up to its promise. With the actors the filmmakers have managed to draw in you’d expect to see a war in progress. But beyond the front line of top men, there’s little evidence of a criminal empire to control. The sub-plot involving the young lovers is a bit insipid too. Elliott Tittensor is miscast as a ‘mob’ enforcer as he’s too small, neat and polite to convince anybody that he could rough them up if they were light that week on paying protection money. Brad Moore is introduced in the credits but we already know him from Montana and The Search For Simon. He is way over the top here and has definitely picked wrong role to showcase his skills as he’s way better in the two aforementioned films.

The plot also includes a child assassin who doubles as a waitress for Bernard Hill. Freema Agyeman is largely wasted in her first film role as a female mob enforcer who’s made to babysit the kid.  Oliver Cotton is underused too, so this is largely Berkoff, Tits and Moore’s show. The lack of budget doesn’t help or convince. So we’re left with a floppy, foul-mouthed piece which seems to think a dose of cartoon-violence will save its bacon. An extra dopey duel-narration from the lovers tops up the quota of bad ideas, exposing many of the film’s script weaknesses.

3.5 out of 10 – Straight-forward yet underpowered gangster film with a solid cast. It’s a shame some of these actors couldn’t have been assembled for a better film.

Second review by Joe Pesci II below. He’s a real gangster you know…

 

NATIVITY 3

3.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 14th November 2014

Director: Debbie Isitt (Nativity 2 / Nativity! / Confetti / Bad Neighbours)

Cast: Martin Clunes, Marc Wootton, Catherine Tate, Adam Garcia, Lauren Hobbs, Ralf Little, Susie Blake, Duncan Preston, Simon Lipkin, Stewart Wright with Jason Watkins and Celia Imrie

Writer: Debbie Isitt

Trailer: NATIVITY 3

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Martin Clunes: Doc  Martin (TV), Reggie Perrin (TV), William and Mary (TV), The Booze Cruise, Saving Grace, Men Behaving Badly (TV), Shakespeare In Love, The Acid House, The Revenger’s Comedies, Harry Enfield & Chums (TV), Staggered, An Evening With Gary Lineker, Demob (TV), Swing Kids, Harry Enfield’s Television Programme (TV), Carry On Columbus, Jeeves & Wooster (TV), The Russia House, No Place Like Home (TV), Dr Who (TV)
  • Marc Wootton: The Bad Education Movie, The Harry Hill Movie, Nativity 2, Arthur Christmas (voice), Nativity!, Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel, Confetti
  • Catherine Tate: Superbob, The Office (TV), Monte Carlo, Gulliver’s Travels, Dr Who (TV), The Catherine Tate Show (TV), Mrs Ratcliffe’s Revolution, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Starter For Ten, Sixty Six, Big Train (TV), The Harry Hill Show (TV)
  • Adam Garcia: Party Pieces, Flight of the Conchords (TV), Love Confessions of Teenage Drama Queen, Kangaroo Jack (voice), Riding In Cars With Boys, Coyote Ugly
  • Ralf Little: The Unbeatables (voice), Powder (2011), The Waiting Room, Telstar, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet Of Crisps (TV), 24 Hour Party People, The Royle Family (TV)
  • Susie Blake: Coronation Street (TV), Mrs Brown’s Boys (TV), Singles (TV), Russ Abbott’s Madhouse (TV), Born and Bred (TV)
  • Duncan Preston: Emmerdale (TV), Howl (2015), Dragonheart 3, Five Children and It, Coronation Street (TV), Dinner Ladies (TV), Surgical Spirit (TV), The Harry Enfield Show (TV), Gentry
  • Stewart Wright: Doc Martin (TV)
  • Jason Watkins: W1A (TV),  Dr Who (TV), Psychoville (TV), Being Human (TV), Nativity 2, Little Dorrit (2008) (TV), Nativity!, Wild Child (2008), Sixty Six, Confetti, Bridget Jones 2, Circus, Onegin, High Hopes
  • Celia Imrie: Second Best Marigold Hotel,  What We Did On Our Holiday, 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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATIVITY 2

3 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 23rd November 2012

Director: Debbie Isitt (Nativity 3 / Nativity! / Confetti / Bad Neighbours)

Cast: David Tennant, Marc Wootton, Joanna Page, Jason Watkins, Ian McNeice, Rose Cavaliero with Pam Ferris and Jessica Hynes-Stevenson

Writer: Debbie Isitt

Trailer: Nativity 2

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • David Tennant: Jessica Jones (TV), What We Did On Our Holiday, Broadchurch (TV), Dr Who – Day of the Doctor, Postman Pat Movie (voice), The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (voice), The Decoy Bride, Fright Night (2011), St Trinians 2, Glorious 39, Dr Who (TV), Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire, LA Without a Map
  • Marc Wootton: The Bad Education Movie, Nativity 3, The Harry Hill Movie, Arthur Christmas (voice), Nativity!, Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel, Confetti
  • Joanna Page: Breathless (TV), Dr Who – Day of the Doctor, Gavin and Stacey (TV), Love Actually, Very Annie Mary
  • Jason Watkins: W1A (TV), Nativity 3, Dr Who (TV), Psychoville (TV), Being Human (TV), Little Dorrit (2008) (TV), Nativity!, Wild Child (2008), Sixty Six, Confetti, Bridget Jones 2, Circus, Onegin, High Hopes
  • Ian McNeice: Doc Martin (TV), Dr Who (TV), Valkyrie, Day of the Dead (2008), Rome (TV), The Black Dahlia, Oliver Twist (2005), The Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (voice), White Noise, Bridget Jones 2, Around The World In 80 Days, Freeze Frame, Blackball, From Hell, Town & Country, A Life Less Ordinary, Ace Ventura 2, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, funny Bones, No Escape (1994), Secret Friends, The Russia House, 1871, Valmont, The Raggedy Rawney, Whoops! Apocalypse, 84 Charing Cross Road, Personal Services, Top Secret
  • Rose Cavaliero: A Young Doctor’s Notebook (TV),  Jane Eyre (2011),  Nativity!, Little Dorrit (2008) (TV), Saxondale (TV), Cold Feet (TV)
  • Pam Ferris: Call The Midwife (TV), Saving Santa (voice), The Raven, Luther (TV),  Malice In Wonderland,  Telstar, Nativity, Children Of Men, Rosemary & Thyme (TV), Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkhaban, Death To Smoochy, Matilda, The Darling Buds of May (TV), Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Meantime
  • Jessica Hynes-Stevenson: Swallows and Amazons, Winter, W1A (TV), Pudsey The Dog, Chalet Girl, Burke and Hare, Faintheart, Magicians, Son Of Rambow, Confetti, Bridget Jones 2, Pure, Spaced (TV), Born Romantic, Staying Alive (TV)