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?

PREVENGE

6.5 out of 10

Release date:  10th February 2017

Director: Alice Lowe

Cast: Alice Lowe, Jo Hartley, Kayvan Novak, Tom Davis, Gemma Whelan, Mike Wozniak, Tom Meeten, Leila Hoffman, Marc Bessant with Kate Dickie and Dan Renton Skinner

Writer: Alice Lowe

Trailer: PREVENGE

Prevenge-Movie-Poster

Actress Alice Lowe (THE GHOUL) makes her directorial with this inscrutable comedy-horror set in Cardiff. Pregnant Ruth’s (LOWE) baby no longer has a father after a freak accident lead to his death on an adventure weekend. One day the baby starts to talk to talk to Ruth persuading her to kill some seemingly random people. Is there a connection between them and why do they have to die?

The film is distrubing and stylistic with gallows humour which lands on its feet. It’s gross but repeatedly funny. The gore is unavoidable and visceral, noone escapes if they pay to watch this. It’s only after the film has ended do you begin to question it’s merits. Yes, it’s very entertaining so it gets high marks for delivering what it promises. At the same time its very thin. There are no layers to it. Ruth is a killer with a mental problem who happens to be pregnant. A proxy that she can blame her bloodlust on. Some of her victims like Tom Davis’ (TRADERS) DJ Dan and the pet shop owner, (DAN RENTON SKINNER – THE GHOUL) are utterly appalling characters that deserve their movie fate, whereas some of the others are more sympathetic. The only other character that isn’t an extended cameo is Jo Hartley’s (THIS IS ENGLAND) Midwife. Like a female David Brent, she is wonderfully candid but out of synch with quite how unhinged her patient is. Some of the exchanges between her and Ruth are the best in the film.

Some of the the scenes are well realised with queasy cinematography, gross out filters and an electronic score reminiscent of Tangerine Dream or The Goblins. It’s also good that the locations are pretty much anonymous and could have been set anywhere in Britain. (Apart from the scenes on the Pembrokeshire Coast). A bright script and winsome performances help this directorial debut to fly. It works well as a companion piece to some of Alice Lowe’s other films like Sightseers and Black Mountain Poets.

6.5 out of 10 – Fun while it lasts, but you won’t call it a classic.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

PLAN Z

5.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 13th March 2017 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Stuart Brennan

Cast: Stuart Brennan, Mark Paul Wake, Eugene Horan, Brooke Burfitt, Victoria Morrison and Terry Deary

Writer: Stuart Brennan

Trailer: PLAN Z

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Stuart Brennan: A Christmas Carol (2017), Tomorrow (2017), The Reverend (2012), Risen
  • Mark Paul Wake: A Christmas Carol (2017)
  • Eugene Horan: Tomorrow (2017)
  • Brooke Burfitt: The Search for Simon, Death (2014)
  • Victoria Morrison: A Christmas Carol (2017)
  • Terry Deary: Horrible Histories (TV)

PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES

2.5 out of 10

Release Date: 11th February 2016

Director: Burr Steers (Charlie St. Cloud / 17 Again / Igby Goes Down)

Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Emma Greenwell, Morfydd Clark, Dolly Wells and Charles Dance with Matt Smith and Lena Headey

Trailer: PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES

zz2

Now this was disappointing. This one-joke zombie fails to capitalise on a pretty good conceit and as a result it’s probably the flattest bigger-budget zombie flick to shuffle out on British cinemas to date. Wearing it’s gimmick on it’s sleeve, it’s essentially a retelling of the Jane Austen novel with some flesh-eating zombies thrown in to liven it up. Only the added USP actually deadens it up. When one of the zombies begins to hold a conversation with the living you know that the scare factor just got dialled down to zero. Talking, intelligent zombies are a real turn off. So its clear from the off this is an attempt at zom-com, except there are no jokes either.  It’s left to the period design and the acting to impress, except they don’t.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies looks like an exercise in obligation. You’ve all had experiences where you’re all in the pub have  funny idea, are all committed to it in the spirit of camarderie but come the sober light of day you can’t be bothered and no longer see the funny side. PPZ is like that, except the one wag who still found the idea funny stitched everyone up with cast iron contracts, thats assuming the actors in this were friends to begin with, except there’s no chemistry. The high-profile cast are just going through the motions with the exception of former Dr Who, Matt Smith (TERMINATOR 5) who is excellent as the local Clergy man, the Rev’d Collins.

The main plot of the Jane Austen original isn’t disrupted too badly throughout the earlier sections but this still comes off a poor second to even Joe Wright’s 2005 re-run. You’re thinking, ‘I already know these bits, bring on the zombies’. It’s a bad thing in a way and by the time the first hour is through you know you’re definitely not going to see any improvements. I was willing it to be better because I was looking forward to it.

Sam Riley (CONTROL) and Lily James (WAR AND PEACE) are OK as the leads but beyond a cool bit of swordplay and martial arts tom-foolery they are indistinguishable from the legion of Col. Darcys and Elizabeth Bennetts that have gone before. A subplot about feeding zombies pig’s brains is too convoluted and story-killing for my liking and the race against time at the ending lacks urgency or suspense. All that’s left to commend is the ‘look’ of the film which is the sole success. The zombies and the settings all look spot-on. The costumes are perfect and it’s a good job there was money for this kind of thing as it’s the only aspect in the entire film that feels like it was accomplished with a degree of love and care. Otherwise this is a machine-like bore that could have done with a bit more spring in its step, more jokes, less talk and a degree of suspense.

2.5 out of 10 – Flat and lifeless. An expensive looking film with no life whatsoever to it. As a comedy there’s one joke, the concept. As a horror there’s no atmosphere. An empty experience.

Another review by Matt ‘Shuffler’ Usher below

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Lily James: Baby Driver, War and Peace (TV), Burnt, Downton Abbey (TV), Cinderella (2015), Broken (2013), Fast Girls, Wrath Of The Titans
  • Sam Riley: Free Fire, Suite Francaise, Maleficent, Byzantium, On The Road, Brighton Rock (2011), 13 (2010), Franklyn, Control
  • Jack Huston: Berlin I Love You, Ben Hur (2016), Hail Caesar, The Longest Ride, American Hustle, Night Train To Lisbon, Kiss Your Darlings, The Hot Potato, Boardwalk Empire (TV), Twilight- Eclipse, Mr Nice, Outlander, Shrooms, Factory Girl
  • Douglas Booth: A Storm In The Stars, The Riot Club, Jupiter Ascending, Noah, Romeo & Juliet (2013), LOL
  • Sally Phillips: Burn Burn Burn, Set The Thames On Fire, The Rizen 2, The Rizen, Bridget Jones 3, Miranda (TV), Green Wing (TV), Bridget Jones 2, Bridget Jones, Mean Machine, Birthday Girl, Born Romantic
  • Bella Heathcote: Fifty Shades Darker, Neon Demon, Dark Shadows, Beneath Hill 60, Neighbours (TV)
  • Ellie Bamber: Nocturnal Animals
  • Suki Waterhouse: Insurgent, Love Rosie
  • Emma Greenwell: Love & Friendship, Shameless US (TV)
  • Morfydd Clark: Love & Friendship,  The Call Up, The Falling
  • Dolly Wells: Black Mountain Poets, 45 Years, Benny & Jolene, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy (TV), Dolly & Em (TV), Some Girls (TV), Spy (TV), Morvern Callar
  • Charles Dance: Underworld 5, Ghostbusters 3, Me Before You, Despite The Falling Snow, Woman In Gold, Child 44, The Imitation Game, Dracula Untold, Game Of Thrones (TV), Midnight’s Children,  St. George’s Day, Underworld 4, Your Highness, Ironclad, Starter For Ten, Gosford Park, Ladies In Lavender (dir), Swimming Pool, Ali G In Da House,  Black and White (2002), Hilary & Jackie, Michael Collins, Space Truckers, Exquisite Tenderness, China Moon, Century, The Last Action Hero, Alien 3, Hidden City, The Golden Child, White Mischief, James Bond – For Your Eyes Only
  • Matt Smith: Terminator 5, Lost River, Doctor Who – Day of the Doctor, Dr Who (TV), Clone
  • Lena Headey: Game Of Thrones (TV), The Adventurer – Curse of the Midas Box, Black Plague (2015), 300 – part 2, The Mortal Instruments, The Purge,  Dredd, The Broken, The Brothers Grimm, Imagine Me & You, St. Trinians, 300, The Cave, Ripley’s Game, The Parole Officer, Gossip, Onegin, If Only, Mrs Dalloway, Face, Waterland, The Grotesque, The Jungle Book (1994), Century, The Remains Of The Day

PROJECT 12 – THE BUNKER

5 out of 10

UK/Spain co-production

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 3rd May 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: J Falero

Cast: James Cosmo, Joaquin Sanchez, Natasha Alam, Timothy Gibbs, Tony Corvillo, James Conner Ferguson and Eric Roberts

Writer: J Falero & Joaquin Sanchez

Trailer: PROJECT 12 – THE BUNKER

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • James Cosmo:  The Ten Bells, Eliminators, Whiskey Galore (2016), London Heist, Tomorrow (2016), Ben Hur (2016), Dark Signal, Breakdown (2016), The Legend of Barney Thompson, Estranged, The Christmas Candle, We Still Kill The Old Way, Citadel, Hammer Of The Gods, Get Lucky, Game Of Thrones (TV), Outcast, Half Light, The Chronicles Of Narnia – The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe, Troy, The Four Feathers (2002), Once Upon a Time In The Midlands, The Match, Babe 2 (voice), Emma (1996), Trainspotting, Braveheart, Stormy Monday, Highlander
  • Natasha Alam: Bring Me The Head of Lance Henriksen, The Women (2008)
  • Timothy Gibbs: Another World (TV), Santa Barbara (TV)
  • Eric Roberts: A Hitman In London, The Condemned 2, The Human Centipede 3, Suits (TV), Inherent Vice, Assault On Wall Street, Sharktopus, The Expendables, Heroes (TV), The Dark Knight, DOA – Dead or Alive, A Guide To Recognising Your Saints, National Security, Spun, The Prophecy 2, Most Wanted, The Cable Guy, Heaven’s Prisoners, Dr Who (TV), It’s My Party, The Specialist, Love Cheat & Steal, Best of the Best 2, Final Analysis, By The Sword, The Ambulance, Best of the Best, Blood Red, Runaway Train, The Coca Cola Kid, The Pope of Greenwich Village, King of the Gypsies

PLEASURE ISLAND

6 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 14th August 2015

Director:  Mike Doxford

Cast: Ian Sharp, Gina Bramhill, Rick Warden, Nicholas Day, Samuel Anderson, Jack Rigby, Neil McCaul, Cordelia Bugeja with Conner Chapman and Michael J Jackson

Writer: Mike Doxford & Simon Richardson

Trailer: PLEASURE ISLAND

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Ian Sharp: KickOff
  • Rick Warden: Genesis, Indian Summers (TV), Happy Valley (TV), Doomsday, Imagine – Me & You, Exorcist – Dominion, Band of Brothers (TV)
  • Nicholas Day: A Dark Reflection, Amazing Grace, New Tricks (TV), The Lakes (TV), Minder (TV), Up The Elephant and Round The Castle (TV)
  • Samuel Anderson: Genesis, Dr Who (TV), Emmerdale (TV)
  • Neil McCaul: Doctors (TV), Where The Heart Is (TV), Billy The Kid and The Green Baize Vampire
  • Cordelia Bugeja: The Crew, Mindflesh
  • Conner Chapman: The Selfish Giant
  • Michael J Jackson: Coronation Street (TV), Emmerdale (TV), Doctors (TV), There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble, Brookside (TV), Wish Me Luck (TV), The Fourth Protocol, Dr Who (TV), Sweeney 2

PRESSURE

7.5 out of 10

Release Date: 21st August 2015

Director: Ron Scalpello (Death or Glory (doc) / Bobby Moore (doc) / Offender)

Cast: Danny Huston, Matthew Goode, Joe Cole, Alan McKenna, Ian Pirie, Gemita Samarra with Daisy Lowe and Paul McGann (voice)

Writer: Louis Baxter, Alan McKenna and Paul Staheli

Trailer: PRESSURE

pressure-2015.36195A great little thriller for fans of derring-do under the sea. Much like last year’s Black Sea, the ocean floor takes on alien qualities as survival becomes crucial and our protagonists get cut off from the outside world. Movies like this have much in common with sci-fi movies in that danger lurks around every corner and death claws at the edge of each frame. The isolation is palpable and rising panic is often infectious as outside elements (water / poisonous air) threaten to end all life in no short order.

In Pressure‘s case, a diving bell is dropped to the ocean floor. It contains four engineers / deep sea divers. They have to complete the job quickly because of an incoming storm. Predictably the bell becomes cut off leaving it’s four occupants to problem solve a way to back to the surface. The actors are all solid and well cast. First off we have Danny Huston (THE CONGRESS) as the seasoned operative, Matthew Goode (STOKER) (inexplicably sporting a weak American accent) is the underexperienced leader, Joe Cole (THE SECRETS IN THERE EYES)  is the rooky and Alan McKenna (WAYLAND’S SONG) is the drunken soak with issues. Experience clashes with authority and youthful improvisation leads to plot twists and turns. Being set predominantly in one setting the movie never bores and you easily caught up in the desperation of the situation. As the cast predictably dwindle so do the odds of survival and as much of the film plays over real-time it adds to the fear factor.

Director Ron Scapello expands on his debut which was another drama about danger in enclosed spaces, prison drama Offender. His lead, Joe Cole returning here as the most impressive of the four actors who turns his fear to his advantage as he uses it practically in order to live. The cinematography and economic soundtrack are both brilliant. It’s a solid movie which deserved a wider cinema release than the one it got as it goes blow for blow with it’s larger American, similar, starrier competitors..

Unlike a lot of disaster movies, like World Trade Center, Everest and The Martian, Pressure refuses to fall back on the ‘meanwhile at the rescue centre / families hanging on the telephone wire for news’ prop. I personally find those scenes a distraction and the tension just drains out of those films because of that release from the action. The momentum is slowed and I don’t really care about those out of the line of fire. The soapy Castaway and the superior The Grey and All Is Lost realised this to their story’s advantage. However, here we get the obligatory, Timotei advert flashbacks of dead girlfriends. As their watery grave beckons these flashes take on a significance, thus earning their place in the story, but nonetheless, until their presence is explained they are pretty annoying. Who thinks about their exes, dappled in sunset-dappled light? Not sure I do. Characters in movies always do.

I can’t fault Pressure, except for two things and they both involve the uniformly excellent Matthew Goode. One is plot related, the circumstances surrounding his ‘exit’ are a bit too convenient in the dramatic stakes and his rotten accent. There’s no need for it. It’s a British film, he’s English. Danny Huston‘s American but chooses to use no accent. Some actors just can’t do accents, Matthew Goode is one of them. It’s distracting but luckily the film is strong enough to paper over this flaw.

7.5 out of 10 – A solid thriller with sound solutions and a good knowledge of how underwater survival works and just how dangerous a life at sea is. Never turn your back on it.

Read Matt ‘Flippers’ Usher’s review below

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Danny Huston: The Last Photograph, Frankenstein (2015), Big Eyes, The Congress, Hitchcock, Stolen, Boxing Day, Wrath of the Titans, Made In Dagenham (voice), The Conspirator, Robin Hood (2010), Edge of Darkness, X-Men – Wolverine, How To Lose Friends and Alienate People, 30 Days of Night, The Kingdom (2007), Number 23, Children of Men, Marie Antoinette, The Proposition, The Constant Gardener, The Aviator, Birth, Silver City, 21 Grams, Hotel (2001), ivansxtc, Timecode 2000, Anna Karenina, Leaving Las Vegas, The Maddening (dir), Mr North (dir), The Human Factor
  • Matthew Goode: Self/Less, The Imitation Game, Belle, Stoker, Cemetery Junction, Watchmen, A Single Man, Leap Year, Brideshead Revisted, Imagine Me & You, Match Point
  • Joe Cole: Green Room, Secret In Their Eyes (2015), The Falling, In The Blood (2015), A Long Way Down, Now Is Good, Peaky Blinders (TV), Offender, Skins (TV)
  • Alan McKenna: The ABCs of Death 2, Wayland’s Song, Doctors (TV)
  • Ian Pirie: The Last Photograph, Sunset Song, Who Needs Enemies?, DaVinci’s Demons (TV), I Am Soldier
  • Daisy Lowe: Tulip Fever, Confine
  • Paul McGann: Dr Who – Day of the Doctor, Dr Who (TV), Luther (TV), Lesbian Vampire Killers, Gypo, Queen Of The Damned, My Kingdom, Downtime, The Three Musketeers (1994), Alien 3, Afraid Of The Dark, Paper Mask, Dealers, The Rainbow, Empire of the Sun, Withnail & I, The Monocled Mutineer