NATIVITY!

3.5 out of 10

Release Date: 27th November 2009

Director: Debbie Isitt (Nativity 3 / Nativity 2 / Confetti / Bad Neighbours)

Cast: Martin Freeman, Pam Ferris, Marc Wootton, Jason Watkins, Alan Carr, Rose Cavaliero, John Sessions, Phyllis Logan, Clarke Peters, Geoffrey Hutchings, Matt Rippy with Ricky Tomlinson and Ashley Jensen

Writer: Debbie Isitt

Trailer: Nativity!

Nativity_poster

 

I’ve been putting off watching Debbie Isitt’s Nativity! for so long that it’s spawned two sequels. The director was previously known for semi-improvised / workshopped comedies Confetti and Bad Neighbours. Now she’ll be forever known as making a string of tepid comedies to wind up TV viewers almost annually.

The first Nativity!, set in Coventry, sees glum school teacher Mr Maddens (MARTIN FREEMAN – SHERLOCK) pit his team up against a formidable private school to stage the city’s best nativity play. He’s egged on by his class, and his manic new classroom assistant, Mr Poppy (MARC WOOTTON – NATIVITY 2) when they overhear a lie about him inviting a Hollywood producer to see them perform. He’s really only off-setting a boastful rant by arch-rival and old Uni pal, Mr Shakespeare (JASON WATKINS – NATIVITY 3) who is now the dramaa teacher at the private school. But the lie snowballs, until its so big there’s no going back. Saly Mr Maddens only knows one person in Hollywood and that’s his estranged ex-fiancee, Jennifer (ASHLEY JENSEN – THE LOBSTER).

There’s much to be said for being a childless adult, I’ve never had to go to any children’s nativity plays. This was fate’s way of making me sorry. As the film features said nativity performed from beginning to end without a pause at Coventry‘s old Cathedral.

The film is rescued by its supporting players, as Martin Freeman appears to be playing well within his stunted range. Glum and sarcastic, are like forwards and backwards to him. There should be more gears at an actor’s disposal but he’s not at all pushed to bring anything new to his role here. Marc Wootton, Jason Watkins and Pam Ferris (MATHILDA) win smiles and laughs left right and centre and it’s a relief that they all return for the shambolic second film.

Debbie Isitt’s plot revolves around last minute saves and redemption, as it’s a Christmas movie. It’s not all that soppy considering but it’s a disappointment to see such a promising film director play things so safe. She at least recognises where this first film’s strengths lie and thats in the cast lower down the pay-scale and they all return for the following film(s). The children are OK, if a touch wooden and they thoroughly get sidelined in the next installments as the adults potter about getting bitten by donkeys or pushed into rivers.

3.5 out of 10 – A least Nativity! feels Chrissmassy, but its not the laughter fest it could have been and it’s definitely one to be avoid if Martin Freeman’s stock ‘act’ irritates you.

SECOND REVIEW BY MATIVITY! Usher below.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Martin Freeman: Fun House, Captain America 3, Fargo (TV), Sherlock (TV), The Hobbit – There and Back Again, The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug, Svengali, Saving Santa (voice)The World’s End, The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists (voice), What’s Your Number?, Swinging With The Finkels,  The Good Night, Wild Target (2010), Nightwatching, Breaking and Entering,  Hot Fuzz, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (2006), Love Actually, Confetti, The Low Down, Ali G In Da House, The Office (TV)
  • Pam Ferris: Call The Midwife (TV), Saving Santa (voice), Nativity 2, The Raven, Luther (TV),  Malice In WonderlandTelstar, 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
  • Marc Wootton: The Bad Education Movie, Nativity 3, The Harry Hill Movie, Nativity 2, Arthur Christmas (voice), Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel, Confetti
  • Jason Watkins: W1A (TV), Call The Midwife (TV), Nativity 3, Dr Who (TV), Nativity 2, Psychoville (TV), Being Human (TV), Little Dorrit (2008) (TV), Wild Child (2008), Sixty Six, Confetti, Bridget Jones 2, Circus, Onegin, High Hopes
  • Alan Carr: Alan Carr – Chatty Man (TV), The Sunday Night Project (TV), The Friday Night Project (TV), The One Show (TV), Loose Women (TV)
  • Rose Cavaliero: A Young Doctor’s Notebook (TV), Nativity 2, Jane Eyre (2011),  Little Dorrit (2008) (TV), Saxondale (TV), Cold Feet (TV)
  • John Sessions: Alice In Wonderland 2, Mr Holmes, Legend (2015), Pudsey The Dog, Filth, The Iron Lady, Made In Dagenham, The Good Shepherd, The Adventures Of Pinocchio, In The Bleak Midwinter, Princess Caraboo, The Pope Must Die, Henry V (1989), The Bounty
  • Phyllis Logan: Downton Abbey (TV), Day of the Flowers, Shooting Fish, Secrets and Lies, Soft Top Hard Shoulder, Freddie as FR07, The Doctor and The Devils
  • Clarke Peters: The Bad Education Movie, John Wick, Treme (TV), True Detective (TV), Person of Interest (TV), Red Hook Summer, Legacy – Black Ops, Holby City (TV), Marley and Me, The Wire (TV), Mona Lisa, Outland
  • Geoffrey Hutchings: Grandma’s House (TV), Benidorm (TV), Mike Bassett – England Manager, Maigret (TV), Brass (TV), Wish You Were Here, Clockwise
  • Matt Rippy: Boogeyman 3
  • Ricky Tomlinson: Mike Bassett – England Manager 2, FlutterNorthern Soul, The Royle Family (TV), Mike Bassett – Manager (TV), Once Upon a Time In The Midlands, Playing The Field (TV), Formula 51, Mike Bassett – England Manager, Nasty Neighbours, Mojo, Preaching To The Perverted, Cracker (TV), Bob’s Weekend, Butterfly Kiss, Raining Stones, Riff Raff, Brookside (TV)
  • Ashley Jensen: The Lobster, The Legend of Barney Thompson, All StarsPirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (voice), Hysteria, Gnomeo & Juliet (voice), Ugly Betty (TV), How To Train Your Dragon (voice), A Cock & Bull Story, Extras (TV)

 

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)

I CAN’T THINK STRAIGHT

0.5 out of 10

Release Date: 3rd April 2009

Director: Shamim Sharif

Cast: Lisa Ray, Sheetal Sheth, Antonia Frering, Rez Kempton, Dalip Tahil, Ernest Ignatius, Anya Lahiri, Amber Rose Revah, Siddiqua Akthar and Nina Wadia

Writer: Shamim Sharif

Trailer: I CAN’T THINK STRAIGHT

I-Cant-Think-Straight-PosterI’m speechless. Here comes the worst British film about being young, gay and the consequences of coming out to your family and friends. In this case the two girls concerned are both from regions of the world where homosexuality is particularly frowned upon. One of the girls, Tali (LISA RAY – WATER) is a Christian from Jordan who is about to be married to a socialite. She falls for a straight Indian Muslim girl, Leyla (SHEETAL SHETH). Let the cliches commence.

Made in the style of a Emirate soap opera filmed in slow motion – I Can’t Think Straight contains some of the most excruciatingly shrill and bad performances committed to a ‘professional’ film production… ever. Since we set up Britpic in 2012 there have been rivals for the crown of worst low budget film and this gay flick really takes some beating but remarkably there are worse films out there (take a look down the cast list below and some of the actors have appeared in some of them). It’s an interesting subject and backdrop. It’s dramatically material exploring characters whose culture impacts on more primal desires but this film doesn’t care. It’s more concerned about being the Middle-Eastern equivalent of Sex and The City. The lack of production values and skill on display render this the worst UK film about ‘coming out’ you’ll ever see. In an already very crowded field – there have been some brilliant films from the UK that have made some honest and refreshing entries. Britpic urges readers to seek out Weekend or Lilting and leave charmless vanity projects like this (and Nina’s Heavenly Delights) to fester in obscurity where they belong. You learn nothing and it would be difficult to find yourself less engaged by a bunch of non-characters that drift about shouting bad dialogue just so their cheap microphones can pick them up. The sound is terrible and the endless montages only set to prove that the makers have an abysmal taste in music. It’s doesn’t even have any camp appeal for your stereotypical ‘gay’ viewer – so who is it made for? Bin Men I think.

It’s as if the makers knew somebody who’s distant cousin met a gay person ten years ago on the other side of the world and then tried to turn a very limited imagination towards tackiling a subject that could be so full of twists and turns.

0.5 out of 10 – The makers of this film need to be locked under the jail for criminals who commit crimes against innocent film fans. I Can’t Think Straight? Avoid at all costs. This film will turn gay viewers STRAIGHT it’s that bad.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Lisa Ray: Water
  • Rez Kempton: Amar Akbar & Tony,  Stag Night of the Dead, Baseline
  • Dalip Tahil: Eastenders (TV)
  • Anya Lahiri: Goal 3
  • Amber Rose Kevah: Everywhere + Nowhere, From Paris With Love
  • Nina Wadia: Amar Akbar & Tony, Holby City (TV), Still Open All Hours (TV), Eastenders (TV), Keith Lemon, White Teeth (TV), Goodness Gracious Me (TV), Such a Long Journey, Sixth Happiness

NINA’S HEAVENLY DELIGHTS

2 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 29th September 2006

Director: Prathiba Parmar (GPS I Love You)

Cast: Shelley Conn, Laura Fraser, Ronny Jhutti, Veena Sood, Raji James, Atta Yaqub, Elaine C Smith, Adam Sinclair, Kathleen McDermott, Rita Wolf, Raad Rawi with Kulvinder Ghir and Art Malik

Writer: Andrea Gibb

Trailer: NINA’S HEAVENLY DELIGHTS

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Shelley Conn: 24 (TV), New Town Killers, Mersey Beat (TV)
  • Laura Fraser: FlutterCastles In The Sky, Breaking Bad (TV), Cuckoo, The Boys Are Back, The Flying Scotsman, 16 Years of Alcohol, A Knight’s Tale, Kevin & Perry Go Large, Titus, What Ever Happened To Harold Smith?, The Match, Virtual Sexuality, Divorcing Jack, The Tribe, Cousin Bette, The Man In The Iron Mask (1998), Neverwhere (TV), Small Faces
  • Ronny Jhutti: Jarhead 2, Breathless (TV), Vexed (TV), Everywhere + Nowhere, Cash and Curry, Survivors (TV), Bollywood Queen, Wild West, Eastenders (TV), Immaculate Conception
  • Raji James: UFO (2013)Airborne (2012), Baseline, The Bill (TV), Eastenders (TV), East Is East
  • Atta Yaqub: Ae Fond Kiss
  • Elaine C Smith: Rab C Nesbitt (TV), Naked Video (TV)
  • Adam Sinclair: 24 (TV), Ecstasy
  • Kathleen McDermott: Dead Set (TV), Morvern Callar
  • Rita Wolf: Coronation Street (TV), Slipstream, Tandoori Nights (TV), My Beautiful Laundrette, The Chain, Majdhar
  • Kulvinder Ghir: Level Up, Hackney’s Finest, Gone Too Far, Still Open All Hours (TV),  Jadoo, Postman Pat (TV) (voice), Holby City (TV), Bend It Like Beckham, Goodness Gracious Me (TV), Rita Sue and Bob Too!, Howards’ Way (TV)
  • Art Malik: Homeland (TV), Borgia (TV), Diana, John Carter, Ghosted, Everywhere + Nowhere, Sex & The City 2, The Wolfman, Franklyn, Dean Spanley, Booty Call,  Clockwork Mice, True Lies, City Of Joy, Turtle Beach, James Bond – The Living Daylights, A Passage To India

BETTER THINGS

7 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 23rd January 2009

Director: Duane Hopkins (Bypass)

Cast: Rachel McIntyre, Liam McIlfatrick, Che Corr, Tara Ballard, Kurt Taylor, Megan Palmer, Patricia Loveland, Betty Bench, Frank Bench, Emma Cooper with Michael Socha and Freddie Cunliffe

Writer: Duane Hopkins

Trailer: BETTER THINGS

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

SUNSHINE (2007)

7 out of 10

Release Date: 7th April 2007 

Director: Danny Boyle (Trainspotting 2 / Babylon (TV) (2014) / Trance127 Hours / Slumdog Millionnaire / Millions / 28 Days Later / The Beach / A Life Less Ordinary / Trainspotting / Shallow Grave)

Cast: Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Cliff Curtis, Troy Garity, Benedict Wong with Mark Strong and Michelle Yeoh

Writer: Alex Garland

Trailer: SUNSHINE

REVIEW COMING SOON

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Cillian Murphy: Dunkirk, Free Fire, Anthropoid, In The Heart of the Sea, Peaky Blinders (TV), Transcendence, Broken (2013), The Dark Knight Rises, Red Lights, In Time, Retreat, Tron 2, Inception, The Dark Knight, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, Breakfast On Pluto, Red Eye, Batman Begins, Cold Mountain, Girl With a Pearl Earring,  Intermission, Cold Mountain, 28 Days Later, Disco Pigs, The Trench
  • Chris Evans: Captain America 3, Ant Man, Avenger’s Assemble 2, Snowpiercer, Captain America 2, Thor 2,  The Iceman, Avengers Assemble, Captain America, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, The Losers, Push, Street Kings, Fantastic Four 2, Fantastic Four, Cellular, Not Another Teen Movie
  • Rose Byrne: Spy (2015), The Turning, Annie (2014), Bad Neighbours, Insidious 2, I Give It a Year, The Internship, The Place Beyond The Pines, X Men- First Class, Bridesmaids, Insidious, Get Him To The Greek, Knowing, 28 Weeks Later, Sunshine (2007), The Dead Girl, Marie Antoinette, Wicker Park, Troy, I Capture The Castle, Star Wars- Attack Of The Clones, Two Hands, Dallas Doll
  • Hiroyuki Sanada: Despicable Me 3 (voice),  Mr Holmes, The Railway Man, 47 Ronin, X-Men – Wolverine 2, Speed Racer, Rush Hour 3, The White Countess, The Last Samurai, Midnight Samurai, Ring 2 (1999), The Ring (1997)
  • Cliff Curtis: Fear The Living Dead (TV), Dark Horse, A Thousand Words, Columbiana, The Last Airbender, Push, 10000 BC, Die Hard 4, The Fountain, River Queen, Runaway Jury, Whale Rider, Collateral Damage, Training Day, Blow, The Insider, Bringing Out The Dead, Three Kings, Virus, Six Days Seven Nights, Deep Rising, Once Were Warriors, Desperate Remedies
  • Troy Garity: Sabotage, Barbershop 2, Barbershop, Bandits
  • Benedict Wong: Dr Strange, Kick Ass 2, Hummingbird, Prometheus, The Lady (2011), Johnny English 2, Moon, Largo Winch,  A Cock and Bull Story, Code 46, Dirty Pretty Things, Grow Your Own
  • Mark Strong: Grimsby, Kingsman – The Secret Service, The Imitation Game, Before I Go To Sleep, Blood (2013)Welcome To The Punch, Zero Two Dark, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Kick Ass, The Guard, John Carter, Black Gold,  The Eagle, Robin Hood (2010), The Green Lantern,  The Way Back, Sherlock Holmes (2009), Rock-N-Rolla, Body Of Lies, Young Victoria, Flashbacks Of a Fool, Stardust, Scenes Of a Sexual Nature, Revolver, Syriana, The Long Firm (TV), Heartlands, The Martins, Elephant Juice, Fever Pitch, Hotel (2001), Our Friends In The North (TV), Captives
  • Michelle Yeoh: Morgan, The Mechanic 2, The Lady, Kung-fun Panda 2 (voice), The Mummy 3, Babylon AD, Far North (2007), Memoirs of a Geisha, Crouching Tiger-Hidden Dragon, James Bond- Tomorrow Never Dies, Supercop 2, Supercop

YASMIN

7.5 out of 10

Release Date: 28th October 2004 

Director: Kenneth Glenaan (Summer (2008))

Cast: Archie Panjabi, Renu Setna, Steve Jackson, Syed Ahmed, Shahid Ahmed with Gary Lewis and Baddi Uzzaman

Writer: Simon Beaufoy

Trailer:  YASMIN

REVIEW COMING SOON

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Archie Panjabi: San Andreas, The Infidel, Traitor, A Mighty Heart, I Could Never Be Your Woman, Chromophobia, A Good Year, The Constant Gardener, Code 46, Bend It Like Beckham, East Is East
  • Steve Jackson: Doctors (TV),  Coronation St (TV)
  • Syed Ahmed: Bradford Riots
  • Shahid Ahmed: Salvage, 28 Weeks Later, Mischief Night, Syriana
  • Gary Lewis: Catch Me Daddy, Not Another Happy Ending, FilthWhen The Lights Went OutNeds, Valhalla Rising, Eragon, True North,  Goal 3, Ae Fond Kiss, Gangs Of New York, Goal!, Shiner, Billy Eliiott, Gregory’s Girl 2, The Match, East Is East, Orphans, My Name Is Joe, My Name Is Joe
  • Badi Uzzaman: The Baby Juice Express, Brothers In Trouble, The Buddha of Suburbia (TV), K2, Tandoori Nights (TV), Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, My Beautiful Laundrette