A STREET CAT NAMED BOB

7.5 out of 10

Release date: 3rd November 2016

Director: Roger Spottiswoode (The 6th Day / James Bond – Tomorrow Never Dies / Mesmer / And The Band Played On / Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot / Air America / Turner & Hooch / Shoot To Kill / The Best of Times / Under Fire / Terror Train)

Cast: Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head, Darren Evans, Beth Goddard, Lorraine Ashbourne, Nina Wadia, Tony Jayawardena, John Henshaw, Akbar Kurtha, Ivana Basic with Ruth Sheen and Caroline Goodall

Writer: Tim John & Maria Nation / James Bowen & Garry Jenkins

Trailer:

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Solid, piece of family entertainment with a bit of an edge, this true story of a recovering drug addict, who becomes an overnight sensation because of his devoted cat, Bob, could have been yet another piss-weak TV-movie. That A Street Cat Named Bob actually has something going for it is a pleasant surprise.

This real-life aspirational story is the very modern kind that it may not have caught the nation’s imagination if it wasn’t for viral social media. James, (LUKE TREADAWAY – FORTITUDE) a Big Issue vendor and busker, gets given a second chance when his case worker Val (JOANNE FROGGATT – DOWNTON ABBEY) and finds him a flat. He is soon befriended by a stray cat, who he calls Bob. Bob is devoted to him and follows him everywhere, even when he goes busking or on his errands. Sitting atop of his shoulders. Life isn’t all rosy for James, as he’s still a few steps from finishing his methodone programme. The temptations to take heroin are all around him, not least when he lives in a very run down area, where dealers lurk on every street, and an old friend from the streets, Baz (DARREN EVANS – HUNKY DORY) shows up expecting help. His father has a new family who really hate him, and he’s an embarrassment to them all, so his support network is social services, Bob, and the most groomed crusty in the history of movies, neighbouring dog walker, Betty (RUDA GEDMINTAS – THE INCIDENT). Eventually he’s happened upon by a local journalist after becoming a YouTube sensation and this leads ot having his life story written and published in a series of books (leading to this film).

Thankfully, we’re not quite in the realms of Richard Curtis’ London but there is still a disconnect with real life with the lack of true-grit, dirt and shit of being a drug addict. It’s still a fairly cheery film that only touches base with many of the issues at its core. One character talks about The Big Issue being a gateway job, you know, like marijuana is a gateway drug. Well, if this thought-piece masquerading as light entertainment gets people staying away from drugs then all is well. As a gritty film in the style of Nil By Mouth is niche with a limited audience. And it’s probably preaching to people in the know already – a film about a man with the cat, could act as a trojan horse and actually raise awareness of very real issues to people of the right age – young adults, as well as grannies, mums and dads.

So a big well done to the makers, and of course to the real life James and Bob for giving the ‘disinterested’ something a bit spiky to chew on.  Luke Treadaway is superb and well-cast. He doesn’t take the easy route and go for cute, he is convincing in every way and it’s a big deal that he wins hearts and minds whilst being upstaged by a cheeky cat. Predictable but never smug, this is the kind of commercial film the British Film Industry should get behind and produce a few more of. True life stories that genuinely inspire.

7.5 out of 10 – A trojan horse of a movie, that smuggles some difficult facts and plot lines into a fcute animal film for families. One of the best mainstream British movies for years.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

 

SPACESHIP

4 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 19th May 2017

Director: Alex Taylor

Cast: Alexa Davies, Antti Reini, Lara Peake, Tallulah Haddon, Lucian Charles Collier, Jack Winthrop, Kristof Gerega, Mackenzie Morrison, Geary Barnes, Seb Barnett with Harry Jarvis and Steven Elder

Writer: Alex Taylor

Trailer: SPACESHIP

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Alexa Davies: X+Y
  • Antti Reini: War of the Dead
  • Lara Peake: Bypass
  • Tallulah Haddon: Modern Life Is Rubbish, Taboo (TV)
  • Harry Jarvis: 2 Hrs
  • Steven Elder: Doctors (TV), Tortoise In Love, Cold and Dark, Coronation Street (TV)

STARFISH

6 out of 10

Release date: 26th October 2016

Director: Bill Clark

cast: Joanne Froggatt, Tom Riley, Michele Dotrice, Ellie Copping, Simon Bamford, David Carr and Phoebe Nicholls

Writer: Bill Clark

Trailer: STARFISH

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I dread watching films like this. Not because I end up a sobbing wreck. It’s just as a film, it’s a troubling medium, the ‘disease-showcase’ movie. Like sports movies they are about human endurance and run along a set path. A good, hardworking person (never a lolly-gagging lazy turd who’s bad to their friends or family) who gets struck down by a life-changing condition. Often these films serve as an education, and can be involving and moving like Still Alice, or crass, terrible and maudlin like The C Word. Starfish ticks just about every box but it’s lightness of touch and a striking central performance from Joanne Froggatt (DOWNTON ABBEY) makes sure that this isn’t written off as an off-key Hallmark Channel hankie-fest.

About Sepsis.

Based on the true story of Tom Ray (TOM RILEY – DA VINCI’S DEMONS) is struck down with sepsis one day. A staggering 1 in 10 people survive an attack, and those that do have to live with horrific injuries including limb-loss. This film tells the story of Tom, his wife Nicola (FROGGATT) and his young family. After surviving an attack, he returns home and the drama tells of how they all struggle and then ultimately cope together with such a horrifying change. The impact on seemingly normal lives is colossal. Tom Riley has the more difficult role – he is in turn depressed, confused, self-loathing, hateful to his loved ones, and a changed man. As the funds run out and their new way of life takes shape you begin to invest more in the situation.

Well made, and well-acted, it does walk a well-worn path and it’s in the quieter moments when this film wins points. When Tom sees the extent of his amputation, and his disfigured face, the filmmakers really send you on that journey of crushing wonderment. There are several positive scenes that recur throughout the film. The titular starfish shows up from time to time to teach our hero to be strong and about the mythical possibility that his limbs could grow back – just like a starfish. A late confrontation bewtween Tom and Nicola also push this ahead of most ‘disease-of-the-week’ TV specials. The actors effortlessly convincing as a married couple on the brink of burn out. The ending is filled with hope, yet there are no miracles. The message isacceptance, and that the sufferer isn’t the only one afflicted when a deadly disease strikes you down out of the blue.

6 out of 10 – Above average ‘Life vs Disease’ film, dealt with sensitively and convincingly. A difficult job considering these films come with a ready made plot. A superior granny special

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Joanne Froggatt: Mary Shelley, Bob The Builder (voice) (TV), A Street Cat Named Bob, Downton Abbey (TV), Still Life, Filth, UWantMe2KillHim?In Our Name, Coronation Street (TV)
  • Tom Riley: Kill Your Friends, Da Vinci’s Demons (TV), I Want Candy
  • Michele Dotrice: Captain Jack, Vanity Fair (1998) (TV), Bramwell (TV), Some Mother’s Do Have ‘Em (TV), The Blood On Satan’s Claw, And Soon The Darkness, Middlemarch (1968) (TV), The Witches (1966)
  • Simon Bamford: Dead of the Nite, Book of Blood, Nightbreed, Hell Raiser 2, Hell Raiser
  • Phoebe Nicholls: Chubby Funny, Transformers 5, Fortitude (TV), Downton Abbey (TV), Shackleton (TV), Fairy Tale, Maurice, The Missionary, Brideshead Revisited (TV), The Elephant Man, Women In Love

SERIAL KALLER

1.5 out of 10

Release date: 1st October 2014 (DVD premiere)

Director: Dan Brownlie (The Tombs)

Cast: Debbie Rochon, Dani Thompson, Suzi Lorraine, Stuart Brennan, Brad Glen,  Jess Impiazzi, Ashleigh Lawrence, Paul Chaplin, Jessica Ann-Brownlie, Suzy Deakin, Brandy Brewer, Adam A Park, Christopher Rithin with Lucinda Rhodes and Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace

Writer: Dan Brownlie

Trailer: SERIAL KALLER

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dafter slasher flick than Serial Kaller. The cast list reads like a Boys Mag fan’s answer to The Expendables. It’s as if the makers just expected the viewers to be so entranced by the boobies, legs, and bums on offer that they wouldn’t notice that the thriller and horror element is really badly ‘executed’ . The gore effects and the music is so cheap and awful and badly put together it’s as if they went in defeated before the script was finished. The girls put in game performances but as there are no stunt-women on hand to do any of the ‘action’ said action scenes are laughably bad and slow of pace. Characters getting murdered, gurn, gurgle and cross their eyes to comedy effect and fall over slowly to make sure the landing doesn’t hurt.

The plot so to speak tells the story of a vengeful little boy who grows up with a hate of call girls, so one night goes to a studio and kills everybody inside. This proceeds over the last hour. Nobody seems to notice about 10 girls go missing (because they are being murdered) until the ending when the cast is whittled down to 3. Stuart Brennan (PLAN Z) turns up as the owner of the company and is the closest we get to a real actor. Poor us. His character is the chief suspect throughout (according to the makers) but you won’t be in any doubt as to who it really is when you see the mystery killer going about their business.

For those looking for titilation, you’ll have to imagine it. I think there’s the start of a sex scene, where the girl can’t tell the difference in taste between blood and semen. OK, maybe I should delete this last bit because this is an assumption… haha.  You also don’t get to see any bare boobs. Sorry guys. So yes, Serial Kaller even fails to deliver as a soft-porn exploitation flick. Instead it’s a dead slow, poorly made, unfunny, unscary, unentertaining gore porn bore. Oh yeah it’s got Aisleyne from Big Brother 1935 in it too! Wow oh wow.

1.5 out of 10 – Sadly, if this is a tribute to 80s video nasties, you’ll still be disappointed as it is instead an unsexy horror flick with no sex, no thrill, and too much lame kill.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

THE SENSE OF AN ENDING

7 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 14th April 2017

Director: Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox)

Cast: Jim Broadbent, Harriett Walter, Michelle Dockery, Emily Mortimer, Billy Howle, Freya Mavor, Joe Alwyn, James Wilby, Edward Holcroft, Peter Wight, Hilton McRae, Jack Loxton, Timothy Innes, Andrew Buckley, Nick Mohammed, Karina Fernandez, Oliver Maltman, David Horovitch with Matthew Goode and Charlotte Rampling

Writer: Julian Barnes / Nick Payne

Trailer: THE SENSE OF AN ENDING

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Jim Broadbent: Black 47, Paddington 2, Bridget Jones 3, Ethel and Ernest (voice), The Legend of Tarzan, Eddie The Eagle, London Spy (TV), War & Peace (TV), Brooklyn, The Lady In a Van, Big Game, Get Santa, Paddington, Postman Pat (voice), The Harry Hill Movie, Closed Circuit, Le Week-EndFilth, Cloud Atlas, The Iron Lady, Another Year, Harry Potter- part 8, Harry Potter- part 6, Arthur Christmas (voice), The Damned United, Young Victoria, Inkheart, Indiana Jones 4, Hot Fuzz, Chronicles Of Narnia- The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, Bridget Jones 2, Vera Drake, Vanity Fair, Bright Young Things, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Gangs Of New York, Iris, Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones, Little Voice, Topsy Turvy, The Avengers, The Borrowers, Smilla’s Feeling For Snow, The Secret Agent, Rough Magic, Richard III (1995), Princess Caraboo, Bullets Over Broadway, Widow’s Peak, The Crying Game, Enchanted April, Life Is Sweet, Erik The Viking, Vroom, Brazil
  • Harriet Walter: Blakc Sails (TV), Call The Midwife (TV), Star Wars – The Force Awakens, Man Up, Suite Francaise, Downton Abbey (TV), The Assets (TV),  The Wedding Video (2012), Morris – A Life With Bells On, Law & Order UK (TV), Cheri, Atonement, Babel, Chromophobia, Onegin, The Governess, Bedrooms & Hallways, Keep The Aspidistra Flying, The Leading Man, The Hour of The Pig, Sense & Sensibility
  • Michelle Dockery: Downton Abbey (TV), Self/Less,  Non-Stop, Anna Karenina (2012), Hanna
  • Emily Mortimer: Mary Poppins Returns, Spectral, Rio I Love You, Hugo, Cars 2 (voice), Shutter Island, Harry Brown, The Pink Panther 2, Redbelt, Lars and the Real Game, Paris Je T’Aime, Match Point, Howl’s Moving Castle (voice), Dear Frankie, Bright Young Things, Young Adam, Formula 51, Lovely & Amazing, The Kid (2000), Love’s Labours Lost, Scream 3, Notting Hill, Elizabeth I, The Last of the High Kings, The Ghost and The Darkness
  • Billy Howle: On Chesil Beach
  • Freya Mavor: Cezanne at Moi, Not Another Happy Ending, Sunshine On Leith, Skins (TV)
  • Joe Alwyn: The Favourite, Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk
  • James Wilby: Breathe, Casualty (TV), ChickLit, Titanic (TV), De-Lovely, Gosford Park, Cotton Mary, Tom’s Midnight Garden, An Ideal Husband, Regeneration, Crocodile Shoes (TV), Lady Chatterley (TV), Immaculate Conception, Howard’s End, A Handful of Dust, Maurice, Privileged
  • Edward Holcroft: Kingsman 2, London Spy (TV), Kingsman – The Secret Service, Wolf Hall (TV), Vampire Academy
  • Peter Wight: Another Mother’s Son, Trespass Against Us, Ethel & Ernest (voice), Kon Tiki, Mr Turner, The Look Of Love, My Week With MarilynHardboiled SweetsGhosted, Best Laid Plans (2012)CloneAnother YearCass, Hot Fuzz, Babel, Flood, Pride & Prejudice (2005), Vera Drake, Shiner, Naked, Mean Time
  • Hilton McRae: Darkest Hour, Denial, The Execution of Gary Glitter, Red Riding (TV), Doctors (TV), The Secret Rapture, Greystoke, Star Wars – Return of the Jedi, The French Lieutenant’s Woman
  • Timothy Innes: Daphne
  • Andrew Buckley: Identicals, The Bunker (2016),  Jimi, Skeletons, Extras (TV)
  • Nick Mohammed: Bridget Jones 3, Absolutely Fabulous – The MovieBenny & Jolene
  • Karina Fernandez: Daphne, Mr TurnerPride (2014), Another Year, Happy Go Lucky
  • Oliver Maltman: The Mercy, Mr Turner, Another Year, Happy Go Lucky
  • David Horovitch: The Chamber (2017), The Infiltrator, Mr Turner, In Your Dreams, Young Victoria, Max, Solomon & Gaenor, Just William (TV)
  • Matthew Goode: Birthmarked, Guernsey, The Hatton Garden Job, Allied, Self/Less, Pressure, The Imitation Game, Belle, Stoker, Cemetery Junction, Watchmen, A Single Man, Leap Year, Brideshead Revisted, Imagine Me & You, Match Point
  • Charlotte Rampling: Assassin’s Creed, The Forbidden Room, 45 Years, Broadchurch (TV), London Spy (TV), Dexter (TV), Night Train To Lisbon, The Sea, Nymphomaniac, Eye of the Storm, The Invisible Woman, I, AnnaCleanskin, elancholia, Never Let Me Go, Streetdance, The Duchess, Babylon AD, Basic Instinct 2, Swimming Pool, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, Spy Game, Under The Sand, The Wings Of The Dove, Paris By Night, DOA (1987), Angel Heart, Max Mon Amour, The Verdict, Stardust Memories, Orca, Sherlock Holmes in New York (TV), Jackpot, Farewell My Lovely, Caravan to Vaccares, The Night Porter, Zardoz, Henry VIII and His Six Wives, Vanishing Point, Asylum, The Damned, Georgy Girl

 

 

SING STREET

7 out of 10

This is an Irish film

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 20th June 2016

Director: John Carney (Begin Again / Once)

Cast: Ferdia Peelo-Walsh, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Mark McKenna, Ian Kenny, Ben Carolan, Don Wycherley, Percy Chamburuka, Conor Hamilton, Karl Rice, Kelly Thornton with Aiden Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy

Writer: John Carney

Trailer: SING STREET

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Ferdia Peelo-Walsh: Vikings (TV)
  • Lucy Boynton: Don’t Knock Twice, Miss Potter
  • Jack Reynor: Detroit, Free Fire, Glassland, A Royal Night Out, Transformers 4, Delivery Man, What Richard Did
  • Aiden Gillen: Pickups, King Arthur – Legend of the Sword, You’re Ugly Too, Maze Runner 2, Game Of Thrones (TV),  Still, Calvary, Mister JohnShadow DancerTreacle Jr, The Dark Knight Rises, BlitzWake Wood, Twelve Rounds, The Wire (TV), Shanghai Knights, The Low Down, Queer As Folk (TV), My Kingdom, Some Mother’s Son, Mojo, Circle Of Friends
  • Maria Doyle-Kennedy: The Conjuring 2, Jupiter Ascending, Byzantium, Titanic (TV), Albert Nobbs, The Tudors (TV), Miss Julie (2000), Gregory’s Two Girls, The General (1998), A Further Gesture, Moll Flanders (1996), Nothing Personal, The Commitments