THE RIZEN

5.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 19th June 2017 (DVD premiere)

Director: Matt Mitchell (Rizen 2)
Cast: Laura Swift, Patrick Knowles, Christopher Tajah, Tom Goodman-Hill, Laurence Kennedy and Lee Latchford-Evans with Julian Rhind-Tutt, Sally Phillips, Stephen Marcus, with Bruce Payne and Adrian Edmondson

Writer: Matt Mitchell

Trailer: THE RIZEN

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

EAT LOCAL

2.5 out of 10

Release date: TBC (UK)

Director: Jason Flemyng

Cast: Billy Cook, Eve Myles, Charlie Cox, Mackenzie Crook, Tony Curran, Freema Agyeman, Robert Portal, Annette Crosbie, Ruth Jones, Johnny Palmiero, Lukaz Leong, Jordan Long, Alistair Petrie, Nicholas Rowe, Nick Moran with Dexter Fletcher and Vincent Regan

Writer: Danny King

Trailer: EAT LOCAL

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Whilst this isn’t the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels reunion you’d hoped for – two leads behind, and two leads in front of the camera, Eat Local still has a knockabout sense of fun. However, little of the juice translates to the finished product, with virtually all of the decent gags spunking off in the trailer. Actor-turned-have-a-go-director Jason Flemyng (THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON) turns in this remix of Dog Soldiers (werewolves vs squaddies is swapped for squaddies vs vampires), only he’s ended up with a remake of Lesbian Vampire Killers, the Un-DOA horror-comedy vehicle for James Corden and Matthew Vaughn.

A coven of vampires meet for an AGM in a serial-killer’s cottage (DEXTER FLETCHER –  CARAVAGGIO), only to find out that they are being watched very closely by the British Army led by Robert Portal (STIFF UPPER LIPS) and Mackenzie Crook (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN). Throw into the mix a pure-breed cockney gangster/gypsy who, unbenownst to him, is being lined up as a new vampire lord. He is about to get turned when the army burst in and the bullets, and stakes begin to fly.

I wish I could say there’s fun to be had for the viewer, but Billy Cook is no Danny Dyer, so casting your mind back to the similar Doghouse, and the  horror Severance, the former just doesn’t cut it in the comedy stakes. Laugh out loud moments are very rare, especially if you’ve seen the trailer, and there are no memorable scenes to make this stand out in any way. Stalwarts like Vincent Regan (LOCK OUT) and Annette Crosbie (MONARCH OF THE GLEN) look like they are having a good time, but like the rest of the variable cast they are wasted.

Eat Local plays like a squandered opportunity.  Competently made, it still gets by on a wing and prayer. Of the four leads from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, for some the quintessential Brit-gangster caper comedy, Dexter Fletcher is the most visible, in a supporting role as a murderous farmer, Jason Flemyng directs, Nick Moran (LONDON HEIST) is one of the soldiers (for a walk-on) and Jason Statham remains off-screen but did the fight choreography for the one martial arts scene – which is fairly good to be charitable. Oh and fifth cast member Nicholas Rowe (YOUNG SHERLOCK) was also in Lock Stock too. It’s a small bit of trivia thats unlikely to impress that many people.

Eat Local does very little to distinguish itself, except that Flemyng has drew in a super cast, full of British film and TV faves. The trouble is that all that good will has come to nothing and its really sad to have felt my interest in the film on the wain really early on. It’s a good idea and a tight scenario, it’s just a shame that the writers forgot to write any good jokes as this is as funny as Zero Dark Thirty and the Hurt Locker put together.

It’s also part produced by the gruesome twosome of Jonathan Sothcott and Neil Jones – the former is an inconsistent force in low-budget filmmaking in the UK, with a hit rate of 1.5 movies in 5. Neil Jones is a sloppy film director who would be better off directing traffic.  As for Flemyng as director, you’d have thought his BFF, Dexter Fletcher (who also directs), would have given him some tips on how to make a great film.

2.5 out of 10 – A flat movie experience, which was probably a hoot to make. Flemyng has a lot of friends in high places and draws and awesome cast but then forgets to return the favour by gifting them worthwhile roles. Fangs a lot, Jase.

 

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

 

MY NAME IS LENNY

3.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 12th June 2017 (DVD premiere)

Director: Ron Scalpello (Pressure / Offender)

Cast: Josh Helman, Chanel Cresswell, Nick Moran, Charley Palmer-Rothwell, Jennifer Brooke, Michael Bisping, George Russo, Frankie Oatway, Nicola Duffett with John Hurt, Martin Askew and Rita Tushingham

Writer: Paul Van Carter & Martin Askew

Trailer: MY NAME IS LENNY

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Josh Helman: Wayward Pines (TV), X Men 6, Mad Max 4, X Men 5, Jack Reacher, Animal Kingdom, Home and Away (TV)
  • Chanel Cresswell: Trollied (TV), The Aliens (TV), This Is England 90 (TV), Bypass, This Is England 88 (TV), This Is England 86 (TV), This Is England
  • Nick Moran: Accident Man, The Habit of Beauty, Eat Local, Terminal, London Heist, Don’t Knock TwiceAge of Kill, Down Dog, Death (2014)St George’s DayThe Kid (2010) (dir), Goal 3, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Pt 1 & 2, Telstar (dir), The Baby Juice Express, Puritan, The Musketeer, Another Life, Rancid Aluminium, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  • Charley Palmer-Rothwell: iBoy, Legend (2015), The Guvnors, It’s a Lot
  • Jennifer Brooke: Hollyoaks (TV)
  • Michael Bisping: Triple Threat, xXx 3, The Anomaly, Plastic, Hollyoaks Later (TV), Beatdown
  • George Russo: London Heist, Bonded By Blood 2, Top Dog, I Am Soldier, Green Street 3Turnout, Zebra Crossing, Tony
  • Nicola Duffett: Gangsters Gamblers and Geezers, Family Affairs (TV), Shooting Fish, Eastenders (TV), Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Howard’s End
  • John Hurt: That Good Night, Damascus Cover, The Journey, Jackie, ChickLit, Snowpiercer, Hercules (2014), Only Lovers Left Alive, Doctor Who – Day of the Doctor, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,  Immortals (2011), Brighton Rock (2011),  Harry Potter 1,7 & 8, Melancholia,  New York I Love You, 44 Inch Chest, The Limits Of Control, V For Vendetta, Hellboy 1 & 2, Outlander, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Perfume, The Oxford Murders, The Skeleton Key, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,  The Proposition, Lost Souls, Contact, Night Train, You’re Dead, All The Little Animals, Love and Death On Long Island, WIld Bill (1995), Dead Man, Rob Roy, Second Best, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, Monolith, King Ralph, The Field, Scandal, White Mischief, Heaven’s Gate, The Elephant Man, 1984, Watership Down (voice), Midnight Express, Alien, The Naked Civil Servant, 10 Rillington Place, Little Malcolm
  • Martin Askew: Snow In Paradise
  • Rita Tushingham: The Wee Man, Outside Bet, Swing (1999), Under The Skin, The Boy From Mercury, An Awfully Big Adventure, Resurrected, Bread (TV), The Leather Boys

HOUSE OF EVIL

4 out of 10

UK / Italy co-production

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 29th May 2017 (DVD premiere)

Director: Luca Boni & Marco Ristori (Reich of the Dead aka Zombie Massacre 2)

Cast: Lucy Drive, Andrew Harwood-Mills, Desiree Giorgetti and David White

Writer: Raffaele Picchio & Lorenzo Paviano

Trailer: HOUSE OF EVIL

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

DON’T HANG UP

4 out of 10

Release date: 12th June 2017 (DVD premiere)

Director: Damien Mace & Alexis Wajsbrot

Cast: Gregg Sulkin, Garrett Clayton, Bella Dayne, Philip Desmeules (voice), Jack Brett Anderson, with Parker Sawyers and Sienna Guillory

Writer: Joe Johnson

Trailer: DON’T HANG UP

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Competent thriller which splices Saw and Scream together. Trouble is our heroes are despicable throwaways who pretty much deserve everything that comes there way, depending on how ‘old testament’ your views are.

Gregg Sulkin’s  (FAKING IT) Sam and Garrett Clayton’s (TEEN BEACH) Brady are the ring leaders of a YouTube channel phone pranking gang. Brady is the heartless asshat without a conscience who is quite obviously addicted to the kicks he gets out of phoning and winding up complete strangers. Sam has more of a moral compass, his girlfriend (BELLA DAYNE – HUMANS) is on the verge of dumping him for his involvement, except she’s little better.  One day the chickens come home to roost when they find themselves under siege from a vengeful caller who seems to hold all the cards – who is he/she? And what happens if they disobey his command, “Don’t Hang Up!”

If you’ve never seen this kind of film, you may well be able to predict some of its twists and turns, so derivative of better films is it. However, the tension levels are present and correct and the performance flawless. It’s definitely watchable and a good time passer. The mixture of British and German actors and actresses do well with their American accents, yet you can still tell it’s a British production down to the production values, the set and single locations. Sienna Guillory (FORTITUDE) turns up for a a brief cameo too give the film an ounce of pedigree, in a role as the pranksters first onscreen ‘victim’. Elsewhere the lead duo, do a good job of selling their utterly odious ‘heroes’. It’s quite rare to cheer on the evil villain, who unnerves with a Kevin Spacey-like phone demeanour and a very creepy mask. The lead duo walk into so many traps that you’d think lads like this would have seen in famous films, but no, these guys aren’t the cast of Scream, and there’s no sense of meta. The high-stakes game runs out of steam by the end, and the ending doesn’t quite come off – but in the main this was a diverting 90 minutes designed as a late night throwaway on a film channel.

4 out of 10 – You’ll be rooting for the bad guy in this tidy, yet predictable quickie that borrow large dollops of inspiration from Saw, Scream and When a Stranger Calls. A solid time passer.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Gregg Sulkin: Anti-Social, Faking It (TV). Sixty Six
  • Garrett Clayton: Teen Beach 2, Teen Beach
  • Bella Dayne: Humans (TV), Plebs (TV)
  • Jack Brett Anderson: Wolfblood (TV), House of Salem
  • Parker Sawyers: Southside With You, The Calling, Monsters 2
  • Sienna Guillory: Abduct, Fortitude (TV), Lucky Man (TV), High-RiseThe Goob, Luther (TV), Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 4, Inkheart, Eragon, Resident Evil 3, Love Actually, The Principles of Lust, The Time Machine (2002), Late Night Shopping, Sorted

 

ABDUCT

0.5 out of 10

Release date: 1st May 2017 (DVD premiere)

Director: Ilyas Kaduji (Anamorphosis)

Cast: Mark Arnold, Mhairi Calvey, William B Davis, Petra Bryant, Andrei Claude,  Franco Flammia, Buffy Davis and Art Bell with Jack O’Halloran and Sienna Guillory

Writer: Philip Daay & Ilya Kaduji

Trailer: ABDUCT

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Quite easily one of the most amateurish, worst and unfinished cheapos I’ve ever seen. This gives king of z-grade trash movies, Steve M Smith a run for his money and lessons in how to make absolutely terrible sci-fis. How the filmmakers (I use that word tentatively) rounded up this number of professional actors and Petra Bryant (THE LAST SCOUT) is a true mystery.  This barely coherent leaking bag of toxic and runny dog shit involves a girl (MHAIRI CALVEY) who has been on the run from aliens and the government all her life? She stumbles into the lives of conspiracy theorist and radio station shock jock, Ridley (MARK ARNOLD – TRANCERS 4) and his farm landlord (WILLIAM B DAVIS – THE X-FILES). They come under siege when the aliens led by Superman veteran Jack O’Halloran as a Man in Black called Alistair turns up and doesn’t do a lot. He does try to lure her out of the kitchen with a funny voice though… Hmmm. Sienna Guillory (DON’T HANG UP) shows up in a weird cameo as if she’s playing dress up in her child’s panto. Everybody is just awful, the fake American accents are some of the worst you’ll ever hear and the special effects are z-grade. You’ll never have seen CGI this soupy in the history of cinema, even if you go back to the 1970s… Ed Wood jr has competition for Plan 9 From Outer Space. There’s nothing to recommend here, even the actors look embarrassed to be caught on film. Witness William B Davis’ in-joke about X-Files and cringe. Witness Petra Bryant succumbing to Russian brain reprogramming ala the Manchurian Candidate. Witness people get shot and recover instantly (and they aren’t the aliens – just victims of bad storytelling). This gives Invasion Earth by Steven M Smith a really good rival in a race to bottom of worst low-budget horror films ever made.

0.5 out of 10 – Avoid at all costs. The cast may draw you in with curiosity but for the most part it’s littered with ludicrous cameos, badly directed scenes, non-acting, over-acting, nonsensical plots. Alien’s really are here. They made this film.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Mark Arnold: Anamorphosis, Trancers 5, Trancers 4, Threesome, Teen Wolf, The Edge of Night (TV)
  • William B Davis: The X-Files (TV), The Tall Man, Passengers (2008), Smallville (TV), Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, The X Files Movie, Unforgettable (1996), Beyond The Stars
  • Petra Bryant: Nightmare on 34th Street,  The Last Scout, The Disappearance of Lenka Wood, Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3
  • Buffy Davis: The Night Manager (TV), The Archers (radio), Doc Martin (TV), Until Death, The Machinist
  • Jack O’Halloran: The Flintstones, Dragnet, Superman II, Superman, King Kong (1976)
  • Sienna Guillory: Don’t Hang Up, Fortitude (TV), Lucky Man (TV), High-RiseThe Goob, Luther (TV), Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 4, Inkheart, Eragon, Resident Evil 3, Love Actually, The Principles of Lust, The Time Machine (2002), Late Night Shopping, Sorted

AWAY

6.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 12th May 2017 (DVD premiere)

Director: David Blair (The Messenger (2016) / Best Laid Plans (2012))

Cast: Timothy Spall, Juno Temple, Matt Ryan, Hayley Squires, Joanna Roth, Reece Noi, Tony Pitts with Terry Stone and Susan Lynch

Writer: Roger Hadfield

Trailer: AWAY

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Timothy Spall: Early Man (voice), The Journey, Denial, Alice In Wonderland 2 (voice), Mr TurnerThe Love PunchThe RiseLove BiteComes a Bright Day, Ginger and RosaThe King’s Speech, Harry Potter – parts 3 – 8, Wake Wood, Reuniting The Rubins, Heartless,  Alice In Wonderland (2011) (voice), Apaloosa, The Damned Utd, Sweeney Todd, Pierrepoint, Lemony Snickets Series of Unfortunate Events, The Last Samurai, Nicholas Nickleby (2002),  All Or Nothing, Vanilla Sky, Rock Star, Lucky Break, Chicken Run (voice), Loves Labours Lost,  Topsy Turvy, Still Crazy, Wisdom Of Crocodiles, Hamlet (1996), Secrets & Lies, Life Is Sweet, The Sheltering Sky, White Hunter Black Heart, To Kill a Priest, The Missionary, Auf Wierdesen Pet (TV), Quadrophenia
  • Juno Temple: Vinyl (TV), Black Mass, Far From The Madding Crowd (2015), Sin City 2, Maleficent, Horns, Lovelace, The Dark Knight Rises, Small Apartments, Killer Joe, The Three Musketeers (2011), Kaboom, Greenberg, St Trinians 2, Glorious 39, Mr Nobody, Cracks, Year One, Wild Child, The Other Boleyn Girl, St Trinians (2007), Atonement, Notes On a Scandal
  • Matt Ryan: Constantine (TV)
  • Hayley Squires: Giantland, I Daniel Blake, Blood Cells
  • Reece Noi: K-Shop, Game of Thrones (TV), Waterloo Road (TV), Emmerdale (TV), Doctors (TV), Grange Hill (TV), The Virgin of Liverpool, My Kingdom
  • Tony Pitts: Journeyman, Line of Duty (TV), Star Wars – Rogue One, Peaky Blinders (TV), Hyena
  • Terry Stone: We Still Steal The Old Way, Once Upon a Time In London, Rise of the Footsoldier 3, Fanged Up, Bonded By Blood 2, Plastic, Get LuckyOutside BetAnuvahood,  The HoldingBonded By BloodShankTen Dead MenJack SaidDoghouseUnarmed and DangerousRise Of The Foot SoldierRollin’ With The Nines, Hell To Pay
  • Susan Lynch: The Secret Scripture, The Scouting Book For Boys, City Rats, Someone Else, Holy Waters, Enduring Love, 16 Years Of Alcohol, Nora,Waking Ned, From Hell, Elizabeth I – The Golden Age, Beautiful Creatures, Downtime, The Secret Of Roan Inish