UNMADE BEDS

6 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 11th December 2009

Director: Alexis dos Santos

Cast: Deborah Francois, Fernando Tielve, Michiel Huismann, Iddo Goldberg, Katia Winter, Alexis dos Santos, Al Weaver, Lucy Tillett, Tim Plester and Richard Lintern

Writer: Alexis dos Santos

Trailer: UNMADE BEDS

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Deborah Francois: Populaire, The Monk, The Page Turner, L’Enfant
  • Fernanado Tielve: Fernando’s Ghost, The Devil’s Backbone
  • Michiel Huismann: Game of Thrones (TV), The Age of Adeline, Wild, Treme (TV), World War Z, Black Book
  • Iddo Goldberg: The Last Passenger, Peaky Blinders (TV), The Tournament, Secret Diary Of a Call Girl (TV), Defiance
  • Katia Winter: 1066, LVJ, Knight of Cups, Everywhere + Nowhere, Sleepy Hollow (TV), Dexter (TV)
  • Al Weaver: The Last Photograph, Consider Yourself, We Are Tourists, Kill Your Friends, Honeymooner, Powder (2011)
  • Tim Plester: Bone In The Threat, Captain Webb, Love Me Till Monday, Cuban Fury, Magicians, Control
  • Richard Lintern: Heartbeat (TV), The House of Elliott (TV)

UNHALLOWED GROUND

2.5 out of 10

Release Date: 12th June 2015

Director: Russell England

Cast: Ameet Chana, Poppy Drayton, Thomas Law, Marcus Griffiths, Morgane Polanski, Rachel Petladwala, Paul Raschid, Andrew Lewis and Will Thorp

Writer: Paul Raschid

Trailer: UNHALLOWED GROUND

Unhallowed-Ground-PosterSomebody’s been overdosing on Scooby Doo! Out of all the haunted house movies I’ve ever seen this is the one that resembles the plot template to every single episode of the popular ghost busting cartoon dog show.  The only thing missing was a dog. Well, the dog is the finished movie really.

The makers left suspense at home on this occasion and thought that they could swap the usual band of frightened team of self-loathers with a bunch of posh school kids playing at soldiers on their last night at boarding school.  Said poshos get given this task 350 years to the day that four head boys where ritualistically murdered during the days of the bubonic plague. Uncanny shadows with glowing eyes turn up in unexpected places whilst the kids carry on oblivously working out their place in the world and amongst their peers. Meanwhile, a pair of really thick cat burglars (AMEET CHANA and WILL THORP) turn up to raid the school archive to steal some first editions books. So our plummy Famous 5 (or 6 in this case) split up and look for clues as to what’s making noises, duffing up the Asian characters and throwing spiders into shower cublicles. I think “Lets split up!” is one of the main bits of dialogue. Even with the added peril of having a human threat (the burglars) as well as the ghosts, the scare level is dialled down to around 1 out of 10. It seems to take an age for the ghostly spirits to attack anybody.

The acting is reasonable by the whole of the cast, yet the script and story is so clunky that any potential it does have leaks away before the mystery is solved. The unmasking of the non-supernatural killers is very Scooby Doo. I think the baddie even says “I would’ve gotten away with it if wasn’t for you…blah, blah…”

The setting is fairly creepy but the whole film is bloodless and fairly boring for a horror. The only fairly well-known actor is Ameet Chana (WILD WEST) who was in Eastenders for a long time. Subsequently, he hogs top billing but he’s not the main character and he seems to be fairly relieved when it’s his turn to go home.

The DVD box gets a mention for being the most misleading cover ever. It has an American style ranch house on the front, not a boarding school (ala Stow) (not the picture included above). The written description also describes the plot to an altogether different film which sounds no better than the effort enclosed. It’s like the synopsis was written long before the film got finished and the wrong word.doc got sent to the PR / Copywriters. It talks about a haunted derelict house on the moors where a group of friends take shelter for the night? The mind boggles.

2.5 out of 10 – All potential is lost by a lack of pace and fear. There’s nothing new to report in this flat exercise in how to make a horror with zero number of scares. Well acted but slight and ultimately botched.

Read below for second review.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Ameet Chana: Cash and Curry, Eastenders (TV), The Story of F*ck, Bend It Like Beckham, Wild West
  • Poppy Drayton: Down Dog
  • Thomas Law: Eastenders (TV)
  • Rachel Petladwala: MI High (TV)
  • Andrew Lewis: Holby City (TV)
  • Will Thorp: Coronation Street (TV), Dr Who (TV), Casualty (TV)

UNITED WE FALL

3 out of 10

Release Date: 26th January 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Gary Sinyor (In Your Dreams / The Bachelor / Stiff Upper Lips / Solitaire For 2 / Leon The Pig Farmer)

Cast: Jack Donnelly, Jonathan Broke, Ryan Pope, James Rastall, Matthew Avery, Robert Portal, Dana Haqjoo and Anouska Mond

Writer: Gary Sinyor

Trailer: UNITED WE FALL

Review by Matt Usher below

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

UNDER THE SKIN (2014)

7.5 out of 10

Release Date: 14th March 2014

Director: Jonathan Glazer (Birth / Sexy Beast)

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Michael Moreland, Scott Dymond, Joe Szula, Krystof Hadek and Paul Brannigan

Writer: Walter Campbell / Michel Faber

Trailer: UNDER THE SKIN

REVIEW COMING SOON

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Scarlett Johansson: Avengers Assemble 2, Lucy (2014), Chef, Captain America 2, Her (voice), Don Jon, Hitchcock, Avengers Assemble, We Bought a Zoo, Iron Man 2, He’s Just Not That Into You, The Spirit, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Nanny Diaries, The Prestige, Black Dahlia, Scoop, The Island (2005), Match Point, In Good Company, A Good Woman, The Perfect Score, Girl With The Pearl Earring, Lost In Translation, Eight Legged Freaks, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Ghost World, Home Alone 3, The Horse Whisperer, North
  • Joe Szula: Neds
  • Paul Brannigan: Scottish Mussel, Beyond, Sunshine On Leith, The Angel’s Share

UNDERGROUND (2008)

3.5 out of 10

Release Date: 18th May 2009 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Chee Keong Cheung (Bodyguard- A New Beginning)

Cast: Mark Strange, Fidel Nanton, Leonard Fenton, Nathan Lewis, Joey Ansah, Zara Phythian, Dave Wong, Sophie Linfield, Leon Sua, Liang Yang, Glenn Salvage, Beau Fowler, Shane Steyn, William Mickleburgh, Scott Houston, Chris Smith with Gordon Alexander, Gary Webster and Danny John-Jules

Writer: Chee Keong Cheung

Trailer: UNDERGROUND

images-1Underground gets one thing right, excellent fight choreography. And that’s exactly why this film exists, it’s a fight film. Fans of mixed martial arts will have the fights on rewind and the talking on fast forward. This is your standard Bloodsport retread, twelve cardboard cutouts battle for a cash prize whilst a cartel adjudicate and raise the stakes for some very rich business men who are watching remotely. Obviously, only one of the 12 will be going home with the money – several of which are professional fighters but some are there because they are desperate for the money to get them out of deep hole (zzzz what were you saying? There’s a plot?).

A film of two halves, all the heavy stunt work is done downstairs on the shop floor and all the acting is done upstairs in the office. Neither world troubles the other one until nearer the end. So whilst the 12 stuntmen- cum part time actors duke it out for first place, the real actors bitch and posture trying to out deal each other by pitting their best fighter against another rich opponent’s fighter. It’s a loaded dice as each rich guy is given two fighters at the beginning, so if they have a weak guy that’s set in stone – ill thought out rules. But hey, not my money. Amongst the business men are TV stalwarts Gary Webster (MINDER), Danny John-Jules (RED DWARF) and for all those wondering where Dr. Legg was all those weeks between his appearances in Eastenders, Leonard Fenton (THE ZOMBIE DIARIES) and they do the only lifting required in the acting department (stunt work equivalent for the lunks downstairs). Downstairs the only two with real acting credentials are the wooden Zara Phythian (HE WHO DARES) and the slightly more talented Joey Ansah (GREEN STREET 3) but neither of them get to be the hero (SPOILER!). No the hero is stuntman Mark Strange who plays The Homeless. I almost forgot, to make the cardboard characters extra stiff, none of them have names: instead we get The Model, The Teacher, The Priest, The Foreigner etc. Very boring. Not much seems to be at stake for any of them apart from getting their asses beat, most of the  characters get to go home with a ‘blankety blank cheque book and pen’ too. The reason for a movie like this is that usually the tournament that is centre to the tale is usually a stand out bout in which characters buck the trend or wreck proceedings for future years, but in  Underground it seems like they picked a ‘filler’ year. There’s one winner and eleven losers – wow! It just seems to be business as usual.  There might be a sequel but the stakes are too low for this to engage to invest in any of the fighters. The closest thing we get to a protagonist is Leonard Fenton and later Mark Strange (who also produces – surprise surprise!) once the field thins out – maybe it’s being experimental. A flick with no characters. The whole film has a remarkably stripped down feel, it wishes it was sleek but that will come with larger budgets.

The filmmakers certainly know how to shoot a fight and cast talented fighters. To say it’s for people with low attention spans is an insult to the work that’s gone into framing these wonderful fight scenes, so fans of fighting could do a lot worse than tune in. But like I said, fast forward the slim traces of story line just like you would if you were watching a porno – in fact Underground is the absolute polar opposite of an art house movie. Red Dwarf fans get in line for a good Danny John Jules role too. He has much fun as the closest this film has to an antagonist. It’s weird how this is the only film I’ve ever rated him in!

3.5 out of 10 – Action fans only. This is a pure action film almost to the point of pushing the need for individual characters out of the film completely. Stunning fight work save this bargain basement tribute to Bloodsport or Kick Boxer from being a total loss but it’s not for everybody! But then nor is Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Second review below by Matt CRUSHER Usher 

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT MEATHEAD IN BEFORE?

UNARMED AND DANGEROUS

1 out of 10

Release Date: 28th September 2009 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Xavier Leret 

Cast: Mat Fraser, Frank Harper, Helen Watkins, Faye Tozer, Dan Poole, Adam Saint, Forbes KB, Beau Baptist with Ewan Ross and Terry Stone

Writer: Xavier Leret

Trailer: UNARMED AND DANGEROUS

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Just like Dr. Dre publicly refusing to admit his involvement in the World Class Wreckin’ Cru’ before he joined NWA, pretty much everybody involved in, produced Jonathan Sothcott included,  Unarmed and Dangerous probably goes into a similarly embarrassed frenzy of denial whenever this film’s brought up. But here it is. Previously entitled Kung Fu Flid the movie is still widely available from all the usual sales portals to haunt everybody that thought they had shook this abortion off. Unarmed and Dangerous is a horrendous comedy bypass  that ends up sat on the top of ‘bad taste’ mountain and you’ll never see a bigger divide between what an audience wants and what a filmmaker/entertainer thinks you want. The only thing Unarmed and Dangerous has going for it was the idea to change the original title into something anonymous and generic – that way it may get missed amongst all the Jeff Wincott and Thomas Ian Griffith actioners the title reminds me of (or worse – picked up by accident!) Even its attempts at being a tribute to Blacksploitation movies of the late 60s and 70s are weak and may even be incidental.

Polymath Mat Fraser (INBRED) has turned his talents to acting, music, stand up comedy, public speaker and dance. He’s a beacon of ‘can-do’ for disabled people having excelled in many fields. Born with no lower arms and limited use of his hands he has carved a niche as an important spokesman for the disabled minority in the UK. Fraser himself describes Unarmed and Dangerous as a ‘criptsploitation’ movie and I’d be inclined to agree that this is an accurate description of what could be a legit genre – however this film is so bad, there’s no sign of wit, good writing, good performances or any reason to watch this.  Being a genre first doesn’t earn it enough good will. Mat Fraser is a good actor but despite all his misguided attempts to give a committed performance, he’s defeated by the sheer lack of quality across the board.

The plot is a simple revenge – seek and destroy plot – where Jimmy Loveit (MAT FRASER) faces off against Mr Big (FRANK HARPER – VICTIM) who kidnaps his daughter and wife after breaking into the wrong house. Also Mr Big’s son gets his balls shot off by Jimmy. So a balancing of the scales is needed.  Jimmy Loveit is not afraid as he is a kick-boxing menace with his own Rocky-style trainer (TERRY STONE – GET LUCKY). Will he beat the clock and save his family?

Several good action set pieces are ruined by bad choreography and terrible editing ensuring that any chances of this shit getting redeemed by some cool fights are quickly nixed. The tone is uneven as well. One moment we’re enduring a very, very long and unflinching torture scene  featuring some very slow and painful deaths then we’re watching a comedy death in which  a character gets acid tipped on their head  and melts cartoon style.  Elsewhere Mat Fraser is doing Tyrannosaurus Rex impressions half way through what seems to be a David Lynch tribute act – the next somebody is having their bullet holes probed with dirty fingers?  The whole thing  is a mess. And it should rightfully be buried beneath a mile of the stinkiest manure and landfill.  Un-PC issues in comedy need to be tackled by people with an ear for humour, intelligence and an ability to write good dialogue, and although everybody that was involved in this movie was in on the joke (what joke?), it ends up being an alienating and embarrassing, mess best avoided by your man on the street. Unarmed and Dangerous reeks of a private joke that should never have been shown to the public at large. Mat Fraser and co should have abandoned this at the post pub revelation stage. I’m not offended by a film calling itself ‘criptsploitation’, I’m just  put out by filmmakers thinking that this could ever have been a good idea in the first place.

1 out of 10 – A cheap and horrible attempt to launch Mat Fraser as an action star, but it falls into a lack-lustre bad taste comedy one minute and a blood soaked shocker the next.  Lumbering, slow, tired and a career worst for most people involved. When a movie is livened up by movie rent-a-plank, Ewan Ross (FALL OF THE ESSEX BOYS) you know you’ve got problems. Movie cholera. Avoid. A big UN-Thank you to everybody who made this.

Another terrible review below by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

UNDER THE MUD

3 out of 10

Release date: 9th February 2007 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Sol Papadopoulos

Cast: Andrew Schofield, Lenny Wood, Lisa Parry, Kate Fitzgerald, Lauren Steele, Dave Hart, Laura Hoey, Mick Colligan and James McMartin

Writers: Sophia Barlow, David Catterall, Mick Colligan, Howard Davies, David Dearden, Dave Hart, Ged Hunter, Graham Mullen, Leah Pritchard, Ana Ribiro, Natalie Southern, Toni-Ann Stevenson, Tanya Taylor, Lenny Wood

Trailer: UNDER THE MUD

images

TO BE PROOFREAD: The producers of Under The Mud teamed up with the young people of Garston, Liverpool to make this community led project. Such a noble quest to give the public at large a chance to exercise their talents – so it’s a shame to report that Under The Mud is little more than a scrappy jape. It’s not a serious film and it pretty much highlights the main differences between what a ‘real’ film is and what an am-dram community effort is. I’m not being disparaging about community projects, just about everybody I know has been involved at some stage and they are fine hobbies. A select few will have the opportunity to push beyond the barriers of the neighbourhood into the industry and these types of projects are were tomorrow’s stars discover and hone their talents. As not everybody can afford to get an endorsed education at RADA or LAMDA, this is the closest many will get. Under the Mud is directed by Sol Papadopoulos who is an estblished Liverpool producer having rescued Terence Davies from obscurity by producing the amazing documentary / love poem Of Time and The City. The man knows quality – so why he’s soft pedalled the need to demonstrate his familiarity with such fare is a mystery. My guess is that he’s given free reign to his actors and his team of about 20 young writers.

Under The Mud tells the story of the Potts family led by the unmarried Dad (ANDREW SCHOFIELD – LIAM) and Mum (LISA PARRY – DEAD MAN’S CARD). There are about five kids (I lost count) and Magic (LENNY WOOD), a orphan taken in by the family. The story is told by Magic about the day of the youngest child Olivia’s Holy Communion. At the evening celebrations, an old family foe One Dig (JAMES McMARTIN – DANCIN’ THRU THE DARK) turns up to settle some old scores after years in jail. It turns out he also owns the social club where the party is being held, Magic loves Paula (LAUREN STEELE) with the invisible friend and a baby to local prick superstar DJ Worm (MICK COLLIGAN), the car obsessed younger son steals One Dig’s car, Mum and Dad break up big time and so on…

Under The Mud is certainly packed with event but it’s the dialogue and some of the unsure performances that let the side down. Some terrible sound (and no subtitles to aid this) also compounded the problem. The story goes for quirky but just comes across as flat. The usual verve and quick witted humour usually associated with Liverpudlian comedies is largely absent. Earlier this year (2013), Spike Island briefly brought back the ghost of Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale in the exchanges between the Mancs and the Scousers and it was very funny. There’s not a lot to laugh at in Under The Mud as it’s largely cliched and charmless. A handful of the lead actors have been haunting Liverpool film and TV for decades and have been way better in most cases. It’s not the worst film I’ve seen from Merseyside – that could be Dead Man’s Cards (off the top of my head) but it’s nowhere near the best.

3 out of 10 -The intentions were good but this will test the patients of anyone, most of all scousers. Only highly charitable liberals will put the initiative and project ahead of the quality of the actual film. Its a shame the finished product didn’t live up to the hype or the commitment. I wish the makers had thought to be stricter on the quality control when making this tepid re-run of Shameless. It’s got the verve of Bula Quo! and less  wit of one of Ken Dodd‘s socks.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Andrew Schofield: Dead Man’s Cards, Revengers Tragedy, Liam, GBH (TV), Distant Voices Still Lives, Sid and Nancy, No Surrender, Scully (TV)
  • Lisa Parry: Dead Man’s Cards
  • Kate Fitzgerald: The Bill (TV), Brookside (TV)
  • James McMartin: Dead Man’s Cards, Revenger’s Tragedy, My Kingdom, Going Off Big Time, Dancin’ Thru The Dark