Monday, 3 October 2022

COMPETITION: WIN MORTAL KOMBAT LEGENDS: SNOW BLIND ON BLU-RAY™


MORTAL KOMBAT LEGENDS: SNOW BLIND IS AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY™ 
ON 10th OCTOBER 2022 AND DIGITAL DOWNLOAD ON 11th OCTOBER 2022
 
To celebrate its release, we're giving lucky winners a copy of Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind on Blu-Ray™!

Inspired by the worldwide video game sensation now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind finds vicious, power-mad Kano determined to take over Earthrealm, one soul at a time. Assisted by a trio of cold Black Dragon mercenaries, he embarks on a brutal assault from town to defenseless town. The choice is simple: Kneel or be annihilated. But when the cocky and talented but undisciplined Kenshi doesn’t take a knee, Kano and his clan destroy the young warrior, taking his eyesight and his confidence. Under the tutelage of reluctant, retired Kuai Liang, the only one powerful enough to challenge the malevolent Kano, Kenshi finds renewed hope and a clear path to redemption. But will it be enough to stop Kano from decimating all of Earthrealm?

Manny Jacinto (Top Gun: Maverick, The Good Place) and David Wenham (Elvis, 300, The Lord of the Rings franchise) lead a terrific voice cast as Kenshi Takahashi and Kano, respectively. Patrick Seitz returns (Mortal Kombat X, Aggretsuko, Naruto: Shippuden) as Scorpion, Artt Butler (Her, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as Shang Tsung, and Debra Wilson (World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, MADtv) as Graji. 

Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind is produced and directed by Rick Morales (Mortal Kombat Legends franchise, Injustice) from a script by Jeremy Adams (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II), based on the video game created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) is Producer. Sam Register and NetherRealm Studios’ Ed Boon are Executive Producers.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind is set for release on Blu-ray™ on 10th October 2022 and Digital Download on 11th October 2022.

Pre-Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/3fFm3g9

For your chance to win a copy of Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind on Blu-ray™, simply answer the following question:

Who wrote the Screenplay for Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind?

Jeremy Adams 
John Tobias 
Jim Krieg

Send your name, address and of course the answer to competition365@outlook.com

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 17-10-22
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.

Sunday, 2 October 2022

Review: Vesper (2022) (a.k.a. Vesper Chronicles) Starring Raffiella Chapman

Review by Jon Donnis
Sadly, this film has nothing to do with the Italian brand of motorised scooter, instead the film opens up with an eco message.

"The New Dark Ages, Humanity tried to prevent the impending ecological crisis by investing massively in genetic technology. It failed. Engineered viruses and organisms escaped into the world. They wiped out edible plants, animals and large populations of humans. An oligarchy now thrives in enclosed cities called "Citadels" while everyone else struggles to survive. For food, people rely on seeds traded by the Citadels. However, these are coded to produce only one harvest."


Well, that's a nice cheery message to start off with. I would argue that they never failed, but instead it was all by design, but then I am a conspiracy theorist.

Our lead character is Vesper, (Raffiella Chapman) a 13-year-old girl who lives in a house with her paralyzed father Darius (Richard Brake). She spends her days scavenging for seeds so she can grow her own food and she looks for any kind of power sources, which she can use to help keep her father alive.


Unfortunately seeds and power are scarce, so she reaches out to her uncle, Jonas (Eddie Marsan), he is the leader of a group of humans, he is something akin to a cult leader for them, he trades in blood and sex to feed his people, he offers her help in exchange for her to become a "breeder", she refuses of course.

As Vesper learns about the harsh realities of life, she is accompanied by a drone / robot thing, which transmits the voice of her father Darius.

Things get interesting for Vesper when she finds Camellia (Rosy McEwen), a woman from the upper-class Citadel living community, who has crashed in the forest in a Citadel ship. Vesper saves her and nurses her back to help, perhaps looking for a replacement for her mother who has passed. Vesper learns from Camellia about how the Citadel people horde their resources, and use synthetically grown humanoids as indentured property to do all the jobs they hate.


Camellia and Vesper start to bond, and the film follows them and specifically Vesper as she faces the realities of life, as well as being almost on the breakthrough of finding a new way to survive.

At 1 hour 48 minutes without credits, the film feels long, and although there are some beautiful scenic shots, you never quite feel like this is enough of a sci-fi futuristic dystopia, not until perhaps the very end with some wide shots does the film have that feel at all. I think this is where the film suffers, just one look at the poster, and perhaps you might be misled slightly on what type of film this is.

I was hoping for more of a full-on sci-fi film, with our main character going after those in the Citadels, and trying to change the world. But instead, this is more of a survival film with some sci fi elements.


The Good
Some beautiful shots of what is an imaginative world, and the struggle for survival does give you the viewer an emotional connection to the Vesper character.

The Bad
This film suffers due to a relatively low budget (€5 million), mainly due to its lofty ambitions of the world they have created. This really should have been a full-on sci-fi extravaganza, but I just felt there was long periods of not a lot happening.

Overall
There is a hilariously awkward scene in the film between Vasper and Camellia, where they both start howling like wolves, but then Camellia stops, but Vesper carries on howling for what feels forever, it is beautifully awkward, and I thought it deserved a special little mention.

Vesper is an unusual film, an original film as wel,l and with lofty goals, held back by the budget. Highbrow people will love this film, and will finish the film with discussions about nature, environmentalism, the future and so on. Normal people might feel like the film doesn't quite deliver on the promises of the poster and trailer. I find myself somewhere in the middle.

I score Vesper a safe 7/10.

Out now in selected cinemas and on Amazon Prime - https://amzn.to/3RuNmXq


Friday, 30 September 2022

COMPETITION: Win Terror on the Prairie on DVD - Starring Gina Carano


Terror on the Prairie is out now on DVD on October 3rd

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 copies to give away.

Synopsis: 
True Grit meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this highly-unsettling and ruthlessly vicious female-led western thriller.

On the Montana plains, a frontier woman must protect herself against a ruthless gang of outlaws hell-bent on revenge.

Terror on the Prairie stars action-star Gina Carano (The Mandalorian), Samaire Armstrong (The O.C), Nick Searcy (The Shape of Water), and Gabriel-Kane Day Lewis (Daniel Day Lewis’ son) and is directed by Michael Polish (Twin Falls Idaho).

Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/3fvQG7z

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who directs Terror on the Prairie? (Hint: Check the Amazon link above)

Send your name, address and of course the answer to competition365@outlook.com

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 10-10-22
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.

COMPETITION: Win Death Pursuit on DVD - Starring Vinnie Jones


Death Pursuit is out now on DVD

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 copies to give away.

Synopsis: 
Death Pursuit is a full-throttle action thriller boasting jaw-dropping stunts and featuring action superstar Vinnie Jones.

The Thief (James Clayton) who only looks out for number one, finally pulls off his long-gestating heist: the robbery of psychotic crime lord, Temple (Vinnie Jones). The plan goes off without a hitch until he discovers a stowaway in his getaway car – Temple’s wife, Mia. With a gang of criminals hot on their heels, The Thief quickly discovers the only way to get out alive is to drive out.


Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/3SNoxr4

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who plays psychotic crime lord, Temple in Death Pursuit?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to competition365@outlook.com

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 10-10-22
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.

Thursday, 29 September 2022

REVIEW: The Infernal Machine (2022) - Starring Guy Pearce, Alice Eve, Jeremy Davies and Alex Pettyfer

Review by Jon Donnis
The last time I saw Guy Pearce he was making a cameo in the last ever episode of Australian soap Neighbours, well he is back in a feature film called The Infernal Machine, sadly this is not some sci-fi film about erm.. an erm.. Infernal Machine, no that is the name of a book written by a reclusive author Bruce Cogburn, (played by Guy Pearce).


Cogburn has been living alone for years after a book he released inspired Dwight Tufford (Alex Pettyfer) to kill 13 people in a school shooting, he did so using a rifle while positioned on a clock tower, we learn of the tragic events through a news report. Cogburn hasn't written a book since the tragic events.

Despite living in the middle of nowhere, with no phone and no television, Cogburn starts receiving letters from someone called William DuKent, DuKent is seemingly a crazed fan, and he starts sending more and more letters and parcels, and keeps managing to find Cogburn's location.


Cogburn seeks help from Officer Laura Higgins (Alice Eve), and she joins in on trying to find out about this DuKent chap, after things start to get weirder and weirder.

Throw in flashbacks to Cogburn's younger days as a professor, and him giving lectures and talking to his student Elijah Barett (Jeremy Davies), and we soon learn the impact that his book being the influence for a school shooting had on him.



Now of course this is a thriller, so we need some twists and turns, as well as Cognurn going from quiet recluse slightly annoyed by some fan mail, to a paranoid man ready to shoot anyone in the head if they get too close to his house and we have a rather interesting film.


The Good
A strong plot point leads to an interesting film, Guy Pearce is an excellent actor, and he is onscreen for most of the film and he does carry it. When the twists and turns do come, they aren't too obvious, and are delivered well.

The Bad
At about 1 hour 47 minutes before credits, the film feels a little long and drags in parts, I also found certain bits confusing, and I feel like certain elements were not explained well enough, although a second viewing might help that.

Overall
If the film was cut by 17 minutes to get it to a nice 90-minute total, and perhaps a better explanation of some of the main twists, then this film would have been better, as it is though, I did enjoy it, and found Guy Pearce to once again carry a film on his back to a higher level than it would have been without him.

I score The Infernal Machine a fair 7/10

Out now on Amazon Prime - https://amzn.to/3LRNBuH

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

REVIEW: The Spy Who Never Dies (2022) - Starring Paul O’Brien

Review By Jon Donnis
We are back once again, and this time we have an action/rom-com/spy/thriller for you. The Spy Who Never Dies is directed by Corey Pearson and stars Paul O'Brien in the lead role as Brad an international spy who falls in love with a veterinarian, while the world around him is falling apart..

Clearly this film is a bit of a spoof on James Bond, and from pretty much the first moment, you will realise that it does not take itself at all too seriously. 

The film starts with Brad meeting with his boss, he is sick of the spy life, he is starting to feel like he is no more than just a run of the mill assassin, so he wants out, he wants to lead a normal life, with no guns, no bad guys, no saving the world. 

He is convinced to take a break instead of just quitting, but before you know it, he is called to assassinate a bad guy who happens to love dogs. Upon doing the deed, he tries to walk away but sees a dog that needs help, so he grabs the dog and takes it to a vet. While at the vet he meets a woman he instantly falls in love with, despite the dog poop on her face. Veronica (played by Georgia Walters) seems like a normal girl, everything Brad is looking for, he drops the dog off, and agrees to return later to pick it up. When he does, he takes some flowers, a bee in the flowers stings her, and she goes into anaphylactic shock, he uses his spy phone to make an EpiPen, but she has a heart defect which means when her heart beats too fast it stops, and she can die. He manages to save her with his spy phone. But as you can see, when you are a world class international spy, these things can happen when you just want to be normal.

Throw in some Russians with stolen hypersonic missiles, a female spy who wants to steal the "big load", (yes there are quite a few "big load" jokes) who also hates Brad, and wants to destroy the world, and you have a pretty standard Spy film storyline, but wrapped in comedy and romance.

Despite being a satire of spy films, the film itself works well within the genre. It has everything you would expect, fight scenes, chases, action sequences, dumb Russians and sexy women.

The film deliberately throws every cliche you can think of at you, and manages to walk the fine line between satire/comedy and just poor parody.

Now the budget isn't huge, so this is firmly in the "low budget" film genre, but they do well here with what they have, and I was pleasantly surprised, as I did scan through the film a few days back and I wasn't too impressed, but when I sat down to watch it, I soon forgot about the low budget and just enjoyed a nice satirical spy film. Paul O'Brien does a good job as the lead, and Georgia Walters is impressive as the love interest.

The Good
A fun film that I enjoyed, nice set pieces, good action, and a decent if cliched story.

The Bad
Despite running only about 90 minutes, I feel like a few scenes could have been cut without affecting the film, and some of the comedy scenes in general tightened up. If this film ran for 80 minutes or even 75 minutes, I think it would play better.

Overall
A simple, comedy spy film with a bit of romance thrown in, what more could you want?

I score The Spy Who Never Dies a solid 8/10

Coming to the UK on Digital Soon in 2022
Currently streaming in Australia on Stan Australia

Monday, 26 September 2022

REVIEW: Blank (2022) - Starring Rachel Shelley and Heida Reed

Review by Jon Donnis
Take a look at the three posters for this film that I have conveniently put side by side for you. If you only looked at the posters, you would think these were three different films. The first one (red), would describe some kind of Terminator like film. The second one (white) kind of looks like a coming of age feminist type film, and the third one (blue) is probably the most accurate one of the three, but also the most boring one.

So we are back again with a film that has AI going wrong, Blank stars Rachel Shelley as Claire Rivers, Claire is a writer suffering from writer's block, as she looks at blank pages (blank hence the name of the film), she is having to put up with pressure from her agent and bills that need to be paid, but without a finished book, she finds herself stuck.

Claire decides to do what all writers do when they face writers block, she decides to go to a creepy futuristic retreat with AI and Robots. What could possibly go wrong?


Upon entering the house, she is met first by a holographic Wayne Brady, who she later names Henry. He explains how the retreat works, and introducers Claire to the robot called Rita (Heida Reed). She is there to take care of Claire's every need, so she can relax and get those brain juices flowing.

Just when you think everything is fine, it seems that there is a worldwide malware/virus attack. And before you know it Rita has locked all of the doors in the house, which also strangely has bullet proof glass windows, and Rita keeps resetting every day, and won't let Claire leave until the book is finished.


Throw in flashback scenes from Claire's childhood which show some very strange childhood trauma. A more and more messed up Rita as the film progresses, and Wayne Brady popping up every so often, and we have an interesting if slightly unoriginal film. 

At 92 minutes before credits, the film feels slightly long, and I wonder if this would have been a better film if made as a one-off TV episode as part of Black Mirror or some other anthology type show with a much shorter run time, maybe even as short as an hour. I say that because this is a low budget film, and as such the longer a film is, the more you may have to stretch things out, where you might usually use visual effects to distract the viewer.


The Good
Strong performances from Rachel Shelley and Heida Reed carry the film, and it is always fun to see Wayne Brady appear.

The Bad
AI goes wrong, person gets trapped, it is unoriginal, and if you don't have the budget then perhaps stay away from this kind of sci fi film.

Overall
Blank is a decent film, but suffers from a low budget and longish run time. Strong performances from the two female leads helps raise the film up to a slightly better level than what the story alone does.

I score Blank a fair 6.5/10

Out now on DIgital.


COMPETITION: Mr Malcolm's List on Blu-ray


Mr Malcolm's List on Blu-ray on 14th November.

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 copies to give away.

Synopsis: 
When she fails to meet an item on his list of requirements for a bride, Julia Thistlewaite is jilted by London’s most eligible bachelor, Mr. Malcolm. Feeling humiliated and determined to exact revenge, she convinces her friend, Selina, to play the role of his ideal match. Soon, Mr. Malcolm wonders whether he’s found the perfect woman... or the perfect hoax. 

Boasting a fabulous all-star cast including Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Sope Dirisu (Gangs of London), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Haunting of Bly Manor), Ashley Park (Emily in Paris), Zawe Ashton (Nocturnal Animals) and Theo James (The Time Traveler's Wife), Mr. Malcolm’s List is the must-see, feel-good film of the year.

Dazzler Media presents Mr. Malcolm’s List on Blu-ray and DVD from 14th November

Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/3xSY17y

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who plays Mr. Malcolm in Mr. Malcolm's List?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to competition365@outlook.com

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 10-10-22
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.

COMPETITION: Win The Twin (A Shudder Original) on DVD


The Twin released on DVD on 3rd October.

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies to give away.

Synopsis: 
Prepare for double the trouble as we come face to face with The Twin – a disturbing and terrifying psychological horror from Finnish director Taneli Mustonen (Lake Bodom, Reunion). Midsommar and Hereditary fans will be thrilled with this unflinchingly eerie and spine-chilling Shudder Original, arriving on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital 3 October 2022 from Acorn Media International.

In the aftermath of a tragic accident that saw their son killed, Rachel (Teresa Palmer – A Discovery of Witches, Lights Out, Hacksaw Ridges) and Anthony (Steven Cree – Maleficent, Outlander, Brave) decide to move to the other side of the world to focus on their surviving twin son, Elliot (Tristan Ruggeri – The Witcher).

What begins as a time to heal in the isolated Scandinavian countryside turns into a desperate battle for the very soul of their child. When an entity claiming to be his dead brother possesses Elliot, Rachel must embark on a deadly and disturbing journey to unravel the horrible truth about the twin. Forced to confront the unbearable truth, Rachel’s nightmare is only just beginning... 

This horror promises twists and turns galore and sinister shocks aplenty that will keep viewers guessing until the very end.

Dare you meet The Twin in this highly atmospheric and unrelentingly tense thriller?

Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/3raZKRG

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who directs The Twin?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to competition365@outlook.com

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 10-10-22
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.


COMPETITION: Win Jurassic World Dominion on Blu-ray™


Jurassic World Dominion on Blu-ray™ - Out Now!

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 copies to give away.

Synopsis: 
Two worlds collide as the epic saga that began with Jurassic Park comes to a grand conclusion in JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION. Directed by Colin Trevorrow and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, the director of the first two Jurassic Park films, JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION takes place four years after Isla Nublar’s destruction when dinosaurs roam the Earth again. Facing the cataclysmic consequences of a planet once again dominated by prehistoric predators, two generations of Jurassic heroes unite as doctors Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and Alan Grant (Sam Neill) return to join Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) for an incredible adventure that will determine the destiny of humans and dinosaurs once and for all.

Jurassic World Dominion is available now to download & keep and on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray™ 26th September.

Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/3LHDqZA

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

What is the name of the character played by Chris Pratt in Jurassic World Dominion?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to competition365@outlook.com

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 10-10-22
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.


COMPETITION: Win Wolves of War on DVD

Wolves of War DVD - Out Now!

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 copies  to give away.

Synopsis: 
Stop the war. At any cost.

Decorated British officer Jack Wallace (Ed Westwick, Gossip Girl) must lead a band of Allied commandos across enemy lines to rescue Professor Hopper (Rupert Graves, Sherlock), an American scientist held hostage by the Nazis. With information that could turn the tide of war, these unlikely heroes must traverse enemy territory with an untrained US civilian, avoiding brutal Nazi mercenaries and non-stop bombing – with the fate of the war resting on their shoulders, the outcome of this mission will change the world forever; failure is not an option.

Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/3r65hJl

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who plays British officer Jack Wallace in Wolves of War?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to competition365@outlook.com

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 10-10-22
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.


Sunday, 25 September 2022

REVIEW: The Duke (2022) - Starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren

Review by Jon Donnis
I have had The Duke ready to review for a while now, but just had either too much on, or other films ahead of it in the queue, and after finally getting round to seeing the film, I am rather annoyed with myself for not watching it sooner! I even recently ran a competition for the Home Entertainment release.

The year is 1961, Kempton Bunton (Jim Broadbent) is a 60-year-old taxi driver from Newcastle and self-educated man. The film starts with Kempton in the dock at Court Number 1 at the Old Bailey, he is accused of stealing Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. He pleads not guilty, and we are then taken back 6 months to the spring of 1961.

Kempton sends a script to the BBC, it is rejected, soon after he is jailed for 13 days for watching TV without paying for a TV Licence. He refuses to pay for one, as part of his campaign against pensioners having to pay, and as part of his beliefs about supporting the working-class man.

Jackie Bunton (Fionn Whitehead) meets his dad Kempton upon his release, and on the way home they stop by the grave of Jackie's sister who was killed in a bicycle accident when she was just 18. Kempton blames himself as he got her the bike.


Dorothy Bunton (Helen Mirren), Kempton's wife, works as a home maker and babysitter for a local councillor and his wife. 

One day Kempton is fired from his Taxi driver job, after he gave a free ride to an WW1 veteran. As part of his campaign for the working man, as well as drum up interest in his scripts, he convinces Dorothy to allow him to go to London for 2 days, and if he does not succeed he will give up writing and activism and instead settle down and get a job.

An unknown man is seen stealing Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington, and when Kempton returns to Newcastle, he and Jackie have the painting and hide it in a wardrobe.

What follows is a fun, light hearted drama, about a good man, trying to do good, and seeing himself as something of a Robin Hood figure. He sends a ransom note to the Government saying he will return the painting if pensioners get free TV licenses.

Based on a true story, this is a very Northern story, I imagine that non-Brits will struggle to understand the strong accents. With that said, I really enjoyed the film, and I am a fan of Northern accents. Jim Broadbent is really strong as the likeable and at times funny Kempton, and Helen Mirren is great as the long-suffering wife, who just wants a simple life.


The Good
A light hearted drama that really hits home, a really nice look at 1960s Newcastle, and with a strong performance by Jim Broadbent there is nothing not to like about this film.

The Bad
The actual theft of the painting is the least important part of the film, so perhaps some people might be disappointed at not getting more of a heist type film.

Overall
A really enjoyable film, with great characters and a feel-good ending.
I highly recommend The Duke.

Out now on Apple TV https://apple.co/3uBP6pu

Friday, 23 September 2022

REVIEW: Orphan: First Kill (2022) - Starring Isabelle Fuhrman and Julia Stiles


Review By Jon Donnis
Have you ever started watching a film and then instantly thought you had seen it before? Well, I felt that way about Orphan First Kill, so I quickly got on google and realised this is a prequel of a 2009 film, with the same actress in the lead role

If you have never seen Orphan (2009), it is basically a film about a 9-year-old girl adopted by a family, but the girl is really a 33-year-old psychopath who suffers with a disease which has stunted her growth and left her looking like a child.

Orphan: First Kill is a prequel which covers the years before the first film.

The film starts in Estonia in 2007, Leena Klammer (played by Isabelle Fuhrman) is a psychiatric patient at the Saarne Institute. Although she looks like a child, she is in fact a 31-year woman. One day she seduces a guard, steals his key and then kills him. She hides in the car of a therapist who was visiting the institute and escapes. She then breaks into the therapist's house and kills her. Leena discovers that she has a strong resemblance to a missing girl from the United States called Esther Albright.

Posing as the missing child, a police officer approaches her and she tells him that her parents are in America.


We switch to Connecticut and Esthers parents, Tricia Albright (Julia Stiles) and Allen Albright (Rossif Sutherland) are informed by Inspector Donnan ( Hiro Kanagawa) that Esther has been found. Tricia goes to the American Embassy in Moscow and is reunited with the supposed long-lost Esther.

Esther is brought to America and reunited with the whole family. And of course, this is where the fun starts.

I won't say any more as it would ruin the film, but it is worth noting that although so far, the film starts pretty similarly to the original, it does diverge, and there are twists and turns in there that you might not expect.


Since Isabelle Fuhrman is 1 meter 60 centimetres in real life, they do use a body double for certain scenes, for example shots taken from behind, from running and so on, and all the close-up shots are of Isabelle Fuhrman. This can look a bit silly at times, as it is really obvious that it is a different person, but I suppose it had to be done.

The film doesn't feel as warped as the original, and is a bit campier, although it remains serious throughout.

The one big difference between this film and the original is that you might find yourself cheering on the Leena/Esther character more than you did in the original, in which she was 100% the bad guy.


The Good
An interesting idea to make a prequel 13 years after the original and use the same actress to play an even younger version of herself, but it does work. More of a thriller than a horror, which helps it stand alone as a film.

The Bad
A bit too similar to the first film, and the shots of the body double are laughable at times.

Overall
Surprisingly good, I didn't think I would enjoy it after the first ten minutes, but I got into it, and the ending is also fun. The twist is unexpected and adds a whole new element to the film.

I score Orphan: First Kill a fair 7/10

In Cinemas, On Digital and Streaming on Paramount+ on August 19 - https://amzn.to/3AyEJpK

Signature presents Orphan: First Kill on Digital 31st October. DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD alongside Orphan & Orphan: First Kill Blu-ray box-set 14th November - Pre-Order at https://amzn.to/3r2CF3I


Thursday, 22 September 2022

REVIEW: Fall (2022) - Starring Virginia Gardner and Grace Caroline Currey

Review by Jon Donnis
Sometimes films are made which are totally predictable, almost from the very start to the very end, you the viewer can call out in advance pretty much everything that will happen. Fall is one of those films. But that doesn't always mean the film is bad, we as humans like patterns, we see them everywhere, we like to be able to predict things, as it makes us feel better about ourselves, throw in a story that will set your anxiety levels to the very top, and you can sometimes end up with a pretty decent outcome.


The film starts with Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) and Hunter (Virginia Gardner) climbing a mountain, along with Dan (Mason Gooding), everything is going well until Dan falls to his death. As you can imagine this is not an ideal situation.

Before you know it, Becky and Hunter have decided to honour Dan by climbing a 2000 foot, abandoned radio tower in the middle of nowhere, to not only conquer their fears and push their limits, but also so they can release Dan's ashes from the top.


Of course, the abandoned radio tower is covered in rust, and as they climb it quickly becomes clear that the ladder is barely being held into place by the rusty screws.

As I said you already know everything that is going to happen, don't you?


Despite knowing what is going to happen, you will still find yourself shouting at the screen, calling people stupid, yet also sitting on the edge of your seat while you wait for the worst to happen.

And that is where this film is very clever, and very well filmed.


Granted it takes a good 20 minutes before they start the climb, and let's be realistic, that is what you want to see. Of course, there is a storyline in there, revelations about the characters personal lives, that is all expected, but it really isn't that important.

Also worth noting is a ridiculous subplot that is used as an excuse to have Virginia Gardner with a heaving bosom, a smart director knows exactly what he was doing there.


PS. There is a little twist at the end, but don't tell anyone.

The Good
For what is a very limited plot point, the film does a really good job of creating tension, and dragging out the peril. You will shout at the screen, you will call people stupid, you will come up with a hundred smarter decisions the girls could have made, and that is all the fun of watching the film.

Beautifully shot, and even the couple of dodgy CGI moments are forgivable in the grand scheme of things.

The Bad
When a film has a limited plot point, everything needs to be kept tight, and I think at over 95 minutes excluding the credits, the film is a little long, they could easily have shaved off 20 minutes without affecting the enjoyment of the film.

Overall
Completely predictable film which I thought was a lot of fun. Just because you know what is going to happen, doesn't in any way detract from what is a nice little film that actually has a really satisfying ending.

I score Fall a solid 8/10

Signature Entertainment presents Fall on Digital Platforms 14th November and Blu-ray & DVD 28th November


Wednesday, 21 September 2022

REVIEW: Stowaway (2022) Starring Ruby Rose and Frank Grillo

Review by Jon Donnis
I cannot remember the last time i saw a Ruby Rose film, however I seem to see Frank Grillo in films almost weekly. With that said, this is very much a Ruby Rose film.

Ruby Rose plays Bella Denton, her father has died and left her a beautiful yacht, despite her fear of water and being unable to swim, when she sees the fancy boat which includes a master bedroom, bar, and a jacuzzie, she quickly learns to appreciate this amazing gift her father has left for her.

After being shown around the boat, she is told she can't stay on it until the paperwork has been completed, so she heads off to a bar. She "pulls" Michael (Patrick Schwarzenegger) and invites him back to the yacht for a night of passion once the area is quiet. When waking up she realises the boat is no longer at the port and that a group of three men have taken over the boat with the aim of breaking into the safe. Michael decides to jump and swim for it to get help, Bella due to not being able to swim, stays on board.


At this point you would expect a nice little thriller as Bella uses some imaginative skills to take out the bad guys, unfortunately instead of that we just get long pieces of dialog as the bad guys try to break into the safe. Some boat cops do turn up after getting a call from Bella, but they quickly give up after a look around the boat.

We have Frank Grillo who is barely in the movie, as is Patrick Schwarzenegger, which is a shame, as both come across as likeable characters when they are on screen.

I think the main problem with the film is that Ruby Rose is never quite made to look kick ass and in her first proper fight with a bad guy, she is easily overpowered and has to be saved by a man!

The plot itself is ok, I have no problem with the storyline, I just think the film does a disservice to Ruby who is a great actress and can be a great kickass actress when given the chance.


The Good
I liked the storyline, and the ending is satisfying. 

The Bad
The film is perhaps let down by its small budget and lack of decent action scenes.

Overall
This is an average film, and is perfectly watchable on a Saturday night, but perhaps not the best use of Ruby Rose's talents.

I score Stowaway a fair 6/10

Out Now on Amazon Prime - https://amzn.to/3DMdfii