Monday 26 December 2022

REVIEW: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery - Starring Daniel Craig, Edward Norton and Dave Bautista

Review by Jon Donnis
I am gonna keep this review relatively short, as it seems apparent that I am the only person around who did not like this film.

Lets first look at the official synopsis

"Benoit Blanc returns to peel back the layers in a new Rian Johnson whodunit. This fresh adventure finds the intrepid detective at a lavish private estate on a Greek island, but how and why he comes to be there is only the first of many puzzles. Blanc soon meets a distinctly disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron for their yearly reunion. Among those on the guest list are Miles' former business partner Andi Brand, current Connecticut governor Claire Debella, cutting-edge scientist Lionel Toussaint, fashion designer and former model Birdie Jay and her conscientious assistant Peg, and influencer Duke Cody and his sidekick girlfriend Whiskey. As in all the best murder mysteries, each character harbors their own secrets, lies and motivations. When someone turns up dead, everyone is a suspect."

This has to be one of the most unnecessarily overcomplicated films ever made. It also has a ridiculously long run time of 2 hours and 12 minutes not including the credits. What should be a simple who dunnit, is so discombobulated, I honestly don't know where to start.

There are attempts at humour in this film, but at no point did I even raise a smile. The only interesting character is Duke Cody, a streamer and men's rights activist played by Dave Bautista. I honestly couldn't care less about any of the other characters at all. Even the usually reliable Daniel Craig who plays Benoit Blanc just annoyed me throughout. 

The film just takes way too long to get to what the film is supposed to be about, a murder mystery (about 45 minutes at my count). And then with flashbacks, too many characters, forced cameos of washed up celebs like Hugh Grant, and I just wanted to kill myself. Even the big reveal towards the end is so over done.

This is a film that Netflix paid a HUGE amount of money to get the rights to, and it just seems like they spent even more money throwing everything they possibly could against the wall and seeing what sticks.

Now clearly I am in the minority as this film has had great reviews everywhere, I could say it is just the corrupt media being paid off, but it seems that normies liked it too. So I guess I am the only one who didn't like it.

Perhaps that is reason alone to watch, to see if you agree with me, or if I am a lone hater.

The Good
Dave Bautista excells in everything he does, and this film he stands out massively as the most entertaining and interesting character.

The Bad
Over complicated, over written, in fact it feels like it was written by 3 different people, who never met each other, never saw what the others had wrote and then a 4th person came along and just threw it all together.

I hated it, everyone else in the world seemingly loves it.

If you have Netflix, give it a watch and let me know? Maybe I just have a Christmas hangover. Who knows.

Out Now on Netflix

REVIEW: Troll (2022) - Starring Ine Marie Wilmann, Kim Falck, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen and Gard B. Eidsvold

Review by Jon Donnis

When I heard of Troll, I instantly remembered 2011 film Trollhunter, also a Norwegian film about giant Trolls. Sadly this film is not a sequel, nor connected in any way, other than the whole giant Troll thing.

Now I loved the found film footage style of Trollhunter, so I was curious to see what a classic film style would do with this specific genre. Luckily I was not disappointed, as Troll is one of my favourite films of the year.

The film starts with Tobias Tidemann (played by Gard B. Eidsvold), and his young daughter Nora, (Ameli Olving Sælevik). They are climbing in the mountains, and once they reach the top, Tobias tells stories of The Troll Peaks, he encourages his daughter to look at the mountains with her heart and not her eyes and she can see the ancient giant Trolls. It is a sweet moment to start the film.

We fast forward 20 years and a now grown-up Nora Tidemann (Ine Marie Wilmann) is a palaeontologist, digging up fossils.

Meanwhile tunnel builders are tunnelling through the side of a mountain, and also being protested by environmentalists, suddenly there is a rumbling and an explosion. I think you can guess what happens next.

The film itself is in its most basic terms Godzilla but in Norway. A giant ancient Troll has been asleep in the Dovre mountain, and is now on the move after being asleep for a thousand years.

Step in the military and leaders of Norway who have no idea what is going on, other than what appears to be giant footprints, so they need an expert, so they go get a local palaeontologist who just so happens to be our Nora.

We soon learn that Nora's father was at some point in the past sent to a mental institute, and that Nora lost contact with him. After some flying around in a helicoptor, Nora realises that maybe her dad wasn't crazy after all, so they go find him in a hut in the middle of the mountains.

Along with Captain Kristoffer Holm (Mads Sjøgård Pettersen) and "egghead" scientist Andreas Isaksen (Kim Falck), you now have your classic ragtag group of people who will save the day and in turn stop the military from just nuking everything.

The plot follows the classic rules of all such films that feature a giant creature. A crazy guy who is proven right and ends up being the most knowledgeable, a strong military type who goes against orders, a nerdy geek, and then your main hero. It is completely cliche, but it works, which is why they keep using the formula. 

Now despite a few head scratching moments which didn't make sense, (skulls for creatures made of rock?), this is a really fun monster movie. Although serious in nature, there are a few light-hearted funny moments. The visual effects are of the highest quality, things never get silly or too over the top. And if you don't mind reading subtitles, I would recommend sticking to the original language, as dubbing on films like this are always terrible.

The Good
Norway make really good films about giant Trolls! And I loved this one. Everything just works, nice story, all the characters are likeable, everything is well acted. Just an all round good film.

The Bad
The damned skull! Just doesn't make sense, I will say no more. Also the trailer SPOILS the film! 


Excellent film, that stands tall amongst the other giant monster films of recent years, King Kong and Godzilla.

I score Troll a solid 9/10. Brilliant.

Out Now on Netflix

And if you enjoy it, make sure to look up Trollhunter.

Sunday 25 December 2022

REVIEW: Christmas Bloody Christmas (2022) - Starring Riley Dandy, Sam Delich and Jonah Ray

Review by Jon Donnis
In general I hate Christmas movies that have Christmas as the theme, I don't mind films that are associated with this time of year, like Die Hard, Jason and the Argonauts etc, but Christmas specific films I usually hate, so when I saw that our good friends at Shudder have released a Christmas horror film, I have to admit I was intrigued.

We start off with some Christmas advertisements playing on a TV, with someone changing the channels, each change starts a new ad. Suddenly there is a news flash regarding a robotic Santa that has been recalled due to a malfunction. At this point I had the Terminator music playing in my head!

It is Christmas Eve and the owner of a record store, Tori Tooms (played by the excellent Riley Dandy) along with her employee Robbie Reynolds (played by Sam Delich) are closing up the shop. They discuss Tori's upcoming date with a guy she matched with on Tinder, Robbie convinces her that he is probably secretly married and a dad to four kids, and that instead of going on the date she should go out for drinks with him. Before heading to the bar, they pop and see their friends Lahna (Dora Madison) and Jay (Jonah Ray) who run a toy store next door to the record shop. They have on display one of the robotic Santa's that we saw mentioned at the very start.

Lahna and Jay indicate they are going to have sex, so Tori and Robbie leave. While they have sex, the Santa comes to life and starts watching them, Santa then dismembers them using an axe.

Before you know it, Santa is on a killing spree, and Tori has to fight for her survival.

At roughly 80 minutes, this is the perfect length for a low budget horror film, even more perfect since it is Christmas and I have chocolate and cake to eat.

Christmas Bloody Christmas is a pretty straight forward film, as mentioned it is low budget, very low budget in fact, and at times it feels more like a film made by college students, however it is done pretty well, and the characters come across really natural and genuine, I would guess that much of the dialog is ad lib, as opposed to them following a strict script, I might be wrong, but that is how it felt. One of the problems with low budget films can sometimes be the acting, but they do a great job here, and although the robotic Santa looks way too human for much of its run, when they start fighting back, it does start to look a lot more like a robot.

The Good
The acting is surprisingly good throughout, they do a decent job with the budget they have, and although it is a standard slasher film, full of cliches, it all works well, and that run time is almost perfect.

The Bad
I wonder if they really needed to make Santa a robot, although I suppose it is a change from the usual slasher bad guy, who keeps coming back from the dead without reason, at least this way you know it's because they are a robot, so will need more than the usual to kill it.

If you are sick and tired of the usual rubbish you get at Christmas and want something a bit different and a bit more violent then you can't go wrong with Christmas Bloody Christmas, it is a fun horror film that ticks all of the boxes.

I score Christmas Bloody Christmas a fair 7.5/10

Out now on Shudder, get a free 7-day trial at

Tuesday 20 December 2022

REVIEW: Prey for the Devil (2022) - Starring Jacqueline Byers, Colin Salmon and Christian Navarro

Review by Jon Donnis
I know what I need to distract me from the bad weather, it's a good horror film, and luckily, director Daniel Stamm has just such a film in Prey for the Devil.

The Roman Catholic Church is combatting a rise in demonic possessions across the world, and one way they are doing that is by reopening schools to train priests to exorcise the demons, specifically the Rite of Exorcism.

Despite being forbidden from performing exorcisms, Sister Ann (Jacqueline Byers) believes she has a calling to be the first female exorcist. She seeks out one of these schools, and Professor and Priest, Father Quinn (Colin Salmon), sees great potential in Sister Ann and recognises her natural gifts and agrees to train her.

A young girl has been possessed and Sister Ann believes that the child is possessed by the same demon that possessed her own mother when she was a child. Through flashbacks we see how her mother would be normal one minute, before turning on the young Ann and hurting her.

Along with another trainee, Father Dante (Christian Navarro), Sister Ann delves into the secret archives, educating herself as much as she can, before the inevitable battle with the demon that has seemingly been waiting for her all along.

Prey for the Devil is a pretty standard exorcist type film, but it looks and feels very well made, and I would assume with a decent budget. Many of the actors you will recognise, especially Colin Salmon who you will know from 3 classic James Bond films, as well as all manner of TV shows over the years.

Although a bit cliche at times, the film is very well acted, and convincing in its delivery of a story that is far from original.

The special effects, make up etc is all of a high standard, and when the jump scares come, they are well done with just the right amount of tension and surprise being built.

Jacqueline Byers is excellent in the lead as Sister Ann, and I was cheering her on throughout.

The ending is rather predictable, and would seem to set up more films if they get the nod to make them.

The Good
Predictable but enjoyable horror film, I like a good possession film, and all the classic cliches are here. Child possessed, bones cracking, crawling up walls and so on. The jump scares are really well done but not overused. Top acting from all. Very nice little film with a magical run time of 86 minutes!

The Bad
Nothing really original here, and it is a predictable film.

Even when a film is predictable, it really doesn't matter if the film is well made, and well acted, and Prey for the Devil ticks both of those all important boxes.

I enjoyed the film, and it was a perfect distraction from the usual rubbish you get this time of year.

I score Prey for the Devil a solid 7.5/10

Out Now in Selected UK Cinemas and on Apple TV -

Friday 9 December 2022

REVIEW: Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

Review by Jon Donnis
Another day and another Pinocchio film. It was only a few months ago I reviewed the terrible Disney Live Action Pinocchio with Tom Hanks in it, that was a stinker, in part due to the usual woke decisions of Disney, to insert identity politics into what is supposed to be a 19th century story. Well this time we have Guillermo del Toro's take on Pinocchio, with a fully animated stop motion version, based on Gris Grimly's Pinocchio design from his 2002 edition of the 1883 Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, this time the film reimagines the story in 1930s Fascist Italy as "a story of love and disobedience as Pinocchio struggles to live up to his father's expectations, learning the true meaning of life."

We start the film with Master Geppetto (David Bradley), woodcarving and living peacefully in 1930s Italy with his very much alive son Carlo. World War 1 has broken out, and planes are often seen above.

One day while helping at the local Church, Geppetto sends his son out to find a flawless pine cone, a plane drops a bomb that destroys the church and kills Carlo, while Geppetto survives.

Over the next 20 years Geppetto mourns the loss of his son, one day he plants a pin cone near Carlo's grave. The grief is too much for Geppetto and he turns to drink. The pine tree grows and a cricket named Sebastian finds a home in the tree.

In a fit of grief and rage Geppetto chops down the tree, and decides to carve a new son out of the wood. He carves the puppet but passes out drunk.

While Geppetto is unconscious, a blue fairy appears, called Wood Sprite (Tilda Swinton), and gives life to the puppet, and names him Pinocchio. She is confronted by Sebastian (Ewan McGregor), she convinces him to guide Pinocchio, and help him become a good boy, in exchange she grants him a wish to become famous if he succeeds.

The next day Geppetto wakes up hungover, and discovers the now living Pinocchio. Shocked and disturbed Geppetto leaves the house to go to the church, Pinocchio follows him and appears in the church while everyone is praying. Imagine their shock when they open their eyes!!

Geppetto decides to send Pinocchio to school the next day, so he can learn how to be a good boy, but on the way, Pinocchio is stopped by ringmaster and puppeteer Count Volpe Christoph Waltz (Christoph Waltz) after his monkey Spazzatura (Cate Blanchett) informs him of a puppet without strings. He convinces Pinocchio to join his circus and makes him sign a contract. Later Geppetto goes to the circus to find and rescue Pinocchio, but in a tussle with Volpe, Pinocchio gets hit by a car and dies, and finds himself in the afterlife.

Death informs Pinocchio that he is immortal and that he will have to go back to the real work once a sand timer as run out. She explains people in the living world will outlive him.

Pinocchio goes back to the real world, but after an argument with Geppetto, Pinocchio returns to the circus, which soon after, leaves town.

What follows is a strange film which turns into more of an adventure, with fascist Italy involved, getting eaten by giant sea creatures, and eventual reunion with Geppetto, and a rather depressing end.

This is a strange film, it is full of songs sung by the various characters, but this is not a kid's film, but it is also not really an adult film. It is just something a bit weird.

The animation is incredible. The voice acting is excellent as you would expect from the names involved. But to me this just does not feel like Pinocchio. And I am not talking about the terrible Disney versions either, which many assume are the originals. I don't know, I can imagine lots of highbrow critics loving this and going on about nuance, and history, but your average film viewer, I am not sure how they will take it.

The film has just finished and I have no interest to watch it again, but I did not hate it. It was just something quite different, and not at all what I expected.

The Good
Excellent animation, an interesting story, and great voice acting.

The Bad
I hate musicals or any films which have singing as part of the story. That's just me though. The ending was also a bit depressing.

This is a hard one to score. The film is not bad, it's not great either in my opinion. I still would say that Matteo Garrone's Pinocchio from 2019 is still the ultimate film version.

If you are a fan of the Pinocchio books and the various films that have spawned from that, then you will be interested to see another take on it.

I score Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio a 6/10

Out now on Netflix.

Thursday 8 December 2022

POSTER, TRAILER & FEATURETTE: Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves


Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Chloe Coleman, Daisy Head and Hugh Grant all star in this epic fantasy based on Hasbro's iconic table-top game DUNGEONS & DRAGONS.

A charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers undertake an epic heist to retrieve a lost relic, but things go dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people. DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: HONOUR AMONG THIEVES brings the rich world and playful spirit of the legendary roleplaying game to the big screen in a hilarious and action-packed adventure.

An Epic Journey - Official Featurette

DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: HONOUR AMONG THIEVES is co-directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, GAME NIGHT, HORRIBLE BOSSES) with the screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley and Michael Gilio. Story by Chris McKay (THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE) & Michael Gilio. Jeremy Latcham P.G.A. (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, THE AVENGERS, IRON MAN, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) Brian Goldner and Nick Meyer all serve as producers with executive producers Denis L. Stewart, Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Chris Pine, Zev Foreman, Greg Mooradian.


Sunday 4 December 2022

REVIEW: Warriors of Future (2022) - Starring Louis Koo, Sean Lau, and Carina Lau

Review by Jon Donnis
Sometimes you just want a mindless sci-fi film, with great special effects, aliens, great fight scenes and big explosions. Usually, you would rely on Russian filmmakers for such things, but with Covid and then the Special Operation in The Ukraine, we haven't had much from Russia to enjoy, so in steps China with a mid-budget action extravaganza.

Warriors of Future (previously known as Virtus) is directed by visual effects artist Ng Yuen-fai, in his directorial debut, and it pretty much ticks all the boxes I described above.

The year is 2055, as expected the world has been destroyed by pollution and war, military robots and advanced technology has turned the world against itself, along with natural disasters, the worlds atmosphere has become poison. Humans are being born with birth defects, if they even make it that far. With many cities destroyed, what cities remain are covered by "Skynets", air purifying domes that protect those who are lucky enough to live under them.

A city known only as B-16 is one of those protected by a Skynet, but when a meteor crashes through, it brings with it a giant alien plant, that is later called Pandora. As rain falls on the plant it grows, causing destruction. But a side effect of this plant, is that it absorbs the poisoned air, purifying it in the process. If only there was a way to stop the planet, but at the same time change it so it could help save the planet.

That is the basic story. All pretty much all of that is shown in the first 5 minutes, in fact they could have made an entire film out of that concept.

Once we get the layup, the film is very much none stop action, not a lot of explaining is needed, "this is the problem, and this is how we are going to fix it".

We have the ASU (a local military force), a fighter pilot with a sad backstory in Tyler (Louis Koo), his "brother in arms" Johnson Cheng (Sean Lau) the commander of B-16's Air Force, Yau Tai-long (Philip Keung ), aka Skunk, a former member of the B-16 Air Force who was previously dismissed and fell out with Tyler, as well as a few other characters to make up the team. Throw in a baddie, Sean Li, (Nick Cheung) the commander in chief of B-16 and the architect of the Skynet project, who wants to sabotage the plan, so that his Skynet system can remain the only way to purify the air, and you have a pretty decent cast of characters to cheer for and against.

Yes, many of the characters are cliched as hell. There is even a cute child that gets involved. But if you like big robots, giant cockroach like aliens, and a quickly growing killer plant, then this might be the film for you.
We even have hero deaths, in fact the only things that were missing was a love story and a dog surviving against all odds.

This is sci-fi action adventure at its craziest. The plot really doesn't matter too much, this is just about sitting back and watching 90 minutes of crazy. And I love that.

The Good
Excellent visual effects. Great fight scenes. A satisfying ending, and a fun story.

The Bad
The film is lacking slightly in character development, and as mentioned things are a bit silly. 

This is one of those films you will either love or hate. If you are looking for deep storytelling, nuances characters and meaningful developments, you will be sorely disappointed.
If, however, you want mindless action, aliens, robots and big explosions, then this is the film for you.

Maybe this film caught me on a good day, but I really enjoyed it. Sometimes I just don't want to think too much. I just want to enjoy the spectacle.

I score Warriors of Future (2022) a super fun 8/10

Out now on Netflix at

Thursday 1 December 2022

TRAILER: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny - Starring Harrison Ford


Harrison Ford returns as the legendary hero archaeologist in the highly anticipated fifth installment of the iconic “Indiana Jones” franchise, which is directed by James Mangold (“Ford v Ferrari,” “Logan”). 

Starring along with Ford are Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”), Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”), John Rhys-Davies (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”), Shaunette Renee Wilson (“Black Panther”), Thomas Kretschmann (“Das Boot”), Toby Jones (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”), Boyd Holbrook (“Logan”), Oliver Richters (“Black Widow”), Ethann Isidore (“Mortel”) and Mads Mikkelsen (“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”). 

Directed by James Mangold, the film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Simon Emanuel, with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas serving as executive producers. John Williams, who has scored each Indy adventure since the original "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in 1981, is once again composing the score.

TRAILER: Transformers: Rise of the Beasts - Directed by Steven Caple Jr. and starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback

Returning to the action and spectacle that have captured moviegoers around the world, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will take audiences on a ‘90s globetrotting adventure with the Autobots and introduce a whole new breed of Transformer – the Maximals – to the existing battle on earth between Autobots and Decepticons.

Directed by Steven Caple Jr. and starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, the film arrives in cinemas June 2023

Wednesday 30 November 2022

REVIEW: Smile (2022) - Starring Sosie Bacon and Jessie T. Usher

Review by Jon Donnis
I have been wanting to watch Smile for a while, but just not gotten round to it until tonight. It has been a massive hit, grossing $215 million worldwide against a $17 million budget. So, with everyone and their mother seemingly enjoying it, I thought it was time I watched.

Smile is a psychological horror film written and directed by Parker Finn and based on his 2020 short film Laura Hasn't Slept, which you can watch in full below.

Sosie Bacon is stressed and overworked psychiatrist Dr. Rose Cotter, she is giving a therapy session to a PhD student Laura Weaver (Played by Caitlin Stasey, who was also in the 2020 short). Laura tells Dr Cotter how a few days prior she had witnessed the suicide of her art history professor. She tells Rose that an entity taking the form of smiling people is stalking her, and telling her she is going to die. Suddenly Laura begins screaming hysterically, and starts having a seizure. Rose quickly grabs the telephone to call for help, but when she turns around, Laura is stood there behind her, with a huge grin on her face, holding a piece of a broken plant pot, Laura then uses the shard to cut her own throat, smiling throughout, and even smiling after she has hit the floor and starts bleeding out. (really freaky moment that sets the stage for the whole film)

Later on, Rose sees another of her patients, Carl Renken (Jack Sochet) smiling at her, and he starts shouting at her and saying she (Rose) is going to die. Rose calls for the nurses to restrain him, but when she turns around, Carl was seemingly asleep the whole time!

Rose's supervisor Dr. Morgan Desai (Kal Penn) concerned for her mental health after everything she has seen and been through, decides to give Rose a week off to rest.

As time goes on Rose starts to hallucinate more, and her behaviour seems more erratic to those around her. She is invited to her Nephews birthday party, she gives him a present,. but when he opens it, it is Rose's dead cat. Rose has another mental breakdown, and hallucinates once again, seeing one of the guests grinning at her menacingly. Rose then falls onto a glass table, cutting herself in the process. I think the child's birthday was ruined at this point!

The film then revolves around Rose trying to understand what is happening to her, investigating other similar occurrences and deaths, and ultimately trying to fight against whatever or whoever it is doing this.

Sosie Bacon really is the star of this film; her performance is excellent and totally convincing. Is everything she is experiencing real, or is she just having a mental breakdown like those she has cared for?

As horror films go, this has its moments, there are quite a few jump scares, and some freaky events that will get in your head. A run time of 1 hour 50 minutes is a tad long, and they could have easily shaved off 20 minutes to get to the magic 90 minutes, but with that said the film never drags, and will keep you interested.

The visual effects are decent, nothing looks silly or over the top.

The Good
Very good performance by Sosie Bacon. A nice story, with plenty of classic horror style moments, designed to catch you off guard, and raise your heart beat. And the ending is very satisfying.

The Bad
A little too long, and Kal Penn was disappointing, considering he was the biggest name in the film. He came across as wooden and lacking character.

A high-quality psychological horror film, that ticks most of the boxes.

I score Smile a solid 8.5/10

In UK Cinemas now! And you can pre-order on Amazon Prime at

SMILE is available on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™, and DVD December 26.