Monday 28 February 2022

REVIEW - Clean (2022) Starring Adrien Brody, Glenn Fleshler, Richie Merritt, Chandler DuPont, Michelle Wilson, John Bianco, Dinora Walcott, Mykelti Williamson, and RZA

Review by Jon Donnis
Clean, directed by Paul Solet is about a bin man called Clean, played by Adrien Brody, he has a long violent history, and is trying to lead a life of redemption. But soon ends up having to deal with a crime boss who has targeted him.

Adrien Brody having written, produced and acted in this film, clearly sees this film as a vehicle for him to display his many skills. Now whether it is Nominative Determinism, or just a nickname, Brody plays a character called Clean, who is a trash collector, or Bin Man was we say in the UK. He has lost his daughter, which we find out through flash backs, and has befriended a next-door neighbour, who acts as something of a replacement daughter for him. Dianda (played by Chandler DuPont) has lost her mother so lives with her Grandmother. Clean helps out when the Grandmother is busy, or just plain neglectful of her granddaughter, and takes the girl to school or out for dinner. Yes, I know it all sounds a bit strange but it's a plot point needed for the film.

Dianda ends up going to a party with a group of drug dealers and rapists, because of course she did. Clean, of course comes to the rescue, and beats everyone who with a wrench. At the same time, you have the son of a mob boss, who is hanging around with that group, and his mafia type father is unhappy, you see, he is white and the druggies are black!

Whereas this film should really have been nonstop action, with fun one liners, it is just way too dull for way too long. And when an action film takes 45 minutes plus, to even attempt to get your attention, you start to realise that the people making the film, care more about their own egos, than they do entertaining the audience.

The Good
The fight scenes are brutal and well made.

The Bad
The story is clichéd, there are too many long dull periods, and the racial dynamics are thrown in, without any really effort to present them in a way that would make the viewer care.

Get past the first 45 minutes, and you might find some enjoyment in the action scenes. But by then it is too late for me, they lost me, i no longer cared.

I score Clean a poor 5/10

Out Now on Digital

Saturday 26 February 2022

REVIEW: A Madea Homecoming (2022) Starring Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis-Patton, David Mann and Brendan O'Carroll

Review by Jon Donnis
This is the first Madea film I have ever seen; I believe this is number 11 or 12 in the series? So clearly it must be a popular franchise for them to make so many.

A Madea Homecoming is a "comedy" that revolves around Madea preparing and then welcoming her extended family who have all come into town to celebrate her great-grandson's graduation from college.

For some reason I am not aware of, Agnes Brown from Mrs. Brown's Boys, played by Brendan O'Carroll, turns up as the aunty of one of the boys who is a black, Dutch Irishman. It is only when Agnes Brown turns up, does the film even succeed in being vague funny. And even then, the jokes are all about misunderstandings, Agnes Brown tells the family to not get their knickers in a twist, which of course they all think she said the N word, and then Agnes Brown upon realising that they are mistaken says "wait a cotton-picking minute", which in turn creates more anger. That is the level of humour.

The whole film is one dimensional, and if you are new to the franchise, and expect to see something akin to Eddie Murphy playing lots of hilarious characters in different outfits etc, you will be sorely mistaken.

Despite being labelled as a comedy, I did not laugh once, in fact I did not smile once throughout. The humour is cheap, the storyline gets a bit preachy at times, and in general is clearly a cash in on what came before.

Only the Agnes Brown character is remotely likeable, and even then, I have never particularly found that character funny.

This franchise will not get a single new fan, some people will check it out for the Mrs Brown Boys crossover, and will not watch another film.

Go watch Nutty Professor instead.

The Good

The Bad

2022 has an early contender for worst film of the year.


If you are a fan of the franchise, it is out now on Netflix.

Friday 25 February 2022

REVIEW: The Ledge - Starring Brittany Ashworth

Review by Jon Donnis
A low budget climbing adventure horror film you say? Well, I don't mind if I do Sir.

A couple of friends decide to go rock climbing, but when Kelly (played by the lovely Brittany Ashworth) witnesses the murder of her best friend Sophie by a group of young men, she has to find a way to escape before she becomes their next victim.

It all starts when the two girls befriend a tight knit group of men, who have dark secrets that have cemented their bond. Of course, with young men and young women about, that means only one thing in a film like this, a really unlikeable man, who decides to try his luck and end up killing someone. A woman who witnesses the killing, and then a bunch of friends all sticking together and trying to get rid of the only witness, along with her video camera.

Now since the film is called "The Ledge" this means there is a mountain involved, so one way for Kelly to escape is to climb this mountain, because why wouldn't you! And that was the whole point of her visit to the location. You wouldn't want to come all this way, watch your bestie get murdered and then go home without climbing the mountain.

Most of the film revolves around Kelly stuck on the side of this mountain on a ledge, and the 4 men's attempts to get to her. Throw in some mountain snakes, idiots arguing with each other, and a genuine sense of peril, and you have the makings of a half decent thriller.

After a slowish start, as soon as we get to the main plot point, the killing of Sophie, the film really picks up. Now if you are anything like me, you are always distracted, on your phone etc, however, this film genuine grabbed my attention, and I put my phone down. Ok so some of the film is a bit cliché, and there are plenty of really dumb moments, but as I said earlier, there is a real sense of peril, whether that is a snake biting Kelly, or the one slip and you dead element of being on the side of a mountain.

The film is relatively short at 80 minutes, which is all it needs to be, so it never drags on. And although the ending is about as predictable as you can get, the film does do its job of capturing the viewers' attention. And with a relatively small cast, and low budget, I think that within the restraints of the production, it does a really good job.

The Good
A decent story, and some nice moments that will grab your attention.

The Bad
A few dodgy special effects ruin some serious moments.

A surprisingly good little film. With the restraints I mentioned in mind, I score The Ledge a perfectly passable 8/10

Out now on Digital, and you can pre-order the DVD release for the end of March at

Sunday 20 February 2022

REVIEW: Shut In (2022) - Starring Rainey Qualley, Jake Horowitz, Luciana VanDette and Vincent Gallo

Review by Jon Donnis
Former meth addict Jessica, (played by the fantastic Rainey Qualley) lives with her two young children, doing her best to survive with very little money, she wants to sell the family house that originally belonged to her Grandmother, so she can move away and start a new life. 

By accident she managed to lock herself in her pantry, the heavy door was wedged open on a brick, and as she is inside, it comes loose and slams shut. Despite her best efforts, and that of her young daughter, Lainey, (played by the adorable Luciana VanDette), she remains stuck inside.

Unfortunately, it is at this time that Jessica's abusive drug addict ex Rob (Jake Horowitz) decides to turn up, along with his pedophile friend Sammy (Vincent Gallo) he lets her out at first, but after an argument, he throws her back in the pantry and nails it shut. He pushes a bag of drugs under the door too in the hope she will take some and revert back to being an addict like him.

Stuck in the pantry she manages to convince Sammy to put his hand under the door, and she stabs him with a screwdriver, leaving him stuck with his hand "nailed" to the floor. With Rob off his head somewhere else she now needs to find a way to escape.

Much of the film takes place with Jessica stuck in the pantry, and her talking with her daughter to try to get the daughter to help her escape, as well as look after the baby.

The film is part home invasion, part claustrophobic thriller, and part "fighting your own inner demons".

It has been a long time since I have seen a good thriller, where the location is limited, in this it is limited to the house, with a couple of moments outside. It takes a good story, and good direction to pull this off, and Shut In has that in spades.

With a strong, believable female lead, with her strong faith, overcoming addiction, and the love of her two children to push her forward, Shut In delivers on its promise, while also showing how far you will go to protect your family.

There is a strong faith-based message in the film, but it is done in a very fair manner, without ever shoving anything down your throat. The film uses faith in a very clever manner, that allows the viewer to take from the film, what is best for them. Whether that is faith in a religion, or in family values, overcoming your demons, and so on.

Ultimately this is a film about redemption and survival, something we can all appreciate.

The Good
Perfect length at 85 minutes. A really well told story, some excellent acting, and a film that at no points tries to force anything down your throat, which is rare these days.
Just a good, old fashioned story, that is well told, and well acted.

The Bad
Perhaps predictable at times, but even that didn't spoil my enjoyment of the film.

I believe this is the first totally original film made and financed by The Daily Wire, incredible to think relative newcomers to the filmmaking genre, can knock it out of the park on the first attempt.

I score Shut In and very solid 9/10. Excellent film from top to bottom.

Written by Melanie Toast and directed by D.J. Caruso.

Thursday 17 February 2022

REVIEW: Beyond Existence - Starring Amelia Clay, Gary MacKay and Vincent Vermignon

Review by Jon Donnis
I am always weary of reviewing films I have never heard of, films that have apparently won awards that I wasn't aware of, and films with a super low budget.

Capital Films have been very honest that they had basically a zero-budget, but understand that there is a difference I think between films that are churned out as low budget films, and films that are made with love from a low budget. I would like to think that Beyond Existence comes under the latter of those two options.

Amelia Clay plays Ellen, a Government agent type, think FBI but in England, Detective Inspector Burnside but with a more serious side. She tracks down a character known as "The Professor" played by Gary MacKay, and sadly not Sergio Marquina. The professor holds a deadly secret, both literally and figuratively. Who is he, what does he want, and what does he have in his briefcase! Ellen is under orders to help The Professor, and it seems that there is an immortal bounty hunter (Vincent Vermignon) who is after The Professor. 

I am deliberately being a bit vague as I don't want to spoil the story. And for a film made with a near zero budget, it is pretty clear that the story needs to be good, because you cannot rely on special effects or big action scenes.
Due to the restraints of near zero budget, the film has to be dialog heavy, so there are long scenes with just two actors talking, in a car, in a cafe, in some abandoned military base, on a hill etc. And this is where the talent of the actors comes into play, luckily Beyond Existence has Amelia Clay and Gary MacKay in the main roles, and these are two outstanding actors, and within the limits of the film, they both take what they are given, and create some excellent storytelling. Without those two in the leads, I don't think the film would have been getting the attention it has.

The Good
Excellent performances by Amelia Clay and Gary MacKay, a decent story, and a film that runs under 80 minutes, I love shorter films.

The Bad
If you are after an action adventure, after reading the synopsis, you will be sorely disappointed. What little special effects there are, look like they were knocked up on a Commodore Amiga 1200. I do wonder why you would want to make a sci fi film with no budget? It is a strange choice.

It is clear the film has limits, a lot of limits, but despite that, the casting of the two main characters was perfect, the performances were great, and the story is a simple sci-fi story.

Taking into account the limitations, I score Beyond Existence a very fair 8/10. I was engaged from start to finish, and I was happy with the end scene.

Review by Jon Donnis

For more information and how to see the film check out 

Tuesday 15 February 2022

REVIEW: WarHunt (2022) - Starring Mickey Rourke, Jackson Rathbone and Robert Knepper

Review By Jon Donnis
The year is 1945, a US military cargo plane has lost control and crashed behind enemy lines, deep in a German forest.

Major Johnson (played by the always strange looking Mickey Rourke) decides to send in a squad of top soliders on a top secret resuce mission, but not to rescue the lost soldiers, but to rescue the secrets that the cargo plane was transporting.

Leading the squad is the always impressive Robert Knepper as Sergeant Brewer, and make no mistake, for most of this film, Knepper is the star. Along with Walsh (Jackson Rathbone), the squad travel deep into the forest to look for the crash site.

After finding Nazi soldiers hung up in the trees, and other dead bodies with strange ancient symbols on them, your first thought might be that we have a film in the mold of The Predator, but alas no, instead of a killer alien, we have a bunch of supernatural witches instead. Bit disappointed there to be honest.

The squad's compasses start to fail, members start to see weird things, and before you know it, they are being attacked by the earlier mentioned witches after they find the crashed cargo plane.

What follows this is a bit of a mystery, thriller, find out the secrets, stop the Nazis from finding it, destroy the Tree of Life, and take out the Witches. You get the idea.

I wonder if Mickey Rourke is going down the Bruce Willis route these days? Small parts in films, do a few scenes on your own, and then have those scenes mixed in with the rest of the film. Get paid a load of money, have your face front and centre on the poster, and job done.

As mentioned earlier, for a lot of the film the most interesting character was played by Robert Knepper, but he isn't there towards the end, as of course Mickey Rourke has to come in, save the day etc. And then you get the completely obvious "twist" in the final scene.
The Good
In general this is quite a good film, it is well acted, interesting characters, the action scenes are good, the visual effects are of a decent quality.

The Bad
Completely pointless having Mickey Rourke in this film, his character could have been played by anyone, and it would not have made a difference. Also some of the scenes at the very start and at the very end of the film are so dark. Now dark scenes in films are fine if watching on a cinema screen, or a huge TV at home, while sat in the dark. But for general viewing it is a problem.

A decent action film, can be a bit clichéd at times, and I really would have preferred them fighting off a crazy alien instead of witches, but at least they tried something different.

You will watch this film once, and then forget about it, but you will probably enjoy it too.
I score WarHunt a solid 7/10

Monday 14 February 2022

REVIEW: The 355 Starring Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger, and Lupita Nyong'o.

Review by Jon Donnis
I know what we need, an action spy film that has a piece of technology that can hack any computer in the world, and people chase after it!

Possibly the most overused plot line in spy films, but alas that is what we have here.

The 355 is directed by Simon Kinberg and stars Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger, and Lupita Nyong'o. The women play various international spies who end up having to work together to stop the outbreak of WW3, after a special decryption program is created by a drug lord in Colombia. This device can hack any system on the planet.

The device is put up for sale, CIA tries to buy it, various bad guys try to buy it, it gets swapped out, stolen, and you pretty much can imagine the rest.

The plot line is as ridiculous and cliched as you can imagine. It seems like the film makers decided to hire a bunch of big-name actresses, throw them all in together, send them to lots of expensive looking locations (Paris, Morrocco, Shanghai etc) and hope magic comes from it.

If you saw Hitman's Wife Bodyguard, this is pretty much the same thing, but without the humour.

The plot is so full of holes, and despite them wanting to push this as a female led international type film, all I found myself doing was thinking how incompetent these so called world class spies are.

If it isn't them letting the bad guys go every single time, it is one wearing totally inappropriate clothes and shoes which makes for laughable chase scenes. Got a bad guy in front of you? Got a gun pointed at them? Pull the trigger and kill them, right? WRONG. Even at the totally predictable end, it wasn't really the female spies that "won".

If this film was a parody, think Johnny English, and it was about 4 or 5 international spies who lucked their way through things, it would probably be a really funny film.
Instead, it takes itself way too seriously, with an all too commonly used plotline.

The Good
The action scenes are good, the fight scenes and chase scenes are well done. And the big-name actresses all play their parts to the best of their ability.

The Bad
The film suffers due to a terrible story, awful writing, and backwards directing.
This is what happens when you cast a film first to tick a load of diversity boxes, and then try to fit a story to them.

This is the kind of film that you have on in the background, and you stop what you are doing when the action scenes are on, the rest of the time you will be on your phone, or chatting.

The 355 is no 007 - I score The 355 a poor 4/10

Out Now

Sunday 13 February 2022

REVIEW: Miss Willoughby and the Haunted Bookshop - Starring Nathalie Cox and Kelsey Grammer

Review by Jon Donnis
Brad Watson directs Miss Willoughby and the Haunted Bookshop, Elizabeth Willoughby a University professor, played by Nathalie Cox, has an insatiable appetite for investigation and is asked by some old family friends to investigate a series of hauntings at their antique bookstore.

Elizabeth Willoughby lost her parents at a young age, she is raised by a family friend Robert Thompson, (Kelsey Grammar) who is now her legal guardian, and we start off with Elizabeth Willoughby as a young child, being taught everything from literature, to chess, to self-defence and martial arts.

After some early scenes we fast forward to the present and Elizabeth Willoughby is now a grown woman. (Not really sure how old the character is supposed to be, perhaps a fair bit younger than Nathalie Cox is in real life) A successful career woman, a University Professor. After visiting her favourite bookstore, she meets up with Helen Deakin (Louise Bangay) and her husband Oliver Deakin (Steven Elder). Helen claims that the bookstore is haunted, as she keeps seeing her deceased father. Helen asks Elizabeth if she can help discover what is happening.

I imagine you are expecting a ghost story right? Well, you would be wrong outside of some short scenes with an EMF meter and a digital recorder, listening for ghostly voices. The film quickly turns into a whodunnit type film. Is Helen going crazy or is she really seeing the ghost of her father. People are going missing, kidnapped, a bit of everything.

The film is set in England in the present time, but there is something about this film that makes me think it would fit better if it was set in an age before computers and high-end technology.

For British people, there are plenty of semi famous British actors in this film, for me the highlight was a brief appearance from Marc Bannerman (Gianni in Eastenders) doing his best posh accent. 

I think the main problems with this film is that it is not much of a whodunnit, since the bad guys are pretty obvious. It's not much of a supernatural film, outside of some pretty simple ghostly special effects. And the whole first chapter of the film, the training of a young girl, chess the martial arts etc, doesn't seem to have much point, when fast forward to the present, and the only use of fighting skills is a straight punch to the face. Did we really need extended training montages of a young kid hitting a punch bag, an Okinawan Wooden Man and garden karate shots?

And the whole chat at the end between Elizabeth Willoughby and Robert Thompson where she explains how she solved it, seemed a bit forced, as if they really needed to explain every little detail to the viewer.

I did laugh, perhaps unintentionally, at the "I could see that coming a mile away" final scene.

Yes that's Bhavna Limbachia from Coronation St!

The Good
Beautifully filmed, some decent acting from the cream of British drama, and a not too offensive story that you can sit and watch with the whole family.

The Bad
I think they could have done a lot more with the whole supernatural angle that wasn't. And the film comes across a bit more Scooby Doo with the reveals, than say Miss Marple.

I imagine if the film does well, more will be made. Not really a film for me, but I can see a mixture of Pensioners and young kids enjoying this.

I score Miss Willoughby and the Haunted Bookshop a safe 6/10

Out Now on DVD

Friday 11 February 2022

REVIEW: Brazen (2022) - Starring Alyssa Milano, Sam Page and Matthew Finlan

Review by Jon Donnis
Brazen is the latest "straight to Netflix" film released on erm... Netflix. Directed by Monika Mitchell and starring Alyssa Milano, Sam Page and Matthew Finlan, and based on Nora Roberts's novel Brazen Virtue.

Alyssa Milano plays Grace Miller, a mystery novelist with a large following, one day she visits her sister, Kathleen, played by Emilie Ullerup. Kathleen is recently divorced and in a custody battle with her ex. 
Due to her troubles, Kathleen is living in a rundown neighbourhood which surprises her sister Grace. Kathleen needs a decent lawyer, so along with working as a teacher, she moonlights as an online sex performer, think OnlyFans and you get the idea. 

Kathleen is promised full anonymity by the company she works for, Fantasy Inc, however one day she is murdered, and Grace decides to help solve the crime in classic Jessica Fletcher style. (Murder She Wrote)

Grace decides to set a trap for the killer, and masquerade as Desire, the name her sister used previously online.

Granted, the story sounds decent, and the promise of Alyssa Milano appearing in leather is quite enticing. However, the film is terrible. Alyssa Milano has the acting ability of a piece of wood that has sank to the bottom of the ocean, and the sight of her cleavage is simply not enough to warrant anyone to watch this drivel.

You could watch any episode of Murder She Wrote or Columbo, and you would have a better time.

At 90 minutes the film feels about 70 minutes too long. I am happy that some actors got a pay check, but this is one film I would not want on my CV.

The Good
Alyssa Milano in leather near the end of the film with her breasts almost falling out.

The Bad
The writing, the directing, the acting.

If this film comes up as a recommendation on Netflix for you, then cancel your account.

I score Brazen a 1/10 - The 1 is for the leather outfit.

Review by Jon Donnis

Monday 7 February 2022

REVIEW: The Legend of La Llorona (2022)

Review by Jon Donnis
How am I back to reviewing another B movie horror film! This time it is The Legend of La Llorona, starring Autumn Reeser, Antonio Cupo, Danny Trejo, Zamia Fandiño, Josh Zaharia, Fernanda Aguilar, Nicolas Madrazo, Edgar Wuotto, and Angélica Lara.

The basic story revolves around a couple vacationing in Mexico, they discover that their son's disappearance is tied to a supernatural curse. Sounds good right!

The whole film is set in a dense, dark forest, and you know when things are dark from the start, it is a cover for some dodgy special effects. 

Autumn Reeser stars as suburban California mother Carly Candlewood, Antonio Cupo plays her husband Andrew and young son Danny played by Nicolas Madrazo. Carly recently had a miscarriage so what better place to get over that tragedy, than a holiday in a haunted hotel in a corner of Mexico that is spooked by a weeping ghost (La Llorona played by Zamia Fandiño) that likes to steal children and hunt their parents. La Llorona is "weeping" due to her own loss of a child, hence why she is stealing children. 

The strange thing is that the locals seemingly know about all of this and even have posters up of all the missing kids. You would think they would warn holiday makers about this wouldn't you!

La Llorona is getting more and more powerful, and as she does, she becomes more physical than ghost, what follows is a bit of a cat and mouse situation, ghost catches Danny, Danny gets free, Carly fights ghost. Thrown in Danny Trejo as strange heroic taxi driver bodyguard attached to the hotel, also fighting the ghost and that's pretty much your film.

The Good
The film has Danny Trejo in it, and everyone loves Danny Trejo.

The Bad
Super low budget, very repetitive, slightly naff special effects.

Sadly, a bit of a disappointment, the acting falls flat, and although there is an attempt at a few one liners, they never quite hit.
If you are a fan of naff B Movie horror films, maybe you will get something from this.

I score The Legend of La Llorona is poor 4/10

Out on Digital now.

Thursday 3 February 2022

REVIEW: Nightmare Alley (2021) Starring Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, David Strathairn

Order fromAmazon now at -

Review By Jon Donnis
Guillermo del Toro is back with Nightmare Alley, a film that is sure to get plenty of awards. Based on a 1946 novel by William Lindsay Gresham of the same name, stars Bradley Cooper as Stanton Carlisle, we first get introduced to Stanton as he is burning down his family home, and escaping whatever life he previously had. He visits a travelling carnival, and upon watching a few shows, he manages to convince the boss to give him work. He soon befriends Zeena the Seer played by the excellent Toni Collette, a fake psychic/clairvoyant. Early on in the film we get to see the secrets behind some classic psychic trickery, including a famous mentalism trick where by a code is used between two people to give the illusion of transmitting information psychically. She performs this trick with her husband Pete (David Strathairn), in front of Stanton, and just as it seems he is being convinced, they reveal how it is done. If you have any interest in the secrets of psychics and mediums, I advise you to check out, the world's leading site on exposing such things.

Stanton eventually asks Pete to teach him all the tricks of the trade, and we then get the birth of "Master Stanton", with his new assistant Molly played by the lovely Rooney Mara.

What follows is a fascinating and very high-quality film, whereas usually the monsters of Guillermo del Toro films are creepy and horrifying, the monsters in Nightmare Alley are very much the psychological evils of the people involved.

We get to see some classic freak show acts, some real, some not so real, the viewer is drawn in to the story of the "geek", a seemingly feral creature that eats chickens alive, is kept in a cage, and tortured. As the truth comes out, we can only imagine these real-life horrors that happened in the heyday of the freakshow carnivals.

The film ends in a way that only Guillermo del Toro can really get away with, I shall say no more on that.

The Good
High quality of acting and filmmaking. This will get awards across the board, and is definitely a film you should want to see. A very good story that will captivate you.

The Bad
At around 2 hours and 20 minutes, this is a long film, and because it is story heavy, it can feel a little slow at times. 

I really enjoyed Nightmare Alley, and I highly recommend it.
I score Nightmare Alley a solid 9/10

Out Now in Cinemas and Hulu in the UK

Directed by Guillermo del Toro.

Starring Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, David Strathairn, Holt McCallany, Mark Povinelli, Jim Beaver, Romina Power, Paul Anderson, Clifton Collins Jr., David Hewlett, Lara Jean Chorostecki, Drew Nelson, Troy James, Dian Bachar, Linden Porco, and Tim Blake Nelson.