Thursday, 30 June 2022

REVIEW: Cryo (2022) - Starring Jyllian Petrie, Emily Marie Palmer, Mason D. Davis, Curt Doussett and Morgan Gunter

Review By Jon Donnis
A simple premise, 5 people wake up from cryosleep, but can't remember anything about themselves including who they are or how long they have been asleep. Before you know it they are being hunted by an unknown assailant.

A pretty simple concept that on paper should lead to a claustrophobic type of horror thriller. Usually this kind of story has people waking up on a spaceship, but this time we are definitely underground on Earth.

So, let's delve a little deeper.


We start of in some kind of underground facility, five scientists wake up, and find themselves released from some kind of cryo chamber, as they wake up, they quickly realise that none of them has much memory about anything. They understand that they were part of some kind of experiment and slowly remember what their roles were, but that's about it, they don't even know their names, just a number on their clothes. There is no one there to welcome them, to check their health, no one at all, despite their chambers having to be opened from the outside.


We have a Psychologist 002 (Jyllian Petrie), Doctor 005 (Emily Marie Palmer),  Soldier 004 (Mason D. Davis), Engineer 001 (Curt Doussett) and Biochemist 003 (Morgan Gunter). The Inventor 000 (Michael Flynn), is nowhere to be found.

The facility has them locked underground with airlocks, which tells them that what is outside could kill them or it could be the key to their survival.


From the beginning you will realise this is a low budget film, and as such it becomes apparent early on that the low budget is going to seriously hamper what should be an exciting horror thriller. Because of that the film has to rely on the characters and their experiences, which include hallucinations, illness, mistrust, and aggression. 

The film tries hard with what it has, and has to rely on dialog heavy scenes, but it suffers from that lack of a budget, and a ridiculously long near 2-hour runtime. I have no idea why the film is so long, at best this should be an 80-minute film, especially with such a low budget.

Of course, the film has a twist, and you find out everything you need to by the end, and to be fair the twist is a decent one, and by far the best part of the film.


The Good
The concept is good, and I liked the ending.

The Bad
Way too long, and really dragged down by a low budget a poor character development.

Overall
The film has something there, it just fails to completely unlock it in a way that is worthy for the viewer.
Uninspiring characters and a long run time spoil it. The ending was the best part, and that should have been expanded.

I score Cryo a 6/10.

Out now on Digital and On Demand.

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

REVIEW: Hustle (2022) - Starring Adam Sandler, Queen Latifah, Ben Foster and Juancho Hernangómez


Review by Jon Donnis
I genuinely cant remember the last rags to riches sports film I have seen, so when I saw "Hustle" pop up, I thought I would give it a look, plus it stars Adam Sandler who I happen to think is great.

Now I am not a big basketball fan, and other than a few very big names, (Shaq, Lebron and Magic Johnson) I couldn't really tell you who was who, and which team was the best. So I come to this film purely as a casual viewer, and not a fan of the sport.


Adam Sandler stars as NBA scout Stanley Sugerman, who scouts for the Philadelphia 76ers, his life mainly consists of him being on the road constantly looking for the stars of tomorrow. While the owner of Philadelphia 76ers Rex Merrick (Robert Duvall) likes him, Merrick's son and co-owner Vincent (Ben Foster) seems to clash with Stanley on a philosophical level when it comes to the game.

Due to the toll that the travel is having on his home life, Rex promotes Stanley to assistant coach, which means he can spend more time at home with his wife Teresa (Queen Latifah) and his daughter Alex (Jordan Hull), but just as he does that Rex passes away and his son is left in charge. Three months later and Vincent demotes Stanley back to the scout position, and sends him overseas to find a new star for the team.


While in Spain he struggles to find a player that is good enough, so one evening Stanley goes to watch a local pick-up game, (just random street players, playing for money etc). It is at this game that Stanley spots a young Hustler (hence the name of the film). He manages to follow the kid home, and manages to convince him he is not crazy by facetiming with Dirk Nowitzki (a former German professional basketball player who is a special advisor for NBA team The Dallas Mavericks.) This convinces the young man that Stanley is who he claims to be, that being a Scout for the 76ers.


The young man is Bo Cruz (Played by real life NBA star Juancho Hernangómez), Stanley sits down with Bo, his mother Paola and his young daughter, who tell him his life story.

Stanley arranges for Bo to have a workout with members of the Spanish national team, to see how he would cope with professional players. Instantly impressed Stanley rings up the 76ers front office and urges them to sign Bo immediately, but Vincent is not interested.


Stanley decides to bring Bo to the US and convinces Bo that he will get signed if he just goes with him. Bo agrees.

From this point on the story hits full gear. The highs and lows of trying to make it, the stresses of missing your child, and the pressure put upon you to succeed. We get training montages, encouraging music, a big rival, the works. And if you are a fan of basketball the film is full of recognisable people, from current NBA players, to coaches, commentators, and former players.


Adam Sandler gives one of his better performances, and although there is funny moments in the film, this is not a straight comedy as you might expect, yes Sandler does get to shout a bit, but instead of it being done for laughs, he is showing genuine emotion of his character.

Juancho Hernangómez does a good job as Bo, but you can tell he is not a trained actor, however that in many ways helps the character seem more convincing, sometimes in films like this, the underdog character, the rags to riches character can come across as too polished, and that just reminds you, it is just an actor playing a role, but Juancho Hernangómez really makes you believe, and you find yourself wondering how much of what you are saying is the character and how much is the real man.


Is the film cliche? Yes of course it is. Is it predictable? Yes completely, from reading the synopsis, you already know how the film will finish, but that doesn't matter as you will enjoy the ride. 

The Good
Adam Sandler delivers his best performance in years, and reminds the viewer what a great talent he is. Juancho Hernangómez comes across as genuine throughout, and if you love basketball you will really love this film.

The Bad
A little long at 1h 55m, and Queen Latifah seemed like a strange person for the roll of Stanley's wife, and she hardly does anything in the film other than cheer them on. 

Overall
Great film for basketball fans and non fans alike, if you enjoy a good sports film, then this is worth a shot.
I thoroughly enjoyed Hustle and score it a very strong 9/10

Out Now on Netflix

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

REVIEW: Turbo Cola (2022) - Stars Samantha Oty, Luke Covert and Matthew Kiskis

Review by Jon Donnis
Turbo Cola is set right before the millennium in 1999, a time I remember well. The film starts with a TV report talking about what the 21st Century will bring, and straight away for those old enough, you get a feeling of nostalgia and a hope that this film will take you back to forgotten time before Smart Phones and Social Media.


Austin, (played by Nicholas Stoesser) works at the Quality Mart gas station, he has decided he wants to rob the ATM there, and along with his friend Swearsky, (played by Jared Spears), they start to plan how they are going to do it. Austin talks about his dream of moving to New York for Mary Jane, (played by Jordyn Denning) who will start University there soon. Because they plan to rob the ATM on NYE of the Millenium, it means they are going to miss the party of a lifetime.

Sadly, if you were hoping for something of a buddy heist film, or a teenage comedy, you will be sorely disappointed. The film fails on both fronts.

The whole film pretty much takes place in the gas station, characters come and go, and we have something of a coming-of-age story, the problem is everything is just so dull for way too long.

The climax of the film is well done, but to get there you have to try to stay awake for nearly an hour, and this is a huge problem, by the time the film gets any good, you have lost all interest.

The film fails due to its budget, and dull writing.


The Good
The set up at the start is great, the last 20 minutes are decent. The actors do the best with what they are given, and the Gas Station looks the part.

The Bad
Everything in between the setup and the end. It is just so dull. Nothing grabs your attention, and you will not care about the characters.

Overall
90 minutes I won't get back. Just a dull film. If you can see it for free, maybe you will find something in it that I missed.
But the film just wasn't for me, when really, I am the perfect age for the viewer, that this film should be aiming for.

I score Turbo Cola a poor 3/10
Out Now on Digital.

COMPETITION: Win Martyrs Lane on DVD


Martyrs Lane DVD - Released from 4th July

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

Synopsis: 
FOR A night of haunting dread and claustrophobic terror visit Martyrs Lane if you dare. Acclaimed writer and director Ruth Platt (The Black Forrest) brings the chills in this powerful ghost story starring respected actor Denise Gough (Too Close, Guerrilla), that has been certified fresh with 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Now this Shudder Original is set to arrive on UK DVD and digital courtesy of Acorn Media International on 4 July 2022.

Leah (Kiera Thompson – The Emily Atack Show) feels like a stranger in her own home – a large, creaky, old Victorian vicarage where she lives with her distant mother Sarah (Gough) and distracted father Thomas (Steven Cree – Outlaw King, Outlander). Leah’s days are spent tip-toeing the house in isolation, where during the night, the dark empty spaces provide plenty of room for her nightmares to creep in.

One night, Leah is visited by a mysterious young girl in a white dress (Hannah Rae – Carmilla, City of Tiny Lights), who offers her a sense of comfort. In the hope that her shadowy guest might be able to answer some questions about Leah’s absent mother, the two girls begin to play a game. But fun quickly becomes fearsome as Leah realises that her guest holds knowledge that could be incredibly dangerous...

Boasting compelling performances from two young actresses, Platt’s ghostly gothic fairy-tale is a highly atmospheric and breathtakingly evocative exploration of loss, grief, and fear. Conjuring the sense of dread of childhood bad dreams, this unsettling yet deeply moving psychological thriller promises exhilarating anxiety and foreboding fear.

Take a trip down Martyrs Lane for a hauntingly intense cinematic fearfest.

Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/3OtXj70

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

COMPETITION CLOSED


Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 11-07-22
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 True Things on either DVD or Blu-ray


True Things on DVD & Blu-ray  - Released from 4th July

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 DVDs and 1 Blu-ray to give away.

Synopsis: 
Following its critically acclaimed theatrical release, psychological drama TRUE THINGS is set for its home entertainment release this Summer from Picturehouse Entertainment.

Ruth Wilson takes the lead in a mesmerising, critically acclaimed performance as a disillusioned benefits officer who embarks on an intoxicating affair with the mysterious blonde (Tom Burke) and her world is turned upside down. Hayley Squires also stars.

Adapted from Deborah Kay Davis’ book True Things About Me and directed by BIFA-winning and BAFTA-nominated British director Harry Wootliff, who has been described as ‘unreservedly one of the most fearless young filmmakers around’ (Film Stories), the film is produced by Tristan Goligher, Ben Jackson, Ruth Wilson and Jude Law.

Bored by the daily tedium of her office job, Kate (Ruth Wilson) is sleepwalking through life when a chance sexual encounter with a charismatic stranger (Tom Burke) awakens her. High on infatuation and the exhilaration of this new relationship, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to this mysterious new man. Hoping he will provide the escape she so desperately desires, she embarks on an emotionally dangerous journey that slowly begins to consume her. Adapted from Deborah Kay Davies’s acclaimed novel ‘True Things About Me’, Harry Wootliff’s new film is an intense and absorbing psychological drama.
 
Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/3P45Sp5

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

COMPETITION CLOSED


Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 11-07-22
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, 26 June 2022

REVIEW: Jurassic World Dominion (2022) - Starring T-Rex, Velociraptor and Allosaurus

Review by Jon Donnis
We have another big Hollywood Blockbuster to review, this time it is Jurassic World Dominion, which is seemingly the third in the Jurassic World trilogy and 6th movie in the franchise altogether.

To be brutally honest, I was not a fan of the Jurassic World films, I think the franchise should have been left alone after the first two Jurassic Park films. After them, everything just seemed too obvious, and lacking in originality.


Jurassic World Dominion is set four years after the cataclysmic volcanic eruption on Isla Nublar and the Lockwood Estate incident. Now dinosaurs freely roam the world, and as you can imagine this is causing all manner of problems, causing ecological disasters, as well as native species being attacked and destroyed.

In the Dolomite Mountains in Italy, Biosyn Genetics has established a dinosaur sanctuary where they conduct genetic research on Dinosaurs, using that research for pharmacological and agronomic purposes. Think Pfizer and Bill Gates and you get the idea of the kind of evil you are dealing with.


Claire Dearing, Zia Rodriguez, and Franklin Webb, are still with the Dinosaur Protection Group, and they investigate illegal dinosaur breeding sites. Fan favourite Chris Pratt stars as Owen Grady, who now works as a dino wrangler, helping to relocate stray dinosaurs.

Claire and Owen live together in a remote cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where they are also raising Benjamin Lockwood's secret cloned granddaughter Maisie. They want to protect her from Biosyn who would study her unique DNA and use that for evil big business type things.

Of course, we need a big disaster, and as it happens giant locusts have re-appeared and are destroying food crops, but coincidentally crops grown by Biosyn are untouched, pointing to a big conspiracy.


And well the rest you can probably guess. Throw in some of the stars of the original Jurassic Park films, Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant and Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler, and you have a mixture of new and original characters. The problem is that you are given little reason to really care about any of the characters.

The biggest problem this film faces is that it offers nothing new, previous films went all out, and really left the franchise in a dead end. So, all they could do is rehash some old storylines, bring back some nostalgic characters, and repeat the kind of dino scenes we have all seen before. T-Rex fights Allosaurus, Velociraptors chase people, you know the drill.

The horror elements that made the original films so good are all gone. There is little to any humour. The bad guy is very meh, and the good guys I really felt no emotional connection to at all.


This, like the other Jurassic World films are made for kids, and that doesn't have to be a bad thing, but for fans of the original films, this is just a paint by numbers film. Nothing particularly bad about it, it will do a huge number at the box office, and I am sure kids will love it. But it is not the ending of the series that some of us hoped for. Jurassic Park was a horror film, Jurassic World Dominion is an action film, and I suppose that is my biggest gripe.

The only realistic way this franchise should have finished, is with the human race being hunted down and destroyed by dinosaurs, pointing to extinction for the human race, that is how this franchise should have ended, with the humans being replaced by their own creation. But I guess that would not sell as many toys. Hollywood has gotten so greedy, and I wonder sometimes if it has lost the magic that made the original Jurassic Park such a classic. With the exception of Top Gun Maverick, have Hollywood released a decent Blockbuster in the last 5 years? I mean a real blockbuster, that is an instant classic?

The Good
Perfectly decent story, good acting throughout, special effects are perfect, CGI is excellent.

The Bad
Offers nothing new to the franchise and a totally predictable story.

Overall
Another big money cash in, to keep selling toys to kids, and keep the money rolling in.

I score Jurassic World Dominion a disappointing 5/10

In cinemas now

Friday, 24 June 2022

NEWS: Crucible of the Vampire gets a 2022 Directors Cut Release!

Ghost Dog Films, the British independent film and video game company has released a new version of their award nominated retro-style gothic thriller Crucible of the Vampire.

The 2022 Director’s Cut features new footage and a remastered soundtrack of the imaginative British gothic chiller which has strong echoes of Tigon, Hammer and M R James ghost stories. With the launch of a new trailer to support the 2022 Director’s Cut, it can now be viewed on Amazon Prime and AVOD Streaming channels including Tubi, Plex and Google TV.



Theatrically released in the UK through Showcase cinemas in early 2019, Crucible of the Vampire was then released via UK Home Entertainment and nominated for Best Thriller at the National UK Film Awards 2020.
Crucible of the Vampire is a devilishly delightful, genre throwback starring Katie Goldfinch in the lead role of Isabelle alongside Neil Morrissey (Men Behaving Badly, Line of Duty), Larry Rew (Underworld, Lord of the Rings) and Florence Cady who stars as the beautiful but dangerous Scarlet.
Amanda Murray, producer with Ghost Dog Films says: “Crucible of the Vampire is a fresh take on classic horror and favours story and mood over cheap shocks or gore. It’s a creepy and intelligently crafted tale of mystery and terror.”
Director Iain Ross-McNamee said 
“When Crucible of the Vampire was released in 2019 I realised not everyone was understanding the tone of the film. Lockdown was a great opportunity to go back and rework it in a way that explained the story more clearly.

As well as re-cutting the picture edit, I wanted to go further with the atmosphere by changing the colour grade on several scenes to create a far moodier feel for the film. We’ve also pushed the emotion with an overhauled soundtrack and mix that features additional music from my frequent collaborator, Michelle Bee.

There are various other tweaks and enhancements, including two entirely new scenes and other additional footage and effects. This is my preferred version of the film which I feel brings a much better energy and flow to the story.”



Tuesday, 21 June 2022

REVIEW: White Elephant (2022) - Starring Michael Rooker, Bruce Willis, Olga Kurylenko and John Malkovich

Review by Jon Donnis
Is this my 5th or 6th Bruce Willis film review this year? The last few times I was certain it would be the last ever new Bruce Willis release due to his recent health diagnosis, but here we are again.

This time we have something of a star-studded cast for White Elephant.

Michael Rooker (a regular in Bruce Willis films this year) plays Gabriel Tancredi, and he is the lead character in the film, as you know by now Bruce Willis in maybe his last 10 films has played more of a cameo type of role.


Tancredi is an enforcer for mob boss Arnold Solomon, (played by Bruce Willis), he has Carlos Garcia (Vadhir Derbez) deal with a rival of Solomon. As he blows him up, it just so happens that a couple of cops Vanessa Flynn (Olga Kurylenko) and Walter Koschek (Michael Rose) are tailing him and witness the explosion. Garcia escapes, but realising that the cops saw him, Solomon gives him 48 hours to take them out. Koschek is easy enough but Flynn quickly becomes a problem.


At this point you would think that the film would centre on Vanessa Flynn, a cop formerly in the military and suffering with PTSD from her deployment in Afghanistan, but instead it centres on Tancredi, as he takes care of another rival, and does the bidding of Solomon, eventually Tancredi's conscience catches up with him, mainly due to the death of his wife, he turns on Solomon and sort of partners with Flynn.


Throw in John Malkovich as dodgy lawyer for hire Glen Follett, who likes to quote ancient Greeks, (something I appreciated) and you have a decent cast, with a decent story, and pretty much 85 minutes of non stop action.

And I have to say that Bruce Willis, despite hardly being in the film, actually gets a pretty badass scene, when some rival bad guys try to take him out, but end up shooting his wife.


Overall though Rooker steals the show here, he gets the best lines, including some funny ones, he is the character you care most about, and even when he is still firmly on the bad side of things, you find yourself wanting him to succeed.

I rather enjoyed White Elephant, when I expected it to just be another low budget, straight to DVD type cash in, instead I thought it was well acted. The action scenes are all believable, and the lead character is one you will not only like but get behind, despite him starting out as a bad guy.


The Good
Great action scenes, strong performance by Michael Rooker, and good storytelling throughout.

The Bad
It is sad to see Bruce Willis at this point in his career, and reading interviews with the filmmakers, and knowing what Willis was going through, it makes me quite sad to see him.

Overall
Straightforward action film, that ticks all the boxes. Believable action scenes, fun one liners, and a strong cast.

I score White Elephant a solid 8/10

Out now in Cinemas and also streaming on AMC+


Interview with Chris Sivertson, director of Monstrous

Ahead of the UK digital release of his feature film MONSTROUS, writer / director Chris Sivertson talks about the joy of working with Christina Ricci, monstrous inspirations and why horror films are our modern-day fairy tales.


What drew you to take the helm on MONSTROUS, given that you usually direct films you've either written or co-written?

Christina Ricci was already attached to the script when it came to me so that was a huge draw. I've loved her as an actress for decades and have always admired the interesting choices she makes in material. Then I got even more excited when I read the script. I just thought it was a beautiful and emotional story and it clicked perfectly with my sensibilities. I saw pretty clearly what I could bring to it as a filmmaker.


You drew a magnificent performance from Christina Ricci. What was it like directing her?

I had a fantastic time working with Christina. She has extensive experience and is such a great talent. Her instincts about the character were deeply intuitive. It's an intense role because the material is pretty heavy. And on a practical level it was very demanding because she is essentially in every scene of the movie. It's a true character study and the character is put through an emotional rollercoaster. Christina is able to delve into deep and dark emotions very quickly and then she's able to let go of those feelings just as quickly - at least that's how it seemed from my perspective. That ability of hers made for a very enjoyable working experience. Even when we were dealing with some pretty depressing stuff, her professionalism and wicked sense of humour kept things fun on set. That was important because we had so many logistical challenges in making a pretty ambitious low budget movie during the height of the pandemic. The crew loved her.

Full Interview at


Monday, 20 June 2022

COMPETITION: Win Appointment In London (Vintage Classics) on Bluray



Appointment In London (Vintage Classics) on Blu-ray  - Released from 27th June

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

Synopsis: 
Part of the Romulus Film Catalogue, this much loved though rarely seen classic war film will be available to own on Blu-Ray for the very first time when it is released on June 27. DVD and Digital versions will be released on the same day.

Starring Dirk Bogarde (The Servant, Death in Venice) and directed by Philip Leacock (Reach for Glory, ‘Gunsmoke’), APPOINTMENT IN LONDON boasts an outstanding supporting cast including Ian Hunter (The Adventures of Robin Hood, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), Dinah Sheridan (The Railway Children, Genevieve), William Sylvester (2001: A Space Odyssey, Gorgo), Bryan Forbes (The Guns of Navarone), Bill Kerr (Gallipoli, Peter Pan) and Walter Fitzgerald (The Fallen Idol, Treasure Island). 

Featuring brand-new bonus material and looking better than ever, the film is a welcome addition to the ever-expanding Vintage Classics collection.

Wing Commander Tim Mason (Sir Dirk Bogarde) leads a squadron of Lancaster bombers on almost nightly raids from England. Having flown eighty-seven missions, he will shortly be retiring from flying, but the strain is showing. With losses mounting and several raids being seen as failures, members of his crew, Brown (Bill Kerr) and "The Brat" Greeno (Bryan Forbes) among them, are thinking that there must be a "jinx" at work.

Trying to make sure his men concentrate only on their job, Mason keeps women away from the base until he meets Naval Officer Eve Canyon (Dinah Sheridan)….
 

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

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

COMPETITION CLOSED

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 04-07-22
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 Bisping on Blu-ray



Bisping  Bluray - Released from 27th June

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

Synopsis: 
Uncover the life and incredible career of British UFC legend and former Middleweight Champion, Michael Bisping, in this compelling feature documentary.

When fan-favourite Bisping lost vision in one eye during a controversial fight, survival mode kicked in. As his loving wife and children pleaded for the battered and bruised fighter to hang up his gloves, he made the only decision he knew was right. Featuring candid insights from Bisping himself, alongside stars from the sport and screen, including Dana White, Georges St-Pierre, Joe Rogan, Vin Diesel, Mickey Rourke, Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White and more, this is an unmissable portrait of one man’s determination to succeed, and what it takes to be the best.
 
Dazzler Media presents Bisping, the new star-studded documentary charting the life and career of British UFC legend, Michael Bisping, coming to Blu-ray and DVD from 27th June. 

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

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

COMPETITION CLOSED

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 04-07-22
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 Blue Bayou on Blu-ray



Blue Bayou Blu-ray  - Released from 20th June

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

Synopsis: 
From award-winning writer/director Justin Chon (Gook, Twilight) and inspired by true events, Blue Bayou is the moving and timely story of an American family fighting for their future.

Antonio LeBlanc (Chon), a uniquely Korean adoptee raised in a small town in the Louisiana bayou, is married to the love of his life Kathy (Alicia Vikander, The Green Knight, Ex Machina) and stepdad to their beloved daughter Jessie. Struggling to make a better life for his family, he must confront the ghosts of his past when he discovers that he could be deported from the only country he has ever called home.
 
Dazzler Media presents the moving and timely Blue Bayou, coming to Blu-ray and DVD from 27th June. The film is written, directed by and stars Justin Chon and Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander.

Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/3beV74w

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

COMPETITION CLOSED

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 04-07-22
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.

Saturday, 18 June 2022

REVIEW: IP Man The Awakening (2022)

Review by Jon Donnis
In what seems like an endless series of TV shows and Films to feature IP Man, we are once again back with Ip Man, most famously portrayed by legendary actor Donnie Yen in the first 4 films, and then Dennis To in Ip Man: Kung Fu Master, we have a new actor taking on the role, this time it is Tse Miu, or is that Miu Tse, Mo Tse, Tze Miu, Xia Miao, Xie Miao. Look, his name in Chinese is 謝苗, and he seems to have multiple names when translated into English. Anyway, despite being only a few years younger than Dennis To, Tse Miu is seemingly playing a much younger version of Ip Man. 


Set in the 1930s, Ip Man finds himself visiting Hong Kong for the first time, and this is a British run Hong Kong, so the Brits are firmly portrayed as the bad guys here. Brits are rounding up young Chinese women as part of a giant human trafficking ring. They have paid off the Hong Kong police and the locals don't seem to care too much as they are getting in on the action too.

One day Ip Man intervenes when he sees a kidnapping attempt, and by doing so inserts himself right in the middle of trouble and a head on collision with those evil Brits. The bad guys kidnap a friend of his, and now he has to challenge the top guy in a brutal fight, and see whose Kung Fu is best!


One interesting aspect of the film, is the use of an old British martial arts technique called Bartitsu, which outside of The Kingsman and Sherlock Holmes, I have not seen it mentioned or used in any other film, and especially not to this level.

Where as the other Ip Man films are much more serious affairs, I found that The Awakening, especially in the early parts of the film, is a much more light-hearted affair, closer in style to some Jackie Chan films, which was a nice change.


Seeing Tse Miu take on the role is a tricky one for me, he looks much younger than he is in real life, but he also looks very different to both Donnie Yen and Dennis To, who did kind of look similar. So, fans of the other films will instantly find a totally different looking actor playing the part a bit strange. But once you get passed that, I think Tse Miu does a good job playing Ip Man at a much younger age.

The fight scenes are all of the highest quality, and like I mentioned, some of those early scenes are very Jackie Chan like in the use of objects and surroundings, which I did enjoy.

The film is only 1h20m, so a great length to keep the action moving along at a fast pace. A satisfying if predictable ending, as well a decent story helps the film tick every box you would want it to.


The Good
Fun Chinese martial arts film, with some excellent choreography, and strong performances.

The Bad
Some of the early fight scenes in the film are a bit choppy camera wise but do improve towards the end.

Overall
A good film for people new to the franchise as well as fans of the other 5 films.

I score IP Man The Awakening a solid 8/10

Friday, 17 June 2022

REVIEW: Memory (2022) - Starring Liam Neeson, Guy Pearce and Monica Bellucci

Review by Jon Donnis
Directed by Martin Campbell, Memory is the latest film to feature Liam Neeson as a man with a very particular set of skills.

Liam Neeson stars as an aging hitman with early onset dementia who must go on the run after declining a contract on a young girl.


No one has been typecast in their career more than Liam Neeson I think it is fair to say. But despite being 70, he manages to still seem credible in such parts.

The film starts with Alex Lewis (played by Neeson) living in Mexico, he is a contract killer, but he is suffering from early onset Dementia. Alex also has a brother who is a resident at a nursing home in El Paso due to his dementia

Alex works for Davana Sealman (Monica Bellucci). He is given the job of taking out Ellis Van Camp, an El Paso man who is a builder for the Texas Central Processing Facility.


Meanwhile at the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, Special Agent Vincent Serra (Guy Pearce) is undercover, trying to bring down a human trafficker named Papillion. Papillion trafficked a 13-year-old called Beatriz. Serra ends up killing Papillion after he tries to use the girl as a human shield.

Are you following all of this, it is getting very complicated I know.


Back with Alex and he kills his target, and steals some flash drives, but on the drives it shows Sealman's son Randy (Josh Taylor) having sex with the previously mentioned 13-year-old called Beatriz.


After Beatriz is taken to Child Protective Services, Alex is then ordered to kill her as his next contract, but he refuses. Beatriz is subsequently killed by someone else, and now Alex is after Sealman. And I think you can pretty much guess the rest of the film.

The story is slightly over complicated, when really all we need to know is that Neeson is pissed off, wants revenge, and is going after the bad guys. 

Neeson is Neeson, there is nothing in his performance that you haven't seen him do countless times before, however that said, he is really good at playing this kind of character, he is believable, he is likeable, and you want him to succeed.


The Good
Neeson doing what he does best, being the gravelly voiced guy with a very particular set of skills. The action scenes are all well produced. Guy Pearce puts in a strong performance as Special Agent Vincent Serra.

The Bad
Much like many other Liam Neeson films, you could cut and edit parts of this film, merge them into other films, and you would notice no difference between the characters. Unoriginal story, and a bit too long at 1h45m.

Overall
If you are a Liam Neeson fan, you know exactly what to expect, and to its credit the film delivers exactly that.
If you have never seen a Liam Neeson film, then starting with this one is a perfectly fine starting point.

I am a Neeson fan, and I know the film is unoriginal, I have seen this kind of film endlessly over the years, but I still enjoyed it.

I score Memory a fair 7/10

Pre-order now at https://amzn.to/3QtJV49