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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Thursday 16 June 2022

REVIEW: Interceptor (2022) - Starring Elsa Pataky and Luke Bracey

Review by Jon Donnis
I had heard a bit about Interceptor, and how it was the worst film ever released on Netflix, the critics all hated it, and it had been panned everywhere.

So of course, I had to watch it, and I am glad I did. I loved the film.

The basic premise of the film is that terrorists attack a remote offshore missile interceptor platform that could stop their missiles, an officer (Elsa Pataky) defends the facility and tries to stop the end of the world.

In an age where strong, female leads either don't exist, or are pushed in a super woke way that just puts off the audience, Interceptor succeeds with a simple kick ass lead in Elsa Pataky as Captain J.J. Collins.

The United States apparently has two "Interceptor" sites, that exist for the sole purpose of shooting down any nuclear missile attacks on the US. Fort Greely in Alaska and remote platform in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 

Captain J.J. Collins has been assigned to the remote platform, after a high-profile case she was involved in, she reported sexual misconduct by a superior office, but she ended up suffering more due to bullying and hazing from other people in the military as revenge for her speaking out.

Not long after arriving, Fort Greely in Alaska is attacked by terrorists and the base is taken off line. Meaning that there is only one way to stop an attack, that being the Station that Collins is now on.

Before you know it the Station in the middle of the ocean is under attack, and it is up to Collins to not only defend the command area, she also has to contend with infiltrators all around her.

Alexander Kessel (Luke Bracey as) is leading the attack against the base, an ex-military intelligence soldier he is working in partnership with the terrorists and wants to destroy 16 American cities which would result in the deaths of over 300 million people, but before he can order his terrorist friends to fire the nukes, he needs to disable the Interceptor base. Throw in a live stream that is broadcasting to the world and Captain J.J. Collins has her work cut out for her.

This is a no-nonsense action thriller, and I think that is why critics hate it, there is no "woke agenda" despite the film having a female lead, as well as a female President, there is no political ideology being forced down your throat, the bad guys are a mix of traitorous Americans and Russian Terrorists, something we have seen a hundred times before. This is just a straight forward action film that does what it says it will, and that is to have a simple story, a lot of fight scenes, and the threat of nuclear disaster if the good guys don't come out on top.

I used to live for films like this in the 80s and 90s, and sadly these days such films just don't get released very often.

Despite a relatively small budget, the special effects are all believable, the fight scenes are fun, and there is also one HUGE recurring cameo in the film from a certain Chris Hemsworth, as the laid-back salesman at an electronics store. In case you didn't know, Chris Hemsworth is married to Elsa Pataky, and also acts as Executive Producer on the film. He is totally uncredited in the film, and at first, I didn't even recognise him.

Time to be totally honest though, the film is very cliche, the story is not particularly original, and is totally predictable. However, saying that, I enjoyed all of it. I didn't check my phone, or get distracted. I just watched, and enjoyed a good old fashioned action thriller, and that is what I wanted, an escape from reality for 90 odd minutes, with a likeable lead character and a dislikeable bad guy. It is filmmaking 101.

The Good
Elsa Pataky is great, such a convincing kick ass lead for an action film, she looked great, I love her accent, and I hope to see her get more leads moving forward in her career.

The Bad
As I said, the story is unoriginal, and there are a few eye rolling moments when the Captain Collins character overcomes ridiculous odds.

I don't care what the mainstream critics say, I enjoyed the hell out of this film. It was fun, it was silly, it was action packed, and it had a satisfying ending and even a mid credits scene!

I score Interceptor a genuine 8/10

Out now on Netflix.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

REVIEW: Seize the Night (2022) - Starring Nina Bergman, Pasha Gerard and Jonathan Erickson Eisley

Review By Jon Donnis
Originally known as Carpe Noctem, Seize the Night is the latest film to star Nina Bergman, who in recent years has been making quite the impact. 

Directed by Gene Blalock, Seize the Night tells the story of a whirlwind, one night romance between a drug dealer GB (Played by Pasha Gerard) and an underground singer in Los Angeles, GG (Played by Nina Bergman)

The start of the film has GG standing on the top of a building, her arms out, seemingly about to jump, but she is quickly stopped by her manager John (Jonathan Erickson Eisley), who wants to know what she is doing, he explains it is not part of the plan, and if they don't see it, they will think something else, the papers are signed.

Straight away you can tell this is going to be a trippy film, the visuals are all incredible.

Drug dealer GB is driving through the night with drugs to sell at a party, he is listening to a "darkwave" band called Sin5, a group that performs under masks to keep their identity a secret, he has been invited to an event that will feature an announcement by his favourite band Sin5. 

The organiser of the party, Windham (Played by Trevor Torseth) tells GB that he has heard about a new mind-altering drug called "suggestives". Windham informs GB that he will double his pay if he can get hold of the drug.

On his way out of the party GB bumps into GG, a young woman who is the lead singer of Sin5, but because she wears a mask when singing, GB has no idea. She joins GB to go score the drugs that Windham has asked for.

What follows is something of a tragic love story, all told within one night.

The fact that the who main characters in the film are only given initials is a really interesting choice by the film makers. It really pushes a very visual feel to the film. The chemistry between the more introverted GB and the more extroverted GG is fascinating to watch, and by the end of the film, you find yourself totally invested in their story, and their love. Despite the story only being told over one night, there are some really highs in their relationship, as well as lows, and despite the relatively small budget of the film, it really surprised me how much I was pulled in, not only by the characters, but by the surroundings of where the story takes place, the Los Angeles nightlife, the underground scene and so on.

It is also rare that I find myself wanting to rewatch a film as soon as it finished, but this is one of those times. I think that most of us can recall nights where we feel like we fell in love with a stranger that we only just met, or a short holiday romance that left an indelible mark on our souls, and because of that, it is easy to understand the story that is being told, how two strangers meet and have this incredible night together, experience so much and mean so much.

I have really tried not to spoil the film, and mention certain events, as I think they are really important to be experienced for the first time when viewing.

The Good
Nina Bergman further cements herself as a top-quality actor, who can play a kick ass role like in Hell Hath No Fury, and a more deep and troubled soul like in Seize the Night, an excellent performance which will only lead to bigger things for her, I am positive. As for Pasha Gerard, this was the first time I had seen him as far as I can recall, and I also thought he played his part really well, and was convincing as the slightly nervous drug dealer. A good story, one that makes you think, and leaves an impression on you the viewer.

The Bad
Due to the nature of the film with regards to drugs and some other events, I think this will be off putting to some, which is a shame as it is worth watching.

I was pleasantly surprised at how invested I felt in the characters by the end of the film, often when watching films I will mess on my phone, but for this one I really was stuck to the screen throughout.
Gene Blalock who directs, has done an excellent job here, and only makes me want to seek out more films by him.

I really enjoyed Seize the Night, and the ending really "got" me, which is rare for this old cynic.

I score Seize the Night a solid 9/10

Check out for more details on the film.
You can also watch at the following links.