Wednesday 30 November 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I score Smile a solid 8.5/10

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

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

Tuesday 29 November 2022

TRAILER: Babylon - Starring Brad Pitt & Margot Robbie

From Damien Chazelle, BABYLON is an original epic set in 1920s Los Angeles led by Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Diego Calva, with an ensemble cast including Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li and Jean Smart. A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, it traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood.


Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, P.J. Byrne, Lukas Haas, Olivia Hamilton, Tobey Maguire, Max Minghella, Rory Scovel, Katherine Waterston, Flea, Jeff Garlin, Eric Roberts, Ethan Suplee, Samara Weaving, Olivia Wilde 


Monday 28 November 2022

TRAILER: Christmas in the Caribbean - Starring Elizabeth Hurley


Get ready for a festive escape this December with Christmas in the Caribbean, the new feature from Philippe Martinez. The inimitable Elizabeth Hurley stars as unlucky-in-love theatre critic Rachel Webb – a hopeless romantic, who thinks she’s met the one – but he turns out to be the wrong one.

Left at the altar, just before Christmas… Rachel holes up at home ready to curl up and give up… but her Mum (Stephanie Beacham), has other ideas and persuades her to round up her besties to turn what should have been her honeymoon, into the holiday of a lifetime. Landing on a dream island in the Caribbean, Rachel and her two best friends Amanda (Caroline Quentin) and Rebecca (played by Nathalie Cox who also co-wrote the film) get ready to enjoy the delights the island has to offer. The tenacious trio are determined to make this a trip to remember.

Elizabeth Hurley stars as an unlucky-in-love woman whose fortunes could be about to change in this fabulously fun-packed festive feature When they end up at the fabulous local restaurant, Rachel clicks with owner Alessandro (Edoardo Costa)… could this finally be it? But the course of love never did run smooth, particularly with Alessandro’s daughter Monica around… she has other ideas. Will Rachel finally find love with the man of her dreams?

For a festive, fun-filled British romcom take Christmas in the Caribbean it’s gonna be hot hot hot!

Released on digital 5 December -

Saturday 26 November 2022

REVIEW: Avarice (2022) - Stars Gillian Alexy, Luke Ford, Tom O'Sullivan and Priscilla-Anne Forder

Review by Jon Donnis
Director John V. Soto has started to build a decent reputation for himself, and his latest film Avarice, has just been released, in which he hopes will grow his reputation even more.

The film starts off with a break in and a murder of a couple in their home. Straight away we know who the bad guys are.

Soon after we are introduced to Gillian Alexy who plays Kate Matthews, a gifted archer in this Australian thriller, she is facing typical family and home problems, a moody teenager and a husband who works too much. Unfortunately, the stress of these problems gets in her head while performing in an archery contest, she misses an easy shot and comes second in the tournament to long-time rival.

The family go off on vacation, but during the vacation, Kate's husband Ash (Luke Ford) takes a call from the office, who are looking for a colleague of his, of course this further annoys Kate.

They arrive at their vacation house, and settle in.

Before you know it, those bad guys we saw earlier,  Reed (Alexandra Nell) and Kane (Ryan Panizza) have kidnapped Ash and tied up Kate and her daughter. They want to use Ash and his knowledge of the banking industry to steal money for them, $10 million to be exact. And of course, he has just 3 hours to do it.

What follows is a pretty straight forward home invasion, abduction, kidnaping type film. We mainly follow the Kate Matthews character, as she escapes her bonds and tries to escape, eventually getting to use her archery skills to take out the bad guys and save the day.

Gillian Alexy is very believable as Kate Matthews, and you will find yourself cheering her on. There are a few twists and turns here and there, but everything is quite predictable, although that is not necessarily a bad thing if the movie is good.

The Good
Perfect run time of 84 minutes, means this is an easy to watch thriller. Gillian Alexy is the stand out performance here, although I did quite like Alexandra Nell as Reed, one of the main baddies. She is also very convincing in her role. Although the ending is predictable, it is satisfying, and the right people get taken care of.

The Bad
Takes way too long for the Kate character to get her hands on the bow and arrow, and if the film had a higher certificate, we could have perhaps seen some more fun kills.

A perfectly watchable Australian Thriller. You may only watch it once, but you will enjoy it. Easy to consume, decent characters, a simple plot and short run time. I liked it.

I score Avarice (2022) a fair 7.5/10

Out now on VOD and Apple TV at

POSTER: Steven Spielberg's THE FABELMANS


Entertainment One (eOne) today released the new UK Poster for THE FABELMANS, which comes to cinemas across the UK & Ireland from 27th January 2023.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, THE FABELMANS is written by Spielberg and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, who has earned Oscar® nominations for his screenplays for Spielberg’s Lincoln and Munich. The film is produced by three-time Oscar® nominee Kristie Macosko Krieger p.g.a., Steven Spielberg p.g.a. and Tony Kushner p.g.a. The film is executive produced by Carla Raij and Josh McLaglen.

The film stars Gabriel LaBelle as 16-year-old aspiring filmmaker Sammy Fabelman; four-time Academy Award® nominee Michelle Williams as his artistic mother, Mitzi; Paul Dano as his successful, scientific father, Burt; Seth Rogen as Bennie Loewy, Burt’s best friend and honorary “uncle” to the Fabelman children, and Academy Award® nominee Judd Hirsch as Mitzi’s Uncle Boris.

THE FABELMANS is in cinemas across UK and Ireland from 27th January 2023

Thursday 24 November 2022

REVIEW: Enola Holmes 2 (2022) - Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Louis Partridge and Henry Cavill

Review by Jon Donnis
I had never heard of Enola Holmes, so when I saw the film Enola Holmes 2 had been released, I wondered how I missed the first one. Well it seems that the first one just like the sequel is a straight to Netflix release, and it did quite well, So I actually watched Enola Holmes (2020) yesterday, so I would understand the characters better in Enola Holmes 2.

Enola Holmes was based on the 2007 novel The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer. 

The general idea is that Sherlock Holmes has a younger sister, she travels to London to find her missing mother, Eudoria Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter), but ends up trying to solve a mystery with a newly made friend who happens to be a runaway Lord.

In Enola Holmes 2, Enola is back, and being a few years older, she has now started her own detective agency, because why not. Unfortunately, Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) is struggling to get clients, because she is just a girl, and now has to prove she is just as good as her famous older brother Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill).

Just as Enola is closing her shop due to lack of clients, a young girl called Bessie (Serrana Su-Ling Bliss) who works in a match factory approaches her for help, her sister Sarah Chapman (Hannah Dodd) has gone missing. Bessie takes Enola to the factory so she can start to investigate. 

We then get plenty of girl power moments, Enola helping her struggling brother, blackmailing of government officials, Enola breaking secret codes, and even a love interest in Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge).

All in all, this is a decent film, it has plenty of eye rolling moments, as well as some historically accurate moments of feminism. If you enjoyed the first film, then this is a no brainer, you will like it. If you never saw the first film, then you might find yourself more interested in the Sherlock Holmes character, in fact I was very interested to see Henry Cavill take on such a famous role, even if he is a supporting character in this film, I think a proper film with him as the lead would be interesting, as I don't think we have ever had a tall, muscular, handsome man in the role, usually we get nerdy types, skinny types, weird American actors and so on. 

And yes there are plenty of "Woke Boxes" ticked, including the hilarious reveal of who is Moriarty, (which I wont spoil, but it is about as woke as you can get) and the even more hilarious casting of Dr Watson at the very end, who is now Indian! To be fair we have had Lucy Lui as Watson in the past.

This is the kind of film that women will enjoy more than men. It is a feminist film, with a lot of silly-ness. Some is good, some is laughably bad. But there is a decent story in there, and I am sure they will make a third film.

The Good
Henry Cavill as Sherlock is fascinating casting, and his performance stands out as something you will remember. A decent story, and a strong feminist message.

The Bad
They just had to go down the woke tick box. Look you already basically have a female version of Sherlock, is that not enough? Oh, and at over 2 hours this is a long film. No need to be that long.

Despite a few issues, I still liked the film, and I also enjoyed the first one (which I think is the superior film). So it is worth watching, and if you can try to ignore some of the ridiculous casting choices, there is a decent film here.

I score Enola Holmes 2 a fair 7/10. Watch the 2020 film first, and then watch this sequel.

Out now on Netflix at

Wednesday 23 November 2022

TRAILER: Savage Justice - Starring Jack Huston, Willa Fitzgerald, Robert De Niro and John Malkovich


If Commando was set in the Louisiana swamplands, you’d have Savage Justice. Newly engaged Shelby John (Jack Huston, Kill Your Darlings) and Ruby Red (Willa Fitzgerald, Scream: The TV Series) want a fresh start after their struggles with addiction, but when Shelby discovers his beloved Ruby dead on their porch, he embarks on a vengeful killing spree of the dealers who supplied her. 

Armed with nothing but adrenaline and a nail gun, Shelby begins to unleash chaos on the town’s criminal underbelly, gradually making his way to the crime lord Coyote (Quavo, The First Purge). 

Sheriff Church (Robert De Niro, Raging Bull) must race against the clock to put an end to Shelby's vigilante justice before the entire town descends into a bloodbath – even if that means putting him down. Also starring John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich), Savage Justice is directed by Randall Emmett (Silence, End of Watch) and written by Adam Taylor Barker and Chris Sivertson (I Know Who Killed Me). 

Signature Entertainment presents Savage Justice on Digital Platforms 12th December and DVD 13th February

Pre-Order on DVD at

REVIEW: Where's Rose (2022) - Starring Ty Simpkins and Skyler Elyse Philpot

Review by Jon Donnis
A 78-minute horror thriller! This is right up my street. I have had Where's Rose queued up to watch for a while, and kept putting it back, I wish I hadn't waited so long, as this is a smart little film.

Eric Daniels (played by Ty Simpkins) is about to leave for college, but just before he is about to go, his younger sister Rose Daniels (played by the very talented Skyler Elyse Philpot) goes missing. The only clue you have at first is when she talks of an imaginary friend to her mother. 

Before you know it, Rose is found, and everything seems ok, but of course this is a horror film, so there has to be more to it. Eric watches his sister and is quickly convinced that something is wrong, and that something has changed about her. We then get the obligatory black eyes scene from Rose as she looks at her brother who is snooping on her through a gap in the door. He freaks out, but will anyone believe him?

Most of the film is pretty standard horror fare, a young girl has gone missing, and now she is back there is clearly some kind of demon or evil inside her. It is hardly original, but when the big twist or better described as the big reveal comes, it throws you totally on your head, and everything you had thought up until that point goes out the window, and you start to re-evaluate everything you had previously thought.

Ty Simpkins is great as Eric Daniels, and he puts in a great performance, I would love to say more but I don't want to spoil things. Skyler Elyse Philpot is also excellent as Rose

The camera work is strong, the film is haunting in the way it is presented, and the "twist/reveal" is done in a totally unique and originally way, and although it is perhaps a bit confusing, it does leave you with a need to rewatch the film, to see what clues were there and to help you tie a few loose ends together.

The Good
Perfet run time at 78 minutes, everything is nice and tight, the twist/reveal is perfectly done, and I did not see it coming, and I nearly always see twists coming, but fair play to the director, I didn't see this one.

The Bad
Now I have seen the film, I would have liked to have seen more direct interaction between the Eric and Rose characters.

Great little horror/thriller film, with a great ending, perfect run time.

I really enjoyed Where's Rose, and score it a solid 8.5/10

Out Now on Digital at -

Friday 18 November 2022

REVIEW: Poker Face (2022) - Starring Russell Crowe and Liam Hemsworth

Review by Jon Donnis
After his film stealing scene in the recent Thor film, Russell Crowe is back directing and acting in Poker Face. No, it is not a film about a catchy Lady gaga song, instead it is a film about a yearly high stakes poker game between childhood friends.

Russell Crowe stars as tech billionaire and gambler Jake Foley, the film opens with some kids playing, a young Jake Foley is on his bike with his friend Drew, they end up playing cards with some other kids, then run away, jump off a cliff and into a lake. Fun times for these kids.

Fast forward to the present, and Jack has made his fortune through surveillance software. But Jack is dying, he goes to visit Shaman Bill (Jack Thompson), they both trip out on some drugs and a truth serum.

Before you know it, Jack has arranged for a poker night with some friends, he offers them the chance to win more money than they've ever dreamed of. But there is a catch, one of the friends is a liar who is having relations with someone in Jakes family, the other is a blackmail victim who wants to set Jake up, and Michael Nankervis (Liam Hemsworth) is suicidal and plans to kill himself. Jake has a plan to drug them all with the truth serum, challenge them all on their individual issues and make them face up to reality.

However just as things are getting going a group of thieves break into the house thinking it is empty, and want to steal all the priceless works of art. The old friends escape to a panic room, and will have to work together to survive.

The plot is a little all over the place, and I was never quite sure what the film wanted to be, was it supposed to be a come to Jesus' type film with old friends airing their dirty laundry and ultimately making up? Was it a heist film? Was it a survival film? It seems to be a bit of everything without ever settling on one thing.

It was great to see the lovely Brooke Satchwell as Nicole Foley, but sadly she is hardly in the film, another Neighbours alumni appears in the film too in Daniel MacPherson, so with the show being recommissioned by Amazon for next year, it was nice to see some classic stars in this film.

I like Russell Crowe and he gives a decent performance in Poker Face, I think the storyline is a bit of a mess, but the actors all do a great job and their is a positive message in there too.

The Good
Good performance by Russell Crowe, and always great to see Brooke Satchwell on our screens.

The Bad
Plot is all over the place.

This is a 82-minute film, it is easy to watch, and that short run time helps alleviate some of the plot issues.

Available now on Sky Cinema and you can pre-order it on amazon at

Wednesday 16 November 2022

TRAILER: Rebel - Starring Aboubakr Bensaihi and Amir El Arbi

This is one gut punch of a thriller. Brothers Kamal (Aboubakr Bensaihi, Black) and Nassim (Amir El Arbi) find themselves on radically different life paths after Kamal leaves to help victims in Syria, leaving Nassim at home to care for their mother Leila (Lubna Azabal, Incendies). However, after discovering Kamal has been radicalised by a local militia, Nassim goes to desperate lengths in the attempt to save his brother and bring him home – without realising he may be on the exact same path of self-destruction as his brother. Directed by Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah (Ms. Marvel, Bad Boys for Life) and co-written by Arbi, Fallah, Kevin Meul (Cadet) and Jan van Dyck (The Nipple Whisperer).

Signature Entertainment presents Rebel on Digital Platforms 12th December

TRAILER: Quintessentially British - A unique and cheeky documentary

Synopsis: This unique and cheeky documentary explores Britain and what makes our country great from our traditions to our self-deprecating sense of humour. Featuring exclusive interviews from key British icons including Sir Ian McKellen (Actor, X-Men), Judi Dench (Actress, Skyfall) and Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, we discover what it means to be truly British. 

Quintessentially British is directed by Frank Mannion (Sparkling) and also features comedian Tom Allen, Oz Clarke (Wine Writer) and Lady Carnarvon (Mistress of the Real Downton Abbey).

Signature Entertainment presents Quintessentially British on Digital Platforms 12th December

Watch on Apple TV -

Saturday 12 November 2022

REVIEW: Dear Elizabeth (aka Eat Wheaties!) - Starring Tony Hale, Elisha Cuthbert and Sarah Chalke

Review by Jon Donnis
Dear Elizabeth (aka Eat Wheaties!) is a new comedy drama from Scott Abramovitch in his directorial debut, and it finally gets a UK release on digital on November 14th.

Tony Hale plays Sid Straw, an awkward but likeable guy, one day he is tasked with arranging a college class reunion, it just so happens that he went to school with Hollywood actress Elizabeth Banks, and also dated her friend, as he likes to tell everyone. He wants to invite Elizabeth to the reunion, so contacts her through Facebook. He sends her many messages, without reply, but as he does so he starts talking more and more about his life. Unfortunately, nobody believes that he went to school with her. His work colleagues make fun of him. The more he tries to prove he knew her, and also try to get in contact with her, the worse he makes it, as Elizabeth Banks assistant, who is dealing with his messages and requests, just assumes he is some kind of weird stalker.

Eventually the assistant puts a restraining order on Sid, and his life starts to fall apart as a result. He gets himself a lawyer James Fisk (Paul Walter Hauser) to fight the restraining order, his relationship with his brother Tom (David Walton) and his heavily pregnant wife Janet (Elisha Cuthbert) also starts to become strained. The only one who seems to always be there for him is the server at the local place he hangs out, Wendy (Danielle Brooks).

First and foremost, this is a heart-warming comedy. I am a big fan of "cringe comedy", think The Office and you get the idea. The Sid character is super awkward, but has a good heart, and as such he is instantly likeable, and you just want him to do well and succeed, and that is the key to this film. 

Ok the film is slightly predictable, as you know everything will ultimately be ok and turn out well, but the journey to get there is fun. I am an old cynic, so to make me laugh is hard, this film succeeded, it got me laughing at the right moments, it made me feel emotional when I was supposed to be emotional. It does a really great job of making you feel invested in the Sid character.

The Good
This is a really good film, it has a recognisable cast, it is really well written, it is funny, and it proves that the most important thing in film is a good story. It is that simple.

The Bad
Although the ending is really sweet, we don't quite get to see the redemption for the Sid character that I expected. The redemption and full arch is there, I just wanted a little more.

This is a really good film, I enjoyed it from start to finish, I laughed out loud, which is super rare for me. Perhaps this is just the kind of comedy I really like, not sure if everyone would like it, but I did.

If you are a fan of cringe comedy, Steve Carrell, Ricky Gervais type stuff, then you should like this.

I score Dear Elizabeth a solid 9/10

Released on digital 14 November
Watch at Apple TV -