Wednesday 31 January 2024

NEWS & TRAILER: The List (2024 Film) - Starring Fernando Abadie

News by Jon Donnis
Get ready for a heart-pounding thrill ride like no other as "The List" hits screens in 2024! From the visionary mind of writer-director Michael J Hardy comes a gripping tale of survival and revenge set against the backdrop of a nation in turmoil.

After the fall of a brutal dictator, the Torres family finds themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse in their homeland, the Republic of the Gran Chaco. Accused of collaborating with the old regime, they are branded as criminals and marked for death. With the clock ticking, they must fight to prove their innocence and survive the night as they are hunted by merciless vigilantes.

Starring Fernando Abadie ("Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation") as Juan Torres, "The List" promises edge-of-your-seat tension and pulse-pounding action. Drawing comparisons to the adrenaline-fueled intensity of "The Purge," this film challenges notions of justice and morality in a lawless society.

Following its world premiere at the Marbella International Film Festival, "The List" is set to make its UK digital debut on 26 February 2024, courtesy of Miracle Media. Don't miss out on this electrifying cinematic experience that is sure to leave audiences on the edge of their seats. Mark your calendars and get ready to join "The List"!

Tuesday 30 January 2024

REVIEW: The Painter (2024 Film) - Starring Charlie Weber and Madison Bailey

Review by Jon Donnis
"The Painter" beckons viewers into a gripping narrative where the tranquility of an artist's life collides head-on with the tumult of a clandestine past. Charlie Weber embodies the enigmatic Peter Barrett, a former CIA operative who seeks solace in the serene landscapes of the Pacific Northwest after a tragic incident shattered his world. However, peace remains an elusive dream when a teenage girl, Sophia (Madison Bailey), claims to be his long-lost daughter, unraveling a web of deception and danger.

Director Kimani Ray Smith, alongside writer Brian Buccellato, masterfully weave a tale where every brushstroke of action is layered with intrigue and suspense. As Peter grapples with the sudden intrusion into his secluded existence, the arrival of heavily armed agents catapults him back into a world he thought he had left behind. With lethal precision honed by years of CIA training, Peter confronts his assailants, setting off a heart-pounding chase through the rugged wilderness.

Jon Voight's portrayal of the seasoned mentor, Henry Byrne, adds depth to the narrative, his presence hinting at a labyrinth of hidden agendas and ulterior motives. Marie Avgeropoulos captivates as the ruthless Section Chief Naomi Piasecki, whose pursuit of Peter and Sophia unveils a sinister conspiracy rooted in a top-secret black ops program known as Project Internship. With each revelation, the stakes escalate, drawing the protagonists deeper into a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Amidst the adrenaline-fueled action, the film explores themes of redemption and sacrifice, as Peter grapples with his past sins while striving to protect the newfound family thrust upon him. Madison Bailey delivers a standout performance as Sophia, infusing the character with a blend of vulnerability and resilience.

While "The Painter" traverses familiar territory within the action thriller genre, it captivates audiences with its pulse-pounding sequences and unexpected twists. The occasional flashback scenes, though bordering on cliché, serve to enrich Peter's character arc, offering glimpses into the emotional turmoil that drives his relentless pursuit of redemption.

In the end, "The Painter" stands as a testament to the enduring allure of the action genre, offering a riveting escapade that thrills and entertains in equal measure. Despite its adherence to genre conventions, the film's stellar cast and deft direction elevate it above mere formulaic fare. For those seeking a cinematic thrill ride that delivers on its promises, "The Painter" paints a vivid canvas of excitement and intrigue, earning a solid 7 out of 10.

Available on digital now

Monday 29 January 2024

REVIEW: Role Play (2024 Film) Starring Kaley Cuoco, David Oyelowo, and Bill Nighy

Out Now on Amazon

Review by Jon Donnis
"Role Play" takes audiences on a rollercoaster journey through the seemingly idyllic lives of Emma and Dave Brackett, played by Kaley Cuoco and David Oyelowo. Directed by Thomas Vincent and penned by Seth Owen, this action-comedy flick weaves together elements of domesticity, espionage, and humor in a cocktail that's equal parts thrilling and amusing.

At first glance, Emma and Dave appear to have it all, a picturesque suburban home, two adorable kids, and stable careers. However, beneath the facade of marital bliss, cracks begin to form as they find themselves mired in the monotony of routine. To inject some excitement into their relationship, they decide to celebrate their anniversary with a bit of role play, a seemingly harmless endeavor to reignite the spark.

But fate has other plans in store for them. As Emma waits in a dimly lit hotel bar for her husband, she catches the eye of a suave and mysterious stranger, portrayed with captivating allure by the incomparable Bill Nighy. Little does she know that this chance encounter will unravel the carefully constructed facade of her life.

The stranger, revealed as Bob Kellerman, recognizes Emma as none other than a notorious international assassin with a bounty on her head. Suddenly, the mundanity of suburban life is shattered as Emma's dangerous past collides head-on with her present reality. With her family's safety at stake, Emma is thrust back into a world she thought she had left behind, forcing her to confront her demons and protect the ones she loves at all costs.

Cuoco's portrayal of Emma is a tour de force, blending vulnerability with steely resolve as she navigates the treacherous waters of deception and danger. Oyelowo, as Dave, embodies the essence of the unwitting husband thrust into a world of intrigue, his genuine portrayal eliciting both laughter and empathy from viewers.

While "Role Play" excels in its high-octane action sequences and witty banter, it is not without its flaws. The lack of onscreen chemistry between Cuoco and Oyelowo is palpable at times, detracting from the emotional depth of their relationship, as well as making you wonder if Oyelowo is no more than an affirmative action hire, to tick some diversity boxes.
Additionally, the film's reliance on predictable plot twists and formulaic storytelling may leave some audiences craving more originality.

Despite these shortcomings, "Role Play" delivers a thoroughly entertaining experience that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. With its blend of humour, suspense, and heart, it's a film that's sure to leave a lasting impression.

In the end, "Role Play" earns a solid 6 out of 10, a testament to its ability to captivate audiences with its thrilling narrative and charismatic performances. While it may not reinvent the wheel, it serves as a reminder of the enduring appeal of a well-executed action-comedy. As streaming platforms continue to dominate the entertainment landscape, let's hope that future offerings will dare to take more risks and push the boundaries of storytelling.

Out Now on Amazon

Sunday 28 January 2024

COMPETITION: Win Inside (Limited Edition) on Blu-ray

Dare you go Inside Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s ‘brutally affecting’ and deeply disturbing French feature?  The film is set to strike stomach-wrenching fear into audiences once more, 15 years after its original release in 2007 as Second Sight Films announced a brand-new Inside Limited Edition Blu-ray Box set release on 5 February 2024 complete with a host of fantastic new special features.

And to celebrate we have a great competition and a copy of Inside (Limited Edition) on Blu-ray to give away.

Following a car accident that leaves her husband dead, expectant mother Sarah (Alysson Paradis – The Childhood of Icarus) is left to prepare for her impending birth alone while grieving her terrible loss. But when a stranger (Béatrice Dalle – Betty Blue, Night on Earth) turns up at her house on Christmas Eve, things take a terrifying, unimaginably twisted turn… as the deranged intruder will stop at nothing to take her unborn baby.

The Inside Limited Edition box set is presented in a stunning rigid slipcase with new artwork by James Neal and includes a 70-page book with new essays. The special features include: new audio commentaries by Anna Bogutskaya and Elena Lazic, brand new interviews with the writer/directors Maury and Bustillo, and many more. Please see full listing on attached. There will be a Standard Edition Blu-ray available on the same date that includes the special features.

Go deep Inside this welcome new addition to the family collection

Pre-order on Amazon at

Enter now for a chance to win.


Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 12-02-24
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 Circle of Danger - Vintage Classics on Blu-ray

STUDIOCANAL has announced the release of a brand-new restoration of the classic British film noir-esque post-war thriller, CIRCLE OF DANGER, that will be available to own on Blu-Ray and DVD from February 5. This also marks the first time that the film will be available on Digital.

And to celebrate we have a great competition and 3 copies on Blu-ray to give away.

Directed by Jacques Tourneur (Out of The Past, Cat People), produced by one time assistant to Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Harrison (Rebecca, Suspicion) and adapted from his own novel by Philip Macdonald (Rebecca, The Lost Patrol), the film stars Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend, Love Story), Patricia Roc (The Wicked Lady, One night with You) and Marius Goring (The Barefoot Contessa, I Was Monty’s Double). It was also shot by the influential Oscar® winning cinematographer, Oswald Morris (Fiddler on the Roof, Oliver!). 

U.S. citizen Clay Douglas (Ray Milland) comes to London to investigate the mysterious death of his brother who served as a Commando with the British Forces. Suspecting that it was not a German bullet that killed him, Clay obtains the name and address of one of the members of the raiding party and begins to piece together the missing information. However, after further investigations, Clay finds himself in a situation so unexpected that all his plans for retribution are shattered.

The new 4K restoration of CIRCLE OF DANGER comes complete with brand-new extras and is the newest addition to the ever-expanding Vintage Classics Collection from STUDIOCANAL.

Pre-order on Amazon at

Enter now for a chance to win.


Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 12-02-24
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 27 January 2024

REVIEW: I.S.S. (2024 Film) Starring Ariana DeBose, Chris Messina, John Gallagher Jr., Masha Mashkova, Costa Ronin, and Pilou Asbæk

Review by Jon Donnis
"I.S.S." presents an intriguing premise set against the backdrop of escalating tensions on Earth, as astronauts aboard the International Space Station find themselves entangled in a struggle for control amidst a global crisis. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite orchestrates a tense atmosphere, amplified by stellar performances from the cast, particularly Ariana DeBose's portrayal of Dr. Kira Foster.

In the near future, aboard the International Space Station, tensions escalate dramatically as a global conflict erupts on Earth. Caught in the turmoil, American and Russian astronauts find themselves thrust into a high-stakes struggle when they receive directives from their respective governments: seize control of the station at all costs.

The film's first half excels in building suspense and exploring the dynamics among the multinational crew, with captivating space visuals adding to the immersive experience. However, the narrative falters in the second half due to inconsistent writing, marked by illogical character decisions and an overdose of plot twists that strain credibility. Additionally, some weightlessness effects appear poorly executed, detracting from the overall immersion.

While "I.S.S." tackles themes of fear, duty, betrayal, and revenge, its descent into clichés and pandering to certain ideologies undermines its potential. The infusion of "woke" elements feels forced and detracts from the story's coherence, while the astronauts' inexplicable lapses in judgment detract from their credibility as intelligent professionals.

Despite its flaws, "I.S.S." manages to sustain interest throughout its runtime, albeit with diminishing returns. Clocking in at a concise length, it offers moments of tension and intrigue, though its lackluster conclusion may leave some viewers disappointed.

Overall, "I.S.S." earns a modest rating of 6 out of 10, buoyed by its strong start and DeBose's compelling performance, but ultimately hampered by narrative shortcomings and questionable creative choices.

At cinemas now.
Coming soon to Apple TV at

Friday 26 January 2024

REVIEW: On The Line (2024 Film) Starring Victoria Lucie and Directed by Oliver Pearn

Review by Jon Donnis
"On the Line," directed by Oliver Pearn in his impressive directorial debut, delivers an enthralling and expertly crafted thriller that manages to captivate its audience with minimal setup. Set in 1964 in the Channel Islands, the film revolves around 24-year-old switchboard operator Agnes (Victoria Lucie), who becomes embroiled in a complex and suspenseful situation when she receives a panicked call from Shirley (Harriet Walter), an elderly woman suffering from dementia claiming to be kidnapped.

Agnes swiftly notifies the police and gathers details from multiple callers, quickly piecing together the identity of the kidnapper. As she aids law enforcement in pursuing the culprit, the situation escalates in complexity, spiraling out of control. Will Agnes be able to rescue Shirley before the situation reaches a critical point?

One of the film's notable strengths is its ability to maintain tension despite its single-location premise. Pearn's direction, coupled with the powerful performances from Victoria Lucie and the experienced voices of Harriet Walter and Royce Pierrseon, keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. The film successfully explores the dynamics of a telephone operator getting involved in a crisis, providing a unique perspective in the thriller genre.

The narrative takes unexpected turns, especially in the latter part of the film, introducing twists that elevate the stakes and turn the story on its head. Pearn's ability to create suspense and mystery within the constraints of a minimal setup is commendable. Victoria Lucie, in the lead role of Agnes, shines and proves her capability to carry the film single-handedly.

While "On the Line" is a standout in the emergency dispatch thriller genre, it might fall short for some in terms of its runtime. The 74-minute duration leaves the audience craving more, although personally I loved the short run time, and the film does feel more like a radio drama than a feature film. However, this does not significantly detract from the overall quality of the viewing experience.

In conclusion, "On the Line" is a gripping thriller that effectively utilizes its single-location premise to deliver suspense and mystery. The film benefits from strong performances, unexpected twists, and Pearn's skillful direction. Despite its short runtime, the film is a must-watch for fans of the genre, earning a well-deserved score of 8.5 out of 10.

Out now
Amazon Prime at

Thursday 25 January 2024

NEWS: Circle of Danger and One From the Heart: Reprise get exclusive new releases


Experience the intrigue and suspense of post-war Britain in the newly restored classic, "Circle of Danger," set to captivate audiences once again with its gripping narrative and stellar performances. Directed by the master of noir, Jacques Tourneur, and produced by the legendary Joan Harrison, this Vintage Classics release from STUDIOCANAL promises to immerse viewers in a world of mystery and deception.

Ray Milland leads the cast as Clay Douglas, an American on a quest for the truth behind his brother's untimely demise during a wartime raid. With Patricia Roc and Marius Goring rounding out the ensemble, the film boasts a lineup of talent that delivers suspense at every turn.

As Douglas delves deeper into the shadows of London's post-war landscape, he uncovers a web of secrets and lies that threaten to consume him. With the help of a few leads and a determination to uncover the truth, he embarks on a journey that will test his resolve and challenge his beliefs.

Shot by the acclaimed cinematographer Oswald Morris, "Circle of Danger" is a visual masterpiece, capturing the grit and tension of its noir-inspired narrative with stunning precision. Now, with a brand-new 4K restoration, audiences can experience the film in all its glory, accompanied by a host of exciting extras that offer insight into its creation and legacy.

Don't miss your chance to own a piece of cinematic history with the release of "Circle of Danger" on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital from February 5th. Join us as we journey into the heart of darkness, where danger lurks around every corner and secrets wait to be revealed.

Pre-order at

Prepare to experience the magic of love and the allure of Las Vegas as Francis Ford Coppola's "One From the Heart" returns to UK cinemas in a spectacular new REPRISE cut. Supervised by the visionary director himself, this reimagined version promises to captivate audiences with its refined storytelling and enhanced visuals.

Coppola, reflecting on the film's journey, shares his excitement for this new iteration, highlighting the opportunity to refine the story and deliver an improved cinematic experience. With never-before-seen footage, new titles, and over 19 minutes of replaced scenes, the REPRISE cut offers a fresh perspective on this romantic comedy set against the dazzling backdrop of Sin City.

For fans eager to own a piece of cinematic history, a special 4-disc 4K UHD, 2-disc Blu-Ray, and Digital package will be available, alongside a DVD release, featuring both the 1982 cut and the new REPRISE version. Delve into the world of "One From the Heart" and discover the influences it has left on contemporary cinema, with insights from acclaimed filmmakers such as Baz Luhrmann and Damien Chazelle.

Starring Frederic Forrest, Teri Garr, Raul Julia, Nastassja Kinski, Lainie Kazan, and Harry Dean Stanton, the film boasts a stellar cast whose performances breathe life into this tale of love and longing. With an iconic soundtrack by Tom Waits and choreography by Gene Kelly, "One From the Heart" continues to resonate with audiences, offering a grand tribute to the power of love.

Experience the passion and romance of "One From the Heart" like never before, as Coppola's vision is brought to life in stunning 4K resolution. Through meticulous restoration efforts led by American Zoetrope and Roundabout Entertainment, the film's original beauty is preserved and enhanced for a new generation of viewers to enjoy.

Join us on March 4th as "One From the Heart: Reprise" lights up the silver screen once again, reminding us all of the enduring power of love in the heart of Las Vegas.

Pre-Order at

Tuesday 23 January 2024

COMPETITION: Win Mad Cats by Reiki Tsuno on Blu-ray from Third Window Films

Third Window Films have announced the release of the debut film of Reiki Tsuno!
Mad Cats is released on 29th January 2024

And to celebrate we have a great competition and a copy on Blu-ray to give away.

Image Credit: Third Window Films

Taka, a shiftless young man, sets off on a quest to find his missing brother Mune. Teaming up with a quirky new friend and an edgy, mysterious young girl, Taka finds himself taking on a pack of vicious monster cats determined to execute unscrupulous pet shop owners. Why are the monster cats after him? Why was his brother captured? What is the purpose of this mysterious young girl? Mysteries are about to be revealed as the journey leads to a final showdown.

Bonus Features
• Interview with director Reiki Tsuno
• Director feature audio commentary
• Behind the Scenes
• Rehearsal vs Fight comparison footage
• Trailer
• Reversible Sleeves
• All region

Out on bluray & digital Jan 29th

Image Credit: Third Window Films

Watch on Digital on Amazon at

Enter now for a chance to win.

Who directs Mad Cats?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 05-02-24
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.

Monday 22 January 2024

COMPETITION: Win Trolls Band Together on Blu-ray™

Get your hustle on and experience the BroZone craze all over again with Poppy, Branch, Viva, and Tiny Diamond in DreamWorks Animation’s TROLLS BAND TOGETHER Sing-Along Edition available to Download & Keep January 8 and on Blu-ray™ & DVD January 22, 2024, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

And to celebrate we have a great competition and 3 copies on Blu-ray to give away.

Highlighting a spectacular soundtrack of original and classic songs,TROLLS BAND TOGETHER Sing-Along Edition presents over an hour of fantas-amazing bonus content, including a brand-new original short “It Takes Three,” character drawing tutorials, deleted scenes, and behind-the-scenes features with the cast and crew including *NSYNC’s reunion for the first time in 20 years, taking audiences deeper into the magical musical adventure.

Get ready for an all-star family reunion like no other in the latest chapter of DreamWorks Animation’s blockbuster musical franchise, now with a Sing-Along edition! As Poppy (Anna Kendrick) grows closer to her now boyfriend Branch (Justin Timberlake), she discovers his secret past as a member of her favourite boyband, BroZone, with his four estranged brothers. When Branch’s bro Floyd is kidnapped for his musical talents by a pair of nefarious popstars, Branch and Poppy embark on an action-packed journey to reunite the other brothers and rescue Floyd. Along the way Poppy uncovers a family secret of her own, a long-lost sister named Viva (Camila Cabello). TROLLS BAND TOGETHER features the franchise’s signature psychedelic joy-bomb of new and classic pop hits that will have you singing and dancing along over and over again!

The film is directed by Walt Dohrn (Trolls franchise,Shrek franchise), co-directed by Tim Heitz (Trolls, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World) and produced by Gina Shay (Trollsfranchise, Shrek franchise) and stars returning voice talent and Academy Award® nominees Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) and Justin Timberlake (The Social Network), alongside Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominee Zooey Deschanel (“New Girl”), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (How to Train Your DragonFranchise), Icona Pop duo Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt, Emmy® winner Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”), Grammy® winner Anderson .Paak, six-time SAG Award® nominee Kunal Nayyar (“The Big Bang Theory”), and Ron Funches (“Harley Quinn”).

The dazzling new talent lending their voices to the franchise include Grammy® nominee Camila Cabello (Cinderella), Eric André (Sing 2), Emmy Award® winner Amy Schumer (Trainwreck), Grammy® winner and Tony® nominee Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon), Golden Globe®nominee Troye Sivan (“The Idol”), Grammy® winners Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) and Kid Cudi (Don’t Look Up), SAG Award® nominee Zosia Mamet (“The Flight Attendant”), and 12-time Emmy® winner RuPaul Charles (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”).

Buy from Amazon at

Enter now for a chance to win.


Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 05-02-24
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.

REVIEW: The Book of Clarence (2024 Film) Starring LaKeith Stanfield

Review by Jon Donnis
"The Book of Clarence," written and directed by Jeymes Samuel, takes a bold leap into the realm of biblical comedy with a unique premise centered around a struggling man named Clarence in A.D. 33 Jerusalem. While the film showcases moments of humor, a talented ensemble cast, and an intriguing blend of genres, it struggles to find a cohesive identity, falling short of the satirical brilliance seen in classics like "The Life of Brian."

The film unfolds in three distinct "Books," each reminiscent of old-Hollywood style title-lettering, adding a touch of nostalgia to the storytelling. LaKeith Stanfield leads the cast with a dual role as Clarence and his cynical twin brother Thomas, delivering decent performances throughout the film. The ensemble cast, including Omar Sy as Barabbas, Anna Diop as Varinia, RJ Cyler as Elijah, and others, adds depth to the characters and contributes to the film's comedic moments.

The plot, although filled with comedic potential, stumbles at times due to its attempt to blend elements of satire, historical fiction, and comedy. The film's satirical take on a biblical narrative in a woke Hollywood setting, while ambitious, doesn't reach the heights of the classic, "The Life of Brian." The decision to set the story in the Middle East 2000 years ago with an all-black cast raises eyebrows, and the film occasionally loses its satirical edge, missing opportunities to deliver biting commentary.

The humour in "The Book of Clarence" is a mixed bag, landing roughly half of the time. The film's comedic moments, when successful, provide genuine laughs and contribute to the overall enjoyment. The soundtrack enhances the viewing experience, featuring great music that complements the film's tone.

However, the film's shortcomings become apparent in its slow pacing, making the already lengthy 2 hours and 10 minutes feel even more laborious. It appears as though the writers struggled to define the film's genre, vacillating between comedy, satire, and historical fiction. This lack of clarity hampers the overall impact of the narrative.

While "The Book of Clarence" boasts moments of entertainment, the woke Hollywood approach and the film's identity crisis contribute to its downfall. The decision by the producers to distance themselves from the project suggests a lack of confidence in their film, for example I have not seen this advertised anywhere. Despite its shortcomings, the film earns a generous 6 out of 10 for its commendable performances, occasional humor, and intriguing premise. However, it's unlikely to secure a lasting place in cinematic history, destined to quietly fade away.

Out in cinemas now (if you can find it).

Or go watch Monty Python's Life of Brian

Friday 19 January 2024

REVIEW: Night Swim (2024 Film) - Starring Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, Amélie Hoeferle, and Gavin Warren

Review by Jon Donnis
Bryce McGuire's directorial debut, "Night Swim," attempts to plunge audiences into a chilling pool of supernatural horror with its intriguing premise and suspenseful atmosphere. While the film succeeds in creating some genuinely eerie moments and showcasing commendable performances from its cast, it struggles to break free from the constraints of its linear and somewhat predictable plot.

The narrative unfolds in 1992 as a young girl's quest to retrieve a toy boat from her family's pool takes a terrifying turn. Fast forward to the present day, and the Waller family, portrayed convincingly by Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, Amélie Hoeferle, and Gavin Warren, becomes entangled in a nightmarish web, compelled to retire early due to a degenerative illness, ex-baseball player Ray Waller relocates with his wife and two children to a new residence. Optimistic about the backyard swimming pool offering both recreation for the kids and therapeutic benefits for himself, Ray's hopes are dashed when a sinister secret from the house's history releases a malevolent force, plunging the family into a harrowing abyss of inescapable terror.

The film's strengths lie in its ability to build suspense and exploit primal fears associated with water, crafting moments that genuinely send shivers down the spine. The utilization of jump scares adds to the overall tension, and the cast delivers solid performances, making the characters relatable and engaging.

However, "Night Swim" treads familiar territory with its linear and somewhat predictable plot. The premise, while interesting, feels stretched for a feature-length film, and the film's reliance on a PG-13 rating limits its ability to delve into the full spectrum of horror. The potential for deeper exploration of the supernatural elements and the psychological toll on the characters remains largely untapped.

The film's horror comedy moments are a welcome addition, injecting moments of levity into the otherwise tense narrative. Still, there's a lingering desire for the film to push the boundaries further in this aspect.

In conclusion, "Night Swim" is a decent horror film with a solid foundation and some effective scares. However, its limitations in plot depth and the constraints of a PG-13 rating prevent it from reaching its full potential. While the premise may not fully support a feature-length runtime, McGuire's debut showcases promise, and the film manages to deliver a satisfactory horror experience, earning a generous 6 out of 10. Horror enthusiasts may find enjoyment in the suspenseful moments, but the film falls short of making a lasting, chilling impression.

Out now on Apple TV at -

Wednesday 17 January 2024

REVIEW: Mean Girls (2024 film) - Starring Angourie Rice and Reneé Rapp

Review by Jon Donnis
In 2024, the iconic teen comedy "Mean Girls" makes a triumphant return to the big screen, this time infused with the vibrant energy of a musical under the direction of Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. The screenplay, penned by Tina Fey, adapts her original 2004 comedy, which was inspired by Rosalind Wiseman's book "Queen Bees and Wannabes." This new rendition follows the storyline of Cady Heron's foray into North Shore High School, navigating the treacherous world of high school cliques and the notorious Plastics.

Sixteen-year-old Cady Heron, portrayed by Angourie Rice, emerges from a homeschooling life in Kenya to face the challenges of North Shore High School. The film integrates the contemporary landscape of social media and mobile technology into the narrative, successfully modernizing the tale while retaining its essence. Cady's entanglement with the Plastics, Regina George (Reneé Rapp), Gretchen Wieners (Bebe Wood), and Karen Shetty (Avantika), sets the stage for the drama to unfold.

One of the film's main features is its musicality, with well-crafted songs performed with gusto by the cast. Fey's decision to bring the Broadway adaptation to the screen pays off, infusing the familiar tale with a new layer of dynamic energy. Rice, Rapp, and the ensemble cast, including Auliʻi Cravalho, Jaquel Spivey, and Christopher Briney, deliver solid performances, each capturing the essence of their characters. Tina Fey reprises her role as Ms. Norbury, adding a touch of continuity to the film, while Tim Meadows returns as Principal Duvall.

"Mean Girls" excels in blending the charm of the original teen comedy with the dynamic flair of a musical. The film provides good comedic entertainment, and Fey's decision to translate the musical to the big screen is a resounding success. Fans of the Broadway adaptation and the 2004 film will find a satisfying mix of nostalgia and contemporary flair.

While the musical numbers are a highlight, the film occasionally feels more like an extension of the original "Mean Girls" movie than a standalone project. Some heavy-handed visuals and overproduced songs may distract from the overall experience. Comparisons to the 2004 film may leave some viewers feeling that the original still holds the crown.

"Mean Girls" (2024) earns a commendable 7 out of 10. While it may not surpass the brilliance of the 2004 film, it successfully captures the essence of the Broadway adaptation. For fans of the stage show, enthusiasts of lively musical numbers, and those open to the updated take on the classic story, this rendition promises an entertaining and harmonious experience. The blend of teen comedy and Broadway flair makes "Mean Girls" (2024) a worthwhile addition to the legacy of this beloved high school drama.

At Cinemas now!
Watch the original Mean Girls (2004) at
And see the new Mean Girls on Apple TV at