Thursday 29 February 2024

REVIEW: Code 8: Part II (2024 Film) - Starring Robbie Amell and Stephen Amell

Review by Jon Donnis
"Code 8: Part II" propels audiences back into the dystopian landscape of Lincoln City, where the divide between the powered and the authorities escalates in intensity. Directed by Jeff Chan, this sequel to the 2019 film continues the journey of Connor Reed, played by Robbie Amell, as he navigates a world fraught with corruption and danger.

The narrative unfolds with Connor, now a janitor, striving to leave his criminal past behind. However, when Pavani, portrayed by Sirena Gulamgaus, witnesses her brother's murder at the hands of corrupt police officers, Connor finds himself embroiled in a fight for justice. As Pavani becomes a target for the authorities desperate to conceal their secrets, Connor must once again confront his past and protect her from harm.

Stephen Amell delivers a compelling performance as Garrett Kelton, a telekinetic enforcer turned criminal leader, whose motives blur the lines between right and wrong. Alex Mallari Jr. adds depth to the story as Sergeant "King" Kingston, a figure torn between loyalty and betrayal in a city plagued by power struggles.

The film's strength lies in its exploration of societal tensions and the consequences of unchecked authority. Against the backdrop of a militarized police force and surveillance state, "Code 8: Part II" delves into themes of justice, redemption, and the bonds of family.

While the runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes may feel slightly lengthy, the film's gripping narrative and captivating performances keep viewers engaged throughout. With stunning action sequences and a nuanced portrayal of its characters, "Code 8: Part II" stands as a testament to indie sci-fi filmmaking at its finest.

Overall, I score "Code 8: Part II" a commendable 8 out of 10. Despite its occasional pacing issues, it delivers a compelling story that resonates with audiences long after the credits roll. Fans of the original film and newcomers alike will find themselves drawn into the electrifying world of Lincoln City, where justice comes at a high price.

You might want to watch Part 1 first at or
Part 2 is out now on Netflix.

Wednesday 28 February 2024

REVIEW: Madame Web (2024 Film) - Starring Dakota Johnson

Review by Jon Donnis
"Madame Web" is a catastrophic attempt at superhero cinema that plummets to the depths of disappointment from start to finish. With a plot so convoluted it's nearly impossible to follow, the film fails to engage its audience on any level. Here's a breakdown of the myriad reasons why this cinematic disaster deserves to be buried in the annals of forgettable films:

Firstly, the plot feels like a jumbled mess of ideas hastily thrown together without any coherence or direction. From a clichéd backstory involving a betrayal in the jungles of Peru to a contrived narrative about psychic abilities and a convoluted prophecy, the storyline is a labyrinthine nightmare that offers no satisfaction to viewers.

Character chemistry is nonexistent, leaving audiences with a cast of cardboard cutouts reciting lines devoid of emotion or connection. Even the talented Dakota Johnson can't salvage her role as Cassandra "Cassie" Webb, a character whose journey from paramedic to reluctant clairvoyant superhero feels forced and unconvincing.

The film's attempts at humour fall flat, further exacerbating the sense of disconnect between the audience and the characters on screen. Instead of delivering moments of levity, the dialogue feels stilted and awkward, leaving viewers cringing rather than laughing.

Special effects, a hallmark of superhero films, are shockingly subpar. From poorly executed action sequences to lackluster CGI, "Madame Web" fails to deliver the visual spectacle expected from a Marvel Comics adaptation.

It's evident that the film underwent extensive editing in a desperate attempt to salvage a coherent narrative, but the end result is a disjointed mess riddled with continuity errors and obvious dubbing. Scenes feel choppy and disjointed, further detracting from any semblance of immersion or engagement.

Furthermore, "Madame Web" shamelessly panders to the trend of so-called "woke" filmmaking, prioritizing diversity checkboxes over meaningful storytelling. Rather than focusing on creating a compelling superhero narrative, the film feels like a checklist of token characters shoehorned in for the sake of political correctness.

In summary, "Madame Web" is a train wreck of epic proportions, lacking in every conceivable aspect that makes a superhero film enjoyable. With its muddled plot, wooden performances, laughable humour, shoddy special effects, and pandering to woke culture, it's a cinematic failure of monumental proportions. Save yourself the agony and steer clear of this cinematic catastrophe.

I score Madame Web a generous 3 out of 10.

Out now in Cinemas.
And coming soon to

Tuesday 27 February 2024

REVIEW: The Iron Claw (2024 Film) - Starring Zac Efron

Review by Jon Donnis
"The Iron Claw" is a poignant and gripping portrayal of the tumultuous journey of the Von Erich family, renowned in the world of professional wrestling, marked by triumphs and marred by tragedies. Sean Durkin's directorial prowess, coupled with a stellar cast led by Zac Efron, delivers a compelling narrative that delves into themes of masculinity, familial legacy, and the relentless pursuit of success amidst adversity.

Efron's portrayal of Kevin Von Erich is nothing short of stellar, capturing the essence of a man burdened by the weight of his family's history yet determined to carve his own path. His performance anchors the film, infusing it with depth and emotion that resonates long after the credits roll.

The film's exploration of the Von Erich curse, a recurring theme throughout the narrative, adds layers of complexity to the characters and their motivations. Durkin skillfully weaves together the personal struggles of each family member with the larger-than-life world of professional wrestling, creating a rich tapestry of human experience that transcends the confines of the ring.

One of the film's greatest strengths lies in its ability to balance moments of triumph with those of heart-wrenching tragedy. The emotional impact of each loss is keenly felt, underscoring the fragile nature of life and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of insurmountable odds.

While "The Iron Claw" may not be suitable for younger audiences unfamiliar with the Von Erich family's history, its profound exploration of complex themes makes it a standout film for mature viewers seeking a deeper cinematic experience.

In summary, "The Iron Claw" is a masterfully crafted film that leaves a lasting impression with its powerful storytelling, exceptional performances, and poignant reflection on the human condition. It's a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity, earning it a solid 9 out of 10.

Out now on

COMPETITION: Win The Troubles - A Dublin Story on DVD

Writer-director Luke Hanlon (Drama) brings a gritty and brutal look at a rarely seen piece of Irish history in his stark and edgy feature The Troubles: A Dublin Story. This film is set for its premiere on DVD and digital on 26 February from High Fliers Films.

And to celebrate we have a great competition and a copy on DVD to give away.

Based on true accounts from those who were there and experienced the bloody battles first hand, this powerful and violent film sheds light on the politics, allegiance and bloodshed of the time.

1980s North Dublin, we meet Sean (Ray Malone) and Francis (Adam Redmond), two working-class brothers who are far removed from the horrors of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. When they witness the atrocities on television, they’re shocked into action and soon find themselves naively drawn into the complex and dangerous world of the fight. 

Together, they must navigate honour, family bonds, loyalty, republicanism and gangsterism as they fuel the brutal Northern war machine – no matter the consequence.

Get ready for The Troubles: A Dublin Story – an intense untold story that unfolds with the harsh and brutal truth of a deeply turbulent era.

On DVD and digital 26 February 2024  

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 04-03-24
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 26 February 2024

COMPETITION: Win V/H/S/85 (A Shudder Original) on Blu-ray

Promising another helping of found footage fear V/H/S 85 arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and digital on 4 March 2024, courtesy of Acorn Media International.

And to celebrate we have a great competition and 2 copies on Blu-ray to give away.

WE TRAVEL back to the haunted era of shoulder pads, perms and scream queens with V/H/S 85, the ‘best entry yet’ (Flickering Myth) in the seminal V/H/S horror franchise. In the sixth instalment of the brilliantly bloody Shudder Original series, we turn the clock back to the 1980s for a retro rampage of old-school horror chills and thrills.

Dust off your leg warmers and rewind to the year 1985 for five uniquely twisted tales directed by David Bruckner (The Ritual, V/H/S), Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange, The Black Phone), Gigi Saul Guerrero (El Gigante), Natasha Kermani (Lucky) and Mike P. Nelson (Wrong Turn). Giving nostalgia a blood-stained makeover, this series delves deep into the dark and dangerous underbelly of the decade.

In David Bruckner’s Total Copy starring Jordan Belfi (Nefarious) and Kelli Garner (The Aviator) – the wraparound story which holds the anthology together – a narrator presents a made-for-TV documentary following a group of scientists studying an unusual slime-covered entity named Rory. What is he, and more importantly, what can he do?

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 11-03-24
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 One From the Heart: Reprise on Blu-ray

From STUDIOCANAL and PARK CIRCUS comes a brand-new 4K restoration of  ONE FROM THE HEART, supervised by Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now), and returned to UK cinemas on February 16th 2024 in a new REPRISE cut, as well as getting a home entertainment release on March 4th.

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

ONE FROM THE HEART is a romantic comedy, a break-up story told through music and set amidst the neon glitter of Las Vegas on a Fourth of July weekend. The film’s influence can still be seen widely in cinema today - its visual style being a recurring theme throughout the work of Baz Luhrmann, who discusses his love for the film in a new interview featured on the Home Entertainment release. Damian Chazelle’s La La Land, too, is not only a spiritual follow up to the film but was also shot on the very same studio lot as ONE FROM THE HEART.

Starring Frederic Forrest (The Conversation, Falling Down), Teri Garr (Tootsie, Close Encounters of The Third Kind), Raul Julia (Kiss of The Spider Woman, The Addams Family), Nastassja Kinski (Tess, Paris, Texas), Lainie Kazan (Beaches, My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and Harry Dean Stanton (Alien, The Green Man), the film boasts an iconic soundtrack by Tom Waits featuring Waits and vocalist Crystal Gayle, which was nominated for Best Soundtrack at the Oscars®, and choreography by none other than the legendary Gene Kelly.

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 11-03-24
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.

CBD Oil UK: Illuminating Wellness on and off the Silver Screen

CBD Reakiro UK

In a world where wellness trends come and go, CBD oil has emerged as a steadfast contender, offering a beacon of hope for health-conscious individuals seeking natural remedies. As the CBD craze sweeps across the United Kingdom, it's not just health enthusiasts who are taking notice; even the silver screen is shining a spotlight on this botanical marvel. Join us as we explore the fascinating intersection of CBD oil and the world of cinema, uncovering its presence in popular films and its real-life impact on the UK market.

Lights, Camera, Cannabidiol: CBD Oil in Film

While CBD oil may not be a leading character in blockbuster films, its subtle presence has certainly made waves in cinematic storytelling. In recent years, filmmakers have incorporated CBD and its therapeutic properties into various plotlines, shedding light on its potential benefits and sparking conversations among audiences.

One notable example is the film "The Magic Pill," a documentary that explores alternative approaches to health and wellness, including the use of CBD oil. This thought-provoking documentary showcases real-life individuals who have experienced profound transformations through dietary and lifestyle changes, with CBD oil playing a supporting role in their journey towards better health.

CBD Oil: A Supporting Player in Real-Life Narratives

Beyond the silver screen, CBD oil has become a beloved supporting player in the real-life narratives of countless individuals across the UK. From athletes seeking natural recovery solutions to busy professionals looking for stress relief, CBD oil has found its way into the daily routines of people from all walks of life.

In the UK, where the CBD market is booming, consumers have access to an array of CBD products that cater to their diverse needs and preferences. Whether it's CBD-infused gummies for a sweet treat or CBD tinctures for targeted relief, there's something for everyone in this burgeoning market.

Breaking Down Barriers: CBD Oil and Wellness in the UK

As CBD oil continues to gain traction in the UK market, it's breaking down barriers and challenging long-held misconceptions about cannabis-derived products. Thanks to growing awareness and education, more people are embracing CBD oil as a natural wellness solution, free from the stigma that once surrounded it.

In addition to its potential health benefits, CBD oil is also making waves in the beauty and skincare industry, with an array of CBD-infused products hitting the shelves. From soothing balms to luxurious serums, CBD oil is proving to be a versatile ingredient that complements a holistic approach to self-care.

Lights, Camera, Action: Embracing CBD Oil in the UK

As we navigate the ever-changing landscape of health and wellness, CBD oil stands out as a beacon of hope, offering a natural remedy that resonates with individuals seeking balance and vitality. From its subtle presence in film narratives to its real-life impact on consumers in the UK, CBD oil continues to illuminate the path towards a healthier, happier future.

Whether you're a cinephile intrigued by its on-screen appearances or a wellness enthusiast exploring its potential benefits, CBD oil invites you to join the journey towards holistic well-being. With its growing popularity and widespread availability, CBD oil is not just a fleeting trend; it's a timeless ally in the pursuit of a life lived in harmony with nature.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice or replace consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new wellness regimen.

Sunday 25 February 2024

REVIEW: The End We Start From (2024 Film) - Starring Jodie Comer

By Jon Donnis
"The End We Start From" presents a haunting vision of a near-future Britain grappling with environmental catastrophe, as seen through the lens of a young family's struggle for survival. Directed by Mahalia Belo, the film features a standout performance from Jodie Comer as the resilient Woman, supported by a talented ensemble cast including Joel Fry, Mark Strong, and Katherine Waterston.

The film's narrative unfolds against the backdrop of relentless storms and flooding, setting the stage for a gripping tale of resilience and human connection in the face of adversity. As London becomes submerged and resources dwindle, Woman and her husband R embark on a perilous journey to find safety for their newborn son, Zeb. Along the way, they encounter loss, separation, and the harsh realities of a world on the brink of collapse.

One of the film's strengths lies in its portrayal of motherhood amidst chaos, highlighting the profound challenges and fears that accompany the responsibility of caring for a child in such dire circumstances. Comer delivers a powerful performance, conveying a wide range of emotions with subtlety and depth, even in the absence of extensive dialogue.

Belo's direction imbues the film with a sense of intimacy and urgency, capturing the solitary nature of Woman's journey while also exploring broader themes of humanity and solidarity in times of crisis. The sparse use of visual effects, while constrained by budgetary limitations, serves to emphasize the raw authenticity of the storytelling.

However, "The End We Start From" is not without its flaws. Some viewers may find the ending rushed, and the minimal dialogue could prove challenging for those accustomed to more verbose narratives. Additionally, the limited screen time for Benedict Cumberbatch may disappoint fans expecting a larger role for the acclaimed actor.

Furthermore, while the film's exploration of climate change is timely and relevant, some may perceive its messaging as overly political or didactic. Nevertheless, "The End We Start From" ultimately succeeds as a thought-provoking meditation on resilience, sacrifice, and the enduring power of hope in the face of catastrophe.

In conclusion, "The End We Start From" offers a compelling and visually striking portrait of survival in a world ravaged by environmental disaster. While not without its flaws, the film's poignant performances and timely themes make it a worthy addition to the genre. I would rate it a solid 7 out of 10.

Out now on
Also available
The End We Start From Audible Logo Audible Audiobook -

Saturday 24 February 2024

REVIEW: Mea Culpa (2024 Film) Starring Kelly Rowland and Trevante Rhodes

By Jon Donnis
"Mea Culpa," the 2024 legal thriller from Tyler Perry, aims to captivate audiences with its blend of legal drama and seductive intrigue. With a cast led by Kelly Rowland and Trevante Rhodes, the film promises a gripping narrative centered around a criminal defense attorney's entanglement with her client, an accused murderer.

Kelly Rowland shines as Mea Harper, a talented lawyer navigating personal and professional turmoil. Her portrayal adds depth to the character, capturing Mea's internal struggles as she grapples with moral ambiguity and temptation. Trevante Rhodes delivers a compelling performance as Zyair Malloy, the enigmatic artist at the heart of the case, whose charisma draws Mea into a dangerous liaison.

The film's cinematography deserves praise for its ability to create atmosphere and tension, enhancing the narrative's suspenseful moments. However, despite these strengths, "Mea Culpa" ultimately falls short of its potential.

One of the film's major flaws lies in its narrative trajectory. What begins as a promising erotic thriller quickly devolves into a mundane relationship drama, losing the audience's interest along the way. The plot twists, intended to add complexity, instead feel forced and illogical, detracting from the overall coherence of the story.

Additionally, "Mea Culpa" suffers from inconsistent pacing and uninspired dialogue, further diminishing its impact. Despite a strong start, the film fails to maintain momentum, leaving viewers feeling disengaged and ultimately dissatisfied.

In summary, while "Mea Culpa" boasts strong performances from its cast and visually striking cinematography, it ultimately fails to deliver a compelling narrative. Lacking cohesion, logic, and genuine suspense, the film falls short of its potential as a captivating legal thriller. With a score of 3 out of 10, "Mea Culpa" struggles to leave a lasting impression on its audience.

Out Now on Netflix.

Friday 23 February 2024

REVIEW: Drive-Away Dolls (2024 Film) Starring Margaret Qualley and Beanie Feldstein

By Jon Donnis
Set in the dying days of 1999, "Drive-Away Dolls" kicks off with a gripping scene in a Philadelphia bar, where Santos, played by Pedro Pascal, finds himself in a deadly confrontation that sets the tone for the chaotic journey ahead (sadly for Pedro Pascal fans, he is hardly in the film). The story pivots to Jamie (Margaret Qualley) and Sukie (Beanie Feldstein), whose tumultuous relationship sends Jamie on a spontaneous road trip with her friend Marian (Geraldine Viswanathan). Little do they know, they've unwittingly embarked on a perilous adventure involving mistaken identities, criminal dealings, and a peculiar cargo, culminating in a bizarre showdown with a corrupt senator.

"Drive-Away Dolls" promises an uproarious blend of comedy, suspense, and political satire, but ultimately falls short of its potential. While the premise is undeniably intriguing, director Ethan Coen fails to capitalize on its inherent absurdity, resulting in a film that feels underwhelming and derivative.

The film's strongest asset is its ensemble cast, led by the charismatic Margaret Qualley and the endearing Geraldine Viswanathan. Their chemistry drives much of the narrative, as their characters navigate a series of increasingly bizarre and perilous situations. Pedro Pascal delivers a memorable performance as the enigmatic Santos, but sadly his onscreen time is limited.

However, despite the talent on display, "Drive-Away Dolls" struggles to find its comedic footing. The humour often feels forced and predictable, relying too heavily on tired tropes and cheap gags. Moments of genuine wit and absurdity are few and far between, leaving audiences longing for the irreverent charm that defined Coen's earlier works.

Moreover, the film's narrative feels disjointed and hastily assembled, with subplots that fail to coalesce into a cohesive whole. While the central premise holds promise, it's overshadowed by meandering digressions and underdeveloped characters. The climactic showdown with Senator Channel (Matt Damon) feels anticlimactic and rushed, robbing the film of the cathartic payoff it desperately needs.

In summary, "Drive-Away Dolls" is a missed opportunity. While it boasts a talented cast and an intriguing premise, it ultimately fails to deliver on its comedic potential. With its lackluster humor and disjointed narrative, the film falls short of the mark, leaving audiences with a sense of disappointment rather than satisfaction.

I score Drive-Away Dolls a disappointing 5 out of 10.

Out now on digital at

Thursday 22 February 2024

COMPETITION: Win V/H/S/94 (A Shudder Original) on Blu-ray

Seminal horror franchise V/H/S takes us back to the nineties with its fourth wicked instalment, V/H/S/94, that will have you taped to the telly. Dubbed a 'grisly, gory Gem' by The New York Times, this acclaimed Shudder Original promises more hair-raising, old-school entertainment and gruesome good fun with this new collection of bone-chilling tales of found footage terror. V/H/S/94 arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and digital on 26 February 2024, courtesy of Acorn Media International.

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

The year is 1994 and when a mysterious VHS tape is found, a ruthless police SWAT team raid a remote warehouse, only to discover a sinister cult compound whose collection of pre-recorded material uncovers a nightmarish conspiracy... all will be revealed in the creepy compendium of horrors that follow.
The twisted tales are written and directed by an impressive line-up of horror talent, including Simon Barrett (You’re Next, The Guest) and Timo Tjahjanto (The Night Comes For Us, May the Devil Take You Too) and newcomers Jennifer Reeder, Ryan Prows and Chloe Okuno.
In Chloe Okuno’s Storm Drain, a reporter (Anna Hopkins – The Expanse) and her cameraman enter a drain to capture footage of a legendary creature known as The Rat Man, who has reportedly been spotted in the city’s sewers. Once down there, they soon get way more than they bargained for...

In Simon Barrett’s The Empty Wake, a young woman named Hailey is assigned to host the evening wake for a man named Andrew Edwards, but there’s a strange request: that Andrew’s casket be filmed for the whole night. What exactly is Hailey in for?

In Timo Tjahjanto’s The Subject, a deranged but skilled scientist, Dr James Suhendra, wants to create a successful mechanical-human hybrid and has started kidnapping humans to use as guinea pigs. Can they escape before falling victim to his violent experiments?

Finally, in Ryan Prows’ Terror starring Christian Lloyd (The Handmaid’s Tale), a white supremacist extremist group known as the First Patriots Movement Militia is plotting to blow up a government building and take back America... but at what cost?

Prepare to have your nightmares rewound by V/H/S/94 – a bloodcurdling, eerily entertaining, graphically gory and at times darkly funny descent into the depths of horror. 

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 04-03-24
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: Lights Out (2024 Film) - Starring Frank Grillo and Jaime King

Review by Jon Donnis
Directed by Christian Sesma and featuring an ensemble cast including Frank Grillo, Mekhi Phifer, Jaime King, Dermot Mulroney, and Scott Adkins, "Lights Out" is a 2024 American action thriller that delivers on adrenaline-pumping action but somewhat lacks in originality.

The premise introduces us to Duffy (Frank Grillo), a wandering veteran plagued by the ghosts of his past. His nomadic existence leads him to Los Angeles, where a chance encounter with Max (Mekhi Phifer), an ex-convict managing fighters for an underground fight club, sets the stage for a gritty tale of redemption, survival, and revenge. Max recognizes Duffy's potential but also sees the danger of him succumbing to his inner demons, mirroring his deceased brother's fate. As Duffy gets embroiled in a web of crime involving Max's family and ruthless antagonists like Sage Parker (Dermot Mulroney) and the formidable police detective Ellen Ridgeway (Jaime King), the stakes skyrocket, leading to intense confrontations and electrifying action sequences.

The film benefits from a stellar cast who infuse life into their roles. Frank Grillo's portrayal of Duffy, a man haunted by his past yet driven by a sense of honor, anchors the narrative with gravitas and intensity. Mekhi Phifer brings depth to the conflicted character of Max, whose loyalty to his family clashes with his involvement in the criminal underworld. Jaime King delivers a commanding performance as Ellen Ridgeway, exuding authority and menace in equal measure. Dermot Mulroney's portrayal of Sage Parker adds layers to the villainous persona, injecting the narrative with palpable tension.

"Lights Out" excels in delivering adrenaline-fueled action sequences, courtesy of impressive choreography and skillful direction. From bone-crunching fistfights to heart-pounding shootout sequences, the film keeps audiences on the edge of their seats throughout its runtime. The blend of martial arts and boxing elements adds a dynamic flair to the action, catering to fans of the genre.

However, despite its strengths, "Lights Out" falls short in terms of originality. The plot follows familiar tropes of the action-thriller genre, and the lack of significant character development limits emotional engagement. While the film delivers on its promises of pulse-pounding entertainment, it may leave some viewers craving more depth and nuance in its storytelling.

In summary, "Lights Out" is a rollicking ride packed with punches, kicks, and adrenaline-pumping thrills. With a strong cast, well-executed action sequences, and a compelling central performance by Frank Grillo, it delivers on its promise of high-octane entertainment. However, its derivative plot and lack of character development prevent it from ascending to greatness. For fans of martial arts and boxing films seeking a fun and action-packed experience, "Lights Out" offers a satisfying ride.

I score Lights Out a kick ass 7 out of 10.

Out now on Digital

Wednesday 21 February 2024

REVIEW: American Star (2024 Film) - Starring Ian McShane

By Jon Donnis
"American Star," directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego, presents a compelling narrative centered around an aging assassin seeking one last assignment, played with captivating gravitas by Ian McShane. The film unfolds as Wilson, tired of his violent profession, journeys to Fuerteventura to fulfill his final task. However, his target's absence leads him to an unexpected tranquil respite, where he forms connections with the island's inhabitants, particularly Gloria, portrayed by the charming Nora Arnezeder. As Wilson immerses himself in this newfound serenity, the inevitable pull of his past disrupts the peaceful interlude, challenging his resolve and principles.

The film's strengths lie in its commanding lead performance by Ian McShane, who effortlessly conveys Wilson's internal conflict and weariness with his life choices. López-Gallego skillfully crafts an intense atmosphere, enhanced by the stunning landscapes of Fuerteventura, which serve as a stark contrast to Wilson's tumultuous past. The interactions between Wilson and Gloria, as well as other characters like Thomas (Thomas Kretschmann) and Anne (Fanny Ardant), provide moments of depth and humanity amidst the suspenseful narrative.

"American Star" is a smart and thoughtful thriller that delves into themes of redemption, moral ambiguity, and the consequences of one's actions. The film maintains a precise focus on its central message, punctuated by enjoyable flashes of comedy and drama that add layers to the storyline. However, it's not without its shortcomings. The script, while engaging, follows a somewhat formulaic trajectory, and the plot's predictability may hinder its impact on some viewers. Additionally, the film occasionally veers into art-house territory without offering a fully satisfying conclusion, leaving some loose ends unresolved.

In summary, "American Star" is a thought-provoking film anchored by Ian McShane's compelling performance. Fans of the actor will undoubtedly appreciate his portrayal of Wilson and the emotional depth he brings to the character. However, the film's pacing may feel slow at times, and its formulaic elements might detract from the overall experience for some audiences. Despite these drawbacks, "American Star" remains a commendable thriller with enough substance to warrant a watch, earning a fair rating of 7 out of 10.

Out now on Digital at