Sunday 31 March 2024

REVIEW: Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024 Film) Starring Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Dan Stevens and Kaylee Hottle

Review by Jon Donnis
Director Adam Wingard returns to the helm in "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire," the latest installment in the MonsterVerse franchise. Produced by Legendary Pictures, this film serves as a sequel to the epic clash between Godzilla and Kong in 2021's "Godzilla vs. Kong." Promising another round of monstrous mayhem, Wingard's vision delivers on the spectacle while expanding the universe with new locales and threats.


The plot picks up some time after the defeat of Mechagodzilla, with Kong retreating to the depths of the newly discovered Hollow Earth while Godzilla maintains order on the Earth's surface. However, tranquility is short-lived as an unidentified signal emerges, triggering a chain of events that pulls both Titans back into action. As Godzilla embarks on a journey to confront the source of the signal, Kong discovers a tribe of giant apes within the Hollow Earth, sparking a new adventure. Not to mention a super cute baby Kong character which you will love.


Rebecca Hall reprises her role as Dr. Ilene Andrews, accompanied by Brian Tyree Henry's charismatic portrayal of conspiracy podcaster Bernie Hayes. Their journey intertwines with that of Kaylee Hottle's Jia, the last known survivor of the Iwi tribe from Skull Island, who shares a special bond with Kong. Together with a Titan veterinarian named Trapper, played by Dan Stevens, the characters embark on a perilous quest into the heart of the Earth.

The film thrives on its relentless action and stunning visual effects. From towering skyscraper battles to breathtaking Hollow Earth landscapes, each frame is filled with awe-inspiring spectacle. Wingard skillfully choreographs epic showdowns between Titans, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats throughout. The clash between Kong and the tyrannical Skar King, aided by the ice-powered Titan Shimo, is particularly memorable, showcasing the film's commitment to delivering larger-than-life battles.


However, "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" falls short in terms of character development and storytelling depth. While the action is undeniably thrilling, the human side of the narrative feels underexplored, with limited emotional resonance for the characters. The film leans heavily on its blockbuster spectacle, sacrificing opportunities for deeper exploration of its themes and characters.

Additionally, some inconsistencies in monster size may detract from the immersion for certain viewers. While the visual effects are undeniably impressive, moments where the scale of the Titans seems inconsistent may pull audiences out of the experience.

This is a pure big action CGI Hollywood type of film, and that means there isn't much of a story, and where as the 2023 Japanese film "Godzilla Minus One" exemplified the power of storytelling and human resilience in the face of unimaginable challenges, this film does lack that human side, the character development that Japanese movies are just better at telling.


In summary, "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" is a thrilling rollercoaster ride that delivers on its promise of epic monster battles. Wingard's direction, coupled with breathtaking visuals, ensures a spectacle that will leave audiences in awe. While the film may lack depth in its storytelling and character development, it more than makes up for it with sheer entertainment value. Fans of the MonsterVerse franchise will undoubtedly find plenty to enjoy, making it a worthy addition to the series.

Score: 8 out of 10.

Out now in Cinemas.
Coming soon to digital at

Thursday 28 March 2024

REVIEW: Immaculate (2024 Film) - Stars Sydney Sweeney

Immaculate

By Jon Donnis
"Immaculate," directed by Michael Mohan and written by Andrew Lobel, is a psychological horror film that weaves a gripping narrative around a young woman's descent into a nightmarish world of religious fanaticism and twisted experiments. The film's plot delves deep into themes of faith, manipulation, and the dark side of devotion, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats throughout its duration.

Sydney Sweeney

The story follows Sister Cecilia, portrayed with depth and intensity by Sydney Sweeney, as she embarks on a journey to an Italian convent, lured by promises of divine purpose and sanctuary. However, what initially appears as a haven for the faithful soon reveals itself to be a sinister labyrinth of secrets and horrors.

One of the film's strengths lies in its meticulous attention to detail, effectively immersing viewers in the eerie atmosphere of the convent. From the enigmatic scars on the elder nun's feet to the grotesque fetuses preserved in jars, every aspect of the setting contributes to the growing sense of dread and unease. Mohan's direction masterfully builds tension, culminating in a chilling third act filled with shocking revelations and visceral scares.


Sydney Sweeney's performance as Sister Cecilia is a standout, capturing the character's vulnerability and inner turmoil with haunting authenticity. As Cecilia grapples with the inexplicable phenomenon of her virgin pregnancy and the sinister machinations of those around her, Sweeney's portrayal keeps audiences emotionally invested in her harrowing plight.

While "Immaculate" delivers plenty of effective jump scares and moments of visceral horror, some viewers may find the abundance of these elements to be overwhelming at times. Additionally, the film's religious themes, while integral to its plot, may feel somewhat familiar in the context of the horror genre. However, the film's strong third act and Sweeney's compelling performance ultimately elevate it above these minor shortcomings.


In summary, "Immaculate" is a gripping and atmospheric horror film that offers a fresh take on familiar themes. With its immersive setting, standout performances, and chilling third act, it delivers an experience that will linger in the minds of audiences long after the credits roll. Despite its occasional reliance on tropes and jump scares, the film earns a solid 7.5 out of 10, making it a must-watch for horror aficionados seeking a thrilling and unsettling cinematic journey.

Out Now in Cinemas, and coming soon to digital at

Tuesday 26 March 2024

NEWS & TRAILER: Witch (2024 Film) British folk horror feature from Craig Hinde and Marc Zammit

By Jon Donnis
Get ready to be ensnared by the eerie charm of "Witch," the latest British folk horror film poised to send shivers down your spine. Directed by the dynamic duo of Craig Hinde and Marc Zammit, who also lend their pens alongside David Baboulen, this chilling tale is set to make its UK debut this Spring, courtesy of 101 Films.


Set in small-town England in 1575, "Witch" transports audiences to an era where fear of the supernatural ran rampant, and accusations of witchcraft could mean instant death. Sarah Alexandra Marks embodies Twyla, a tender-hearted wife and mother whose life hangs in the balance after being falsely accused of consorting with dark forces. Her husband William, played by Ryan Spong, embarks on a perilous quest to unearth the truth and save his beloved from a grim fate.


As William delves deeper into the shadows, he encounters tales of ancient malevolence that blur the lines between folklore and reality. Alongside him, audiences are led to question whether the witch he seeks is a mere mortal or something far more sinister. Russell Shaw adds to the intrigue with his captivating performance, drawing viewers deeper into the web of mystery and dread.


"Witch" promises to bewitch audiences with its blend of historical drama and supernatural terror, weaving a narrative that explores the bonds of love amidst the encroaching darkness. Brace yourselves for a cinematic experience that leaves an indelible mark on the past, present, and future.


Prepare to be spellbound when "Witch" materializes on digital platforms on April 29, 2024. But heed the warning: in the season of the Witch, darkness lurks where least expected.

Monday 25 March 2024

NEWS & TRAILER: La Cha Cha (2024 Film) - Starring Liam Hourican

By Jon Donnis
Get ready for a rollicking ride through the valleys of Wales in Director Kevin Allen's uproarious new comedy, "La Cha Cha." Set to make its UK digital debut on March 25, this film promises to be a riotous romp filled with colourful characters and offbeat charm.

For fans of Allen's cult classic "Twin Town," "La Cha Cha" offers a delightful reunion with the director and his acclaimed cast. But this time, instead of delinquent twins causing chaos, we're introduced to a retirement community like no other.

Mild-mannered Irishman Solti Buttering, played by the talented Liam Hourican, finds himself on an unexpected journey through Wales to scatter his grandfather's ashes. Along the way, he stumbles upon La Cha Cha, an unconventional caravan site inhabited by a lively group of retirees living life to the fullest.

From nudists to musicians to a thriving alternative community, La Cha Cha is a haven for those who refuse to grow old gracefully. Daily life at the site is a whirlwind of activities, including paintballing, yoga, and plenty of dancing.

But all is not well at La Cha Cha. Despite the community's vibrant spirit, its young owners, played by Ruby and Sonny Ashbourne Serkis, are struggling to keep the site afloat. Enter Solti, who, charmed by the residents, decides to lend a hand. Together with the siblings, he embarks on a mission to save their beloved sanctuary.

"La Cha Cha" promises to be a totally original, beautifully bonkers, and wickedly funny comedy that captures the heart and soul of Wales. With its cracking characters and Welsh charm, there's never a dull moment at La Cha Cha.

Mark your calendars for March 25, 2024, when "La Cha Cha" arrives digitally in the UK, courtesy of Seven Tales Entertainment Ltd. Don't miss your chance to experience this one-of-a-kind cinematic adventure.



Friday 22 March 2024

REVIEW: Road House (2024 Film) - Starring Jake Gyllenhaal

Review by Jon Donnis
Road House, helmed by director Doug Liman, revives the spirit of the cult classic with a modern twist, weaving a tale of redemption, camaraderie, and pulse-pounding action. Anchored by Jake Gyllenhaal's compelling portrayal of Elwood Dalton, a former UFC fighter turned reluctant hero, the film plunges viewers into the tumultuous world of the Florida Keys.


Dalton's journey unfolds against the backdrop of "The Road House," a gritty establishment teeming with colorful characters and simmering tensions. Initially hesitant to accept a job as head bouncer, Dalton's decision is catalyzed by a near-fatal encounter with a freight train, marking the first step in his path toward redemption.

As Dalton settles into his new role, he forms an unlikely bond with Charlie, a spirited teen, and Ellie, a compassionate doctor. However, his newfound peace is shattered when he clashes with the ruthless Ben Brandt and his mafia cohorts, setting the stage for a showdown of epic proportions.


The film's strength lies in its unabashed embrace of campiness, delivering a rollercoaster ride of adrenaline-fueled spectacle and genuine emotion. Jake Gyllenhaal's decent performance anchors the narrative, Gyllenhaal is always fun to watch. Word of warning though, Conor McGregor is in the film and if you struggle with understanding strong Irish Accents, then you will struggle to understand him. Oh and he walks around like he has shat his pants, which is always funny.

Yet, the film is not without its flaws. The excessive use of visual effects and CGI in fight scenes occasionally detracts from the gritty realism the film strives to convey. Additionally, while the cast delivers solid performances, this remake will struggle to surpass the legacy of its predecessor for most if not all viewers.


Nevertheless, "Road House" captivates audiences with its charismatic cast, thrilling action sequences, and heartfelt camaraderie. While it may not reach the heights of the original, it offers a nostalgic and entertaining escape into the world of cheesy action cinema.

Overall, "Road House" (2024) earns a fair rating of 6.5 out of 10. It's a commendable effort at reviving the spirit of the cult classic, but falls short of fully capturing its magic. Nonetheless, for viewers seeking an adrenaline-fueled adventure filled with action and heart, "Road House" delivers an enjoyable ride.

Out Now on Digital at

Tuesday 19 March 2024

REVIEW: Imaginary (2024 Film) - Starring DeWanda Wise

By Jon Donnis
Imaginary is a spine-chilling exploration of childhood innocence and the lurking horrors of repressed memories, directed and produced by Jeff Wadlow and brought to life by the genre-defining masterminds at Blumhouse. Set against the backdrop of a Louisiana childhood home, the film grips viewers with its sinister premise: what if imaginary friends aren't just products of youthful imagination, but manifestations of something far more sinister?


DeWanda Wise delivers a compelling performance as Jessica, a woman haunted by the return of an imaginary friend from her past, while Pyper Braun shines as Alice, Jessica's stepdaughter, whose innocent games with a seemingly harmless stuffed bear take a sinister turn. Dane DiLiegro breathes life into the enigmatic Chauncey Bear, blurring the lines between childhood whimsy and malevolent force.

As Jessica's memories resurface, fueled by cryptic tales from her elderly neighbor Gloria, portrayed with eerie authenticity by Betty Buckley, the tension escalates. The film expertly weaves together a narrative of family dynamics, psychological terror, and supernatural intrigue, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats.


One of the film's strengths lies in its pacing and character development. Each twist and turn feels deliberate, drawing viewers deeper into the mystery. The judicious use of jump scares and tension-building music heightens the immersive experience, while the creature designs add an extra layer of dread to the proceedings.

However, "Imaginary" isn't without its flaws. Some plot twists may feel telegraphed to astute viewers, detracting slightly from the overall impact. Yet, even with its occasional predictability, the film manages to deliver a satisfying blend of horror tropes and unexpected revelations.


In summary, "Imaginary" emerges as a solid supernatural horror film that delivers on its promises of creepy toys, possessed protagonists, and demonic apparitions. While it may not break new ground in the genre, its competent execution and effective scares make it a worthwhile watch for horror enthusiasts. With a fair rating of 6.5 out of 10, "Imaginary" offers an engaging journey into the dark recesses of the human psyche, where childhood fears and forgotten memories collide with terrifying consequences.

Out Now on Digital

Sunday 17 March 2024

REVIEW: Damsel (2024 Film) - Starring Millie Bobby Brown

Review by Jon Donnis
"Damsel" weaves a captivating tale of dark fantasy and adventure, skillfully directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and penned by Dan Mazeau. At its core lies the story of Elodie, brought to life with remarkable depth by Millie Bobby Brown, who embarks on a treacherous journey after accepting a marriage proposal from a charming prince. Little does she know, her betrothal is a ruse to settle ancient debts owed by a royal family.


Thrown into a harrowing predicament, Elodie finds herself imprisoned in a cavern alongside a fire-breathing dragon, voiced with haunting allure by Shohreh Aghdashloo. As she grapples with survival, Elodie's character undergoes a compelling transformation, evolving from a naive maiden to a resilient heroine driven by sheer determination.


The ensemble cast, including seasoned actors like Robin Wright (The Princess Bride, here she plays a Queen with an ulterior motive), adds layers of complexity to the narrative, offering nuanced performances that enrich the fantastical world of "Damsel."


While the film excels in its character development and atmospheric storytelling, it is not without its flaws. Audiences may find themselves questioning certain plot elements, such as the origin of a crucial map within the cavern, which detracts from the overall immersion. Who drew the map showing how to escape? If they escaped, did they then go back to draw the map? This one thing had me screaming at the screen. Not to mention a chest wound on the Elodie character which switched from one side of her chest to the other  towards the end of the film.


Furthermore, while the film's commitment to diversity is evident, the inclusion of certain characters may feel contrived, disrupting the coherence of the narrative. Come on, the setting is some kind of medieval England, not downtown Manhattan.

Despite these shortcomings, "Damsel" remains an engaging fantasy film suitable for audiences starting with mid teens and going upwards. With its blend of suspense, adventure, and dark fantasy elements, "Damsel" offers an enthralling cinematic experience that earns a commendable 7 out of 10 rating.

Out now on Netflix

Wednesday 13 March 2024

REVIEW: Megamind vs. the Doom Syndicate (2024 Film) - Starring Keith Ferguson

By Jon Donnis
"Megamind vs. the Doom Syndicate" attempts to recapture the charm and wit of its predecessor while expanding the universe with new characters and adventures. However, despite its efforts, the film falls short in several key areas.

One of the film's strengths lies in its attempt to explore Megamind's transition from supervillain to superhero. Keith Ferguson brings a different but still charismatic energy to the role of Megamind, while Laura Post delivers a commendable performance as Roxanne Ritchi. The introduction of new characters such as Lady Doppler, Pierre Pressure, Lord Nighty-Knight, Behemoth, and Machiavillain adds freshness to the narrative and offers new dynamics for Megamind to navigate.


The plot, while promising in concept, feels underdeveloped and lacks the depth and excitement expected from a sequel. The pacing is uneven, with certain scenes feeling rushed while others drag on, leading to an overall uneventful experience. The reliance on recycled jokes and tired tropes from the original film further detracts from the film's originality and fails to engage the audience fully.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the film is the absence of the original voice cast, with the replacements failing to capture the essence of the characters. This decision may alienate fans who grew attached to the voices of Will Ferrell and Tina Fey in the original film.


Additionally, the animation quality is a step down from its predecessor, which is particularly jarring given the advancement in animation technology over the past decade. The lackluster visuals detract from the overall viewing experience and undermine the film's attempts to immerse the audience in its world.

Overall, "Megamind vs. the Doom Syndicate" struggles to live up to the legacy of its predecessor. While it may entertain very young audiences unfamiliar with the original film, it ultimately feels like a missed opportunity to deliver a satisfying sequel. DreamWorks Animation would have been better served by investing more time and resources into crafting a sequel that honours the spirit of the original while pushing the franchise forward. As it stands, "Megamind vs. the Doom Syndicate" earns a disappointing score of 3 out of 10.


Tuesday 12 March 2024

REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda 4 (2024 Film) - Starring Jack Black, Awkwafina, Viola Davis and Dustin Hoffman

By Jon Donnis
Kung Fu Panda 4 brings back the beloved Po, voiced by the comedic genius Jack Black, in another uproarious adventure filled with martial arts mayhem and heartwarming moments. Directed by Mike Mitchell, this installment retains the essence of the franchise while introducing new challenges and characters to keep audiences entertained.

The plot centers on Po's unexpected role as the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace, a position that he feels ill-prepared for. His journey to embrace this new responsibility is complicated by the emergence of the villainous sorceress Chameleon, brilliantly portrayed by Viola Davis. Chameleon's ability to shapeshift poses a grave threat as she seeks to seize Po's Staff of Wisdom and wreak havoc on the world.


One of the highlights of the film is the dynamic between Po and the quick-witted thief Zhen, voiced by the charismatic Awkwafina. Their unlikely partnership forms the backbone of the story, leading to moments of humour and personal growth for both characters.

The voice cast delivers stellar performances across the board, with veterans like Dustin Hoffman reprising his role as Master Shifu and newcomers like Viola Davis adding depth to the roster of characters. Bryan Cranston's portrayal of Po's biological father adds emotional resonance to the narrative, further enriching the familial themes explored throughout the film.


Visually, Kung Fu Panda 4 continues the tradition of stunning animation that the franchise is known for. The action sequences are expertly animated, showcasing the characters' martial arts prowess with fluidity and precision. From the serene landscapes of the Valley of Peace to the dark lairs of the villains, each scene is meticulously crafted to immerse viewers in the world of Kung Fu Panda.

While the film delivers on its promise of entertainment, it may fall short in comparison to its predecessors in terms of depth and originality. Some jokes and plot points feel familiar, echoing themes and gags from previous installments. However, these shortcomings are overshadowed by the film's charm and humour, making it a worthy addition to the franchise.


Kung Fu Panda 4 is a delightful continuation of Po's adventures, offering a blend of action, comedy, and heartwarming moments that will appeal to audiences of all ages. Despite its minor flaws, it remains a solid entry in the series, earning a commendable rating of 8.5 out of 10. Fans of the franchise can rest assured that their favorite panda is back and better than ever.

Out in cinemas now and coming soon to digital at
And you can watch the first 3 films at https://amzn.to/48SADqv

Monday 11 March 2024

COMPETITION: Win Green Room on 4K UHD


The brand-new Limited Edition release of Green Room will be music to your fears, as Second Sight Films gives acclaimed director Jeremy Saulnier’s (Blue Ruin) hit horror the physical release it deserves on 18 March 2024, standard editions will also be available.

And to celebrate we have a great competition and 2 copies on Standard 4K UHD to give away.

Synopsis
In a masterclass in casting, national treasure Patrick Stewart gives an outstandingly terrifying turn as a sadistic neo-Nazi and stars alongside stellar cast, the late Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Hearts in Atlanta), Imogen Poots (Vivarium, 28 Weeks Later) Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development, Whip It), Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders, Skins) and Callum Turner (War & Peace, Victor Frankenstein), who all give unwavering performances. This, accompanied by a stomping soundtrack and a bucket load of bloody violence makes for ‘A debilitating, white-knuckled thrill fest’ says Starburst Magazine.

Struggling punk band Ain't Rights are in the Pacific Northwest for a gig, but when it’s cancelled, Pat, Sam, Reece and Tiger must find another way of making the money that they desperately need. When an opportunity for a show in the sticks arises, they can’t say no… but what the hell have they walked into?

The venue turns out to be a neo-Nazi bar… and when the band witness a brutal murder, things quickly spiral out of control and they find themselves trapped in the green room, with little chance of escape…  Forced to fight for survival using anything and everything at their disposal, can they make it out alive?

Take your seat in the Green Room for a ‘Brutal, vicious, cerebral and expertly acted movie that will get your heart thumping, and your adrenaline rushing’ (Film Threat).
 
Pre-order on Amazon at https://amzn.to/3wWarO5

Enter now for a chance to win.

COMPETITION CLOSED

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 25-03-24
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 Brandon Cronenberg's Possessor on 4K UHD


Visionary director Brandon Cronenberg's ‘terrifying sci-fi horror freak-out’ (The Guardian) Possessor garnered international acclaim on its 2020 release from critics and audiences alike and now, masters in the field, Second Sight Films work their magic with a brand-new Limited Dual Edition 4K UHD/Blu -ray Box set due for release alongside Standard Edition releases on 4K UHD and Blu-ray, on 18 March 2024.

And to celebrate we have a great competition and 2 copies on Standard 4KUHD to give away.

Synopsis
On the surface Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough – Mandy, Nocturnal Animals, Birdman) appears to be a regular woman with a son and husband waiting for her at home when she returns from her ‘business’ trips. But there’s more to her than meets the eye… As an elite corporate assassin, Tasya takes control of other people's bodies using brain implant technology to execute high-profile targets. With each hit comes a stronger lust for blood, and her newfound thirst for killing throws the whole operation into jeopardy.

Described as ‘One of the best and smartest films of the decade’ by New Scientist and with a spellbinding turn from Riseborough, alongside stand-out performances from co-stars Christopher Abbott, Sean Bean, Jennifer Jason Lee and Tuppence Middleton, prepare for an ultra-violent, mind-blowing experience, like nothing you’ve seen before.

You’re guaranteed to be possessed by Possessor – so make sure you get your hands on this ultimate release.
 
Pre-order on Amazon at https://amzn.to/3TvQLK4

Enter now for a chance to win.

COMPETITION CLOSED


Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 25-03-24
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 The Comedy Man (Vintage Classics) on Blu-ray



The Comedy Man is released on DVD and Bluray from March 18th as part of the Vintage Classics releases.

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

Synopsis
THE COMEDY MAN is a 1964 British kitchen sink drama directed by Alvin Rakoff, featuring a performance from Kenneth More critics hailed as his finest work. With a superior supporting cast in Cecil Parker, Dennis Price and Billie Whitelaw, THE COMEDY MAN depicts the life of a struggling actor in Swinging London. 

Fired from his job in repertory theatre after seducing the producer’s wife, Chick Byrd (Kenneth More) moves to London. At 40 years old, he realises this is his last chance to make it as an actor. After moving into digs in London with Julian, a fellow actor, Julian’s career soars after a successful screen test, but Chick’s meets with continued failure. After a tumultuous event, Chick finally gets a break and finds the fame he has always craved, but even with a bank balance, celebrity and settled way of life, Chick needs to finally face the truth. EXTRAS: The Show Must Go On: An Interview with Alvin Rakoff, More to the Point: An Interview with Neil Sinyard, Trailer

Pre-order on Amazon at https://amzn.to/3Vdt7mK

Enter now for a chance to win.

COMPETITION CLOSED


Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 25-03-24
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.