Monday, 31 August 2015



Starring Robert Friend, Rebecca Wire, Zachary Quinto, Thomas Kretschm and Ciarán Hinds. Written by Skip Woods, Michael Finch and Kyle Ward. Directed by Aleksander Bach. 96 minutes long.

Genetic scientist,
Ciarán Hinds, creates the ultimate assassin, they get called Agents, then he decides to go 'off grid' disappears with his wife and daughter. The Agent program is shut down and the surviving agents disappear. Then some shadowy corporation called the Syndicate decides Agents are a great idea and decides to reactivate the program and the search is on for the scientist. 20 odd years later, they're searching for his daughter (Rebecca Wire), now all grown up, suffering from hallucinations who is also searching for her daddy, who abandoned her when she was a baby. The Syndicate send out John Smith, Zachary Quinto to get to the girl before genetically enhanced Agent 47, Robert Friend, gets to her first. But is everybody who they say they are?

And that's the plot nailed solid! What follows is the usual, action film tropes and memes as Agent 47 goes after his target, shooting all the bodyguards and NPCs but never bothering to shot or kill Quinto until the final showdown. Until then, it's the usual car chase, gun battle, fist fight, plot chat, car chase, gun battle, fist fight, plot chat repeated until the end, when the big bad boss villain does something completely out of character and a helicopter is crashed into a building to announce the arrival of the third act and the final showdown between hero and villain, which turns out to be as exciting as watching paint dry.

The dialogue is top class with such exchanges as this one, between Rebecca Wire and Zachary Quinto. 

"Is your name really, John Smith?"
"No... It's Brian."


Featuring CGI animation that would be rejected by the average video game and offering absolutely nothing new or interesting, this is the usual, off-the-rack plot bollock with a totally bland leading man and a heavily emoting female lead, with more gun play and consequences-free violence than you could shake a stick at.

It's an embarrassingly old-fashioned and hackneyed pile of crap and even if it hadn't been released in the same year as John Wick it would still look like a terrible throw back to the bad old days of lazy action film crap and video-game adaptations.

A few chuckles to be had but that's about it.

2/10 (for a funny sequence where Rebecca dismantles 47's gun because she can't sleep).

Tuesday, 25 August 2015



Starring Jack Whitehall, Lindsay Adams, Kae Alexander, Jack Binstead, Harry Enfield, Iain Glen, Mathew Horne, Ethan Lawrence, Bruce Mackinnon, Nikki Runeckles, Joanna Scanlan, Layton Williams and Sarah Solemani. Written by Jack Whitehall and Freddy Syborn. Directed by Elliot Hegarty. 90 minutes long.

With his beloved class awaiting their GCSE results, perennial manchild and history teacher Alfie Wickers decides to take his class away for one last trip to Cornwall to get 'shit-faced'. However the attentions of an over protective parent complicates matters and ultimately leads to the group getting embroiled in a plot for Cornish independence, the local Cornwall Liberation Army and becoming branded terrorists hunted by both the police and an army of irate parents out for Alfie's head.

Your enjoyment of this film will all depend on your feelings towards the short lived, three-season  BBC 3 series that ran from 2012 - 2014 and starred all of the major cast. If you loved the show, chances are you'll probably love this too, although it's only sporadically funny, starting very strongly but then getting bogged down and coasting till the ending where it gets its funny on again. That's not to say the bits in between are a laugh-free zone, only that it does become a little flat. However, if the idea of a half-naked man, with his nut-sac hanging out, flying through the air on a zip wire causes you to chuckle then you're in for a double treat. Actually come to think of it, if you're a fan of testicle based humour of any kind you're in for a special treat as poor Jack Whitehall's jewels get not only a healthy outing but also a healthy pummeling to boot. 

The cast and Whitehall in particular are fun, but this film lacks the heart of the TV series, it's fun to see the cast taken out of the school and sent on holiday, which has been a staple of British TV sitcom adaptations since Holiday on the Buses, but it just doesn't really do much with the idea and when the plot with the Cornish Liberation Front finally kicks in, it sort of spoils the feel of the film, the fun always came from just how useless and dangerously insane Alfie Wickers was and the lengths he'd go to ingratiate himself with his class.

This isn't a horrible, laugh-free abomination like Absolutely Anything, indeed there are laughs aplenty to be had, it's just a very silly, slight and stupid film, but sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered.

5/10 (could do better, see me after class).

Sunday, 23 August 2015



Starring Simon Peg, Kate Beckinsale, the surviving members of Monty Python and the voice of Robin Williams. Plus a load of British comedy actors including Joanna Lumley, Eddie Izzard, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal.

Written by Gavin Scott and Terry Jones. Directed by Terry Jones. 85 minutes long.

Pegg is a failed writer and teacher with a gambling problem who is picked at random by the intergalactic council of aliens (the Monty Python bunch) and given the power to do absolutely anything just by wishing for it and waving his hand. The reason, is to find out if Earth is worthy of membership to the council or just utter annihilation. Kate Beckindale is the love interest (who sleeps with him as a dare) and researcher on a TV show about books who lives below him and Robin Williams provides the voice of his dog, Dennis and if you listen really, really carefully you can actually hear him sob at the end of every line.

Nothing can quite prepare you for the awfulness of this cinematic abomination of ineptitude. Using London as its location but shooting it as if it were New York, Terry Jones directs with all the subtly of a note tied to a brick thrown thru a plate-glass window. Every actor hams it up for the camera, stopping just short of mugging and gurning, all except Simon Pegg who refuses any opportunity not to twist his face up or emote as if he's in a panto and he's acting to the back row. The only thing missing was him turning to the fourth wall and winking at the audience.

The jokes are as embarrassing as they are cringy, characters point and laugh like drains to help the audience known when there's a joke (for example at one point all British police uniforms are transformed into pink ones and all the man have giant ears and duck feet and a cult of obsessed religious nuts stand and point, laughing loudly to let us know it's funny, it's not). Earlier on, Pegg transforms his best friend into a duck and then a sausage to shut him up just so he can chase Beckinsale into a sandwich bar and get accused of stealing the sausage from a plate of sausages sat at the till, which are there for no other reason than to set up the joke of him having stolen the sausage in the first place. Pegg refuses to pay so the shop worker then smashes him over the head with a china plate of sausages and demands her 80p for the stolen sausage. Hilarious. Like wise are the insanely pedantic results of his wishes, at one point he's chasing Beckingsale (again) who escapes on a bus so he uses his amazing powers to be transported on the bus but he is literally transported onto the top of the bus - Geddit? Cos he said, 'on the bus'. Next he asks to be inside the bus, and wait for it, he ends up inside the engine. Geddit? Cos he asked to be 'in' the bus. Laugh? No, no I didn't. Finally he asks to be inside the passenger area of the bus. God, by this point the whole audience was utterly silence, seriously you could have heard a pin drop.

A comedy American villain (Rob Riggle) is thrown into the mix half way through the film to try and inject life into the proceedings but he proves even worse than everyone else. Sub plots are mixed up and then dropped. Every now and then we cut back to the council, all cgi and voiced by the Pythons who all have the names of women, like Sharon, because that's funny.

Seriously this is a very piss poor film, it has no redeemable qualities at all, nothing to save it and absolutely noting to recommend it at all. If you had a choice of seeing this or absolutely anything else, I'd say go and see Fantastic Four.

Anyone who recommends this to you as a funny night out needs to be expunged from your life. And if you have any fondness for Williams, Pegg, Eddie Izzard, Joanna Lumley or the Pythons then avoid this like the plague it'll only make you hate them all with a venom and loathing you wouldn't have thought possible.

I never thought I'd see a film this year as awful as Fantastic Four or Pixels and I haven't I've seen something worse, much, much worse.


Saturday, 22 August 2015



Starring Amy Schumer, Bill Hader and Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, Colin Quinn and John Cena. Written by Amy Schumer and directed by Judd Aptow. 125 minutes.

Amy Schumer is Amy a commitment phobic, uber-one-night-stander, who never, or rarely, does a sleep over. She's a journalist working for a New York men's magazine given the job of interviewing sports doctor, Aaron Conners (Bill Hader) for a feature. The two hit it off and for the first time in her life she tries to have a serious relationship. Meanwhile, her happily married sister is expecting her first child and their MS crippled father is slowly dying in a care home. After that you just need to join the dots from act one thru to three, ticking all the boxes until the happy ending.

Once again, not the laugh riot promised by the trailers, Amy Schumer is a brilliant, brave performer and very funny to boot, it's just this is much more of a sweet-natured romantic romcom, than a balls out, raunchy comedy and where as there are some raunchy moments, nearly all front ended, before Amy and Aaron meet up, the rest of the film is classic by-the-numbers rom com.

Bill Hader is great and the real life athletes work well, although special mention has to go to John Cena who is just amazing as Amy's sexually confused boyfriend who has one of the funniest scenes in the film during a cinema encounter with a heckler.

Good natured, warm and gooey with a heart, just a shame there wasn't more of Tilda Swinton and Amy's job.

I have to say I don't like Uptoad's work, but of all of his films, this is by far the least rubbish and nowhere near as hateful and despicably vile as This is Farty, sorry Forty. Oh and I don't mind Forty Year Old Virgin.




Starring Henry Carvill, Armie Hammer, Hugh Grant, Alicia Vikander, Jared Harris, Elizabeth Debicki and David Beckham. Written by Guy Ritchie and Lionel Wigram. Directed by Guy Ritchie. 116 minutes long.

It's the 1960s, at the height of the cold war. Insanely ripped, Napoleon Solo (Henry Carvill) - now a buff, ex-international cat burglar forced to work for the C.I.A is in East Berlin to help a ridiculously attractive female car mechanic (Alicia Vikander) escape from under the attentions of super ripped KGB Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), now a walking wall of muscle with a tragic background. The girl is the estranged daughter of a nuclear physicist working for some bad people to build an atomic bomb. So the KGB and the CIA make their two best agents work together to bring down the big bad villains and retrieve the bomb. But guess what, our two, chalk and cheese super agents just they don't get on, indeed they've got nicknames for each other! Cowboy and Peril. So will they overcome their differences and save the day? Well surprisingly, no they don't!

Indeed, they spend so long arguing and fighting that the bad guys lead by beautiful Elizabeth Debicki actually finish the bomb and detonate it successfully starting world war 3 and the film ends with a slow pan across a desolate radioactive wasteland of smoldering ruins and the two super agents still bickering, each blaming the other for them failing their mission.

Nah, just kidding, obvs they save the day

Hooray for the summer of 2015, the summer of 'Meh', and get ready to add another lump of meh to the pile of meh that's stunk up the cinemas for most of the summer like a great big pile of steaming meh.

Nothing much wrong with this, it's got Guy Richie's style all over it, it's professionally made, with a groovy soundtrack, a couple of nice turns -
the raid on the villain's port base is entertaining as is the escape from Berlin and some funny moments, it's just sadly utterly un-engaging and un-involving and there's just nothing holding it all together, there's no chemistry between the two leads and some of the CGI effects are less than special. Henry Carvill acts as stiffly as he looks, occasionally pouting to convey emotion, while Armie Hammer frowns furiously, clenches his fists and smashes things to express his inner feelings. After that the three leads back and forth and never gel, as they lead us from one plot point to the next in a gentle amble, so laid back and hip that I totally forgot what the plot was, what they were up to, or even why. It all leads up to a very unsatisfying ending and showdown with the villain and the obligatory end where the next film is set up. Sadly on the basis of this outing there won't be one.

The original Man From U.N.C.L.E TV show was effortlessly cool, entertaining and chic, everything this wasn't. The crazy thing is that the old TV show sets worked perfectly to create a fake Europe, while here the real thing fails to convince it is anything other than a modern city dressed to look like the 1960s. And whereas the TV show never bothered with an origin or back story for its two heroes, this time round we have to get the whole kit and caboodle and it adds nothing to the mix. What a sad and sorry missed opportunity. If you want to see a really good 1960s based modern spy movie that's funny, extremely funny and very 1960s then give MFU a miss and watch this instead!

Meh From Uncle. 6/10

Incidentally, I saw this in a New York cinema, the Bow Tie in Chelsea, the first film I've ever watched in an American cinema. I don't know if all US cinemas are like the Bow Tie, but boy what a cinema! Fantastic, reclining seats, roomy, relaxing, comfortable. Plus a superb sound system and a great picture too. Plus an amazing range of relatively cheap snacks and good service, I would heartly recommend it!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015



Starring Miles Teller, Jamie Bell, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey and Tim Blake Nelson. Written by Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater and Josh Trank. Directed by Josh Trank. Mercifully just 100 minutes long.

Good news and bad news. Good news first, this isn't anywhere near as dreadful as Pixels, nor as vile and detestable as Batman and Robin or Batman Forever. Neither is it as loathsome as Catwoman, Electra or Johan Hex. Bad news, that's all the good. 

The story, Reed Richards is a boy genius who creates a teleporter to another dimension. Seven years later he's hired by Doctor Storm to help complete Von Doom's inter-dimensional portal device. 15 minutes later, Reed has finished it and so he, Doom, Johnny Storm and Billy Elliot travel to planet Zero, as this new dimension is called, and Doom is seemingly killed by Zero. The others try to escape but are attacked and they barely manage to escape back to Earth. However, each of them Sue, Johnny, Billy and the Little Drummer boy have been changed by Zero and they now all have magical powers, Reed escapes, for some reason and a year later the others are all working, quite happily for the US military doing covert wetwork operations, apart from Reed who's building another machine for some reason not really explained. Anyway, he's politely asked to come back and he does and spends less than 5 minutes helping them fix their new machine then the military send another team of scientists back to Zero, where they meet Doom, now transformed into a sort of metal-thingie who opens up a black-hole between Zero and Earth and starts to suck everything into it. So it's up to our plucky four heroes learn to work together and save the day. Hooray. Then it's back home in time for tea and the naming of our new heroes, luckily, Billy Elliot says how fantastic everything is and that gives Reed an idea and the film ends with him telling everyone they're now called the Four Twats. The credits roll and the audience slowly moves towards the exits muttering things like, 'basic', 'bland', 'dull', and those were the positive things.

Just like Billy Elliot's Thing, Josh Trank's Fantastic Four film lacks balls, it lacks gumption and it's utterly lacking in any action, drama, adventure, excitement or fun. Ensconcing Marvel's sense of fun, this embraces Nolan and Synder's ethic of dark, gloomy, poe-faced seriousness. That's not to say the whole film is a laugh-free train wreck, no not at all. Indeed, when it starts there's a certain fun to be had watching the young Reed and Grimm meet and have a special Goonies style bonding moment, but then it's a flash forward 7 years and the laughter free snore-fest can begin in earnest.

This is just a dull, very uninvolving film that never really gets going, it's like a very long 100 minute windup. It's like one of those old Evel Kenevel bikes, the longer you wound up the bike the faster it would go, well Trask spends a 100 minutes charging this film and sadly he just forgot to let go. 

I'd actually recommend the trailer, as it gets to the point far quicker and shows you all the scenes from the film, including the demise of Doom.

This is just a long, plodding, dull dirge. A film that never gets up to speed and just sort of coasts to the end, offering nothing new. In a summer of mediocrity, this floats like an unwanted turd in a bowl of tepid meh. Not totally horrific, but definitely totally Meh.

It gets a solid 3/10 for no other reason that it didn't elicit loathing or hatred for it.

Saturday, 1 August 2015



Starring Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremey Renner, Rebecca Ferguson, Alex Baldwin, Sean Harris and Ving Rhames.

Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie. 131 minutes long.

It's time to fit the catheter, mother, we're going to the cinema! You've gaped at the trailer, you've seen the poster (it's there, nine lines up) and witnessed Tom Cruise clinging to the side of an aircraft and you've probably thought you've seen the climax of the movie, well don't worry you haven't, indeed within the constructs of the movie, you've not even seen beyond the first scene! Yes! it's time for the new Miss: Imp movie, one of the last summer block-buster movies of the year, with only Man From Uncle (another spy film) and Pan to go.

The plot, revolves around Ethan's discovery of an anti-I.M.F (Impossible Mission Force) and his mission to destroy it before it destroys him, along the way becoming the sole target of Alex Baldwin run C.I.A and forced to go rogue to do it, with only the help of old friends, Simon Pegg's Benji Dunn, Ving Rhames' Luther Stickell, Jeremy Renner's William Brant and the new, Rebecca Ferguson's Ilsa Faust.

The Miss Imp films often get overlooked, unlike the Bournes and Bonds and it's unjustified, in terms of box office, it's the second most successful spy franchise after Bond with 740 million in the coffers, over a 100 mill more than the Bjoin-again movies.

Rogue Nation is the fifth installment of the Cruise Missile's Mission: Impossible franchise, now in its 19th year and what a funny franchise it is. The first one, directed by Brian DePlama was a good old romp that updated the old TV show for the 90s, and introduced a new spy for us to root for - Ethan Hunt. While the second film in the series, the John Woo-ful Mission: Impossible II almost killed the franchise stone dead with its over-used dove-imagery, slow-mo nonsense and awful villain coupled with a OTT Cruise. Then it was saved by J.J. Abrams and the genius of Phillip Seymour-Hoffman before it was finally propelled up into the stratosphere of box-office glory by Brad Bird with M:I -Ghost Protocol.

Now it's the turn of Christopher McQuarrie to herald in the fifth installment, but does he fly with it like Bird, or Woo-uin it, like John?

This is the very antithesis of the barrage of Meh films that have marred this summer's season of Blockbusters. With a well written script and some excellent direction from Christopher McQuarrie (this is their second film together), the Cruister shows he's still box office gold for this sort of thing, offering a thoroughly satisfying, exciting and enjoyable spy romp with twists and turns, intrigue and drama galore along with the some spectacular stunts thrown in to boot! Indeed, a most satisfying time was had by all! Although in the negative column it is bloody long.