Review – Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

24 May

Poster for 2015 comedy sequel Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

Genre: Comedy
Certificate: PG
UK Release Date: 10th April 2015
Runtime: 94 minutes
Director: Andy Fickman
Writer: Kevin James, Nick Bakay
Starring: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, Daniella Alonso, Eduardo Verástegui, David Henrie, Neal McDonough
Synopsis: Invited to a security guard conference, Paul Blart becomes embroiled in a plot to steal priceless works of art from a luxury hotel.



Few people will have been waiting with bated breath for the sequel to slapstick comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Kevin James is nobody’s favourite member of the Adam Sandler crowd and this film is his family-friendly baby in just about every sense. I can only hope that this sequel was an exercise in anti-comedy.

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Review – John Wick

24 May

Poster for 2015 action movie John Wick

Genre: Action
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 10th April 2015
Runtime: 101 minutes
Director: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo 
Synopsis: When a group of thugs steal his car and murder his dog, an assassin comes out of retirement to wreak his brutal, murderous revenge.



The career of Keanu Reeves is an odd one. He is a performer who has experienced remarkable success despite regularly attracting poor reviews, such as for his recent samurai snoozefest 47 Ronin. However, in the shape of the eponymous retired assassin in punchy action movie John Wick, Reeves finally seems to have recaptured his Matrix mojo.

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Review – Hot Tub Time Machine 2

24 May

Poster for 2015 comedy sequel Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Genre: Comedy
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 10th April 2015
Runtime: 93 minutes
Director: Steve Pink
Writer: Josh Heald
Starring: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott, Gillian Jacobs, Chevy Chase 
Synopsis: When their prosperous future falls apart, the friends from the first film take another dip into the eponymous magical pool in the hope of changing things for the better.



The first Hot Tub Time Machine was an R-rated hit in 2010 scooping enough money to bring the gang back together for a second dip. Unfortunately, the recipe does not work second time around, with Hot Tub Time Machine 2 a crass, nonsensical mess of a sequel.

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Blu-ray Review – Island of Death (1976)

23 May

Cover art for the 2015 Arrow Films Blu-ray release of Island of Death

Genre: Horror
Certificate: 18
UK Release Date: 25th May 2015
Runtime: 108 minutes
Director: Nico Mastorakis
Writer: Nico Mastorakis
Starring: Bob Belling, Jane Ryall, Jessica Dublin, Nikos Tsachiridis, Gerard Gonalons
Synopsis: A pair of brutal lovers with murderous intentions descend on the island of Mykonos, determined to cleanse it of the depraved and immoral.


In the 1980s, the UK went to war on extreme horror cinema with the DPP’s video nasty list of notorious, banned movies. Amongst them was Nico Mastorakis’ Greek exploitation (Grexploitation?) movie Island of Death, which takes every kind of depravity and perversion imaginable and chucks it right into the face of the audience.

Island of Death was banned in the UK for years until its DVD release in 2011, but it now arrives uncut on Blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Films.

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Review – Good Kill

23 May

Poster for 2015 war drama Good Kill

Genre: Drama
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 10th April 2015
Runtime: 102 minutes
Director: Andrew Niccol
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Ethan Hawke, January Jones, Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood, Jake Abel
Synopsis: A military pilot becomes increasingly dissatisfied with his new role as the man behind the controls of an unmanned drone carrying out fatal attacks in the Middle East.



The issue of modern forms of warfare has been a major theme of cinema in 2015, with the Oscar-nominated American Sniper depicting the raw wounds of the Iraq War. Even more timely is Gattaca director Andrew Niccol’s tense, complex drama Good Kill, which centres on the move from “boots on the ground” fighting to unmanned drone warfare.

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Review – Cobain: Montage of Heck

22 May

Poster for 2015 music documentary Cobain: Montage of Heck

Genre: Documentary
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 10th April 2015
Runtime: 132 minutes
Director: Brett Morgen
Writer: Brett Morgen
Starring: Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Don Cobain, Jenny Cobain, Kim Cobain, Krist Novoselic
Synopsis: An intimate, colourful look at the career of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, including archive material provided by the Cobain family.



Kurt Cobain has perhaps had more documentary films made about him and books written about him than any pop culture figure of the last generation. Brett Morgen, best known for The Kid Stays in the Picture, is the latest filmmaker to tackle the Nirvana frontman’s life, gaining unprecedented access to the Cobain family archive and the personal belongings of the man himself for Cobain: Montage of Heck.

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Review – The DUFF

19 May

Poster for 2015 romantic comedy The DUFF

Genre: Comedy
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 6th April 2015
Runtime: 101 minutes
Director: Ari Sandel
Writer: Josh A Cagan
Starring: Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Skyler Samuels, Bianca A Santos, Bella Thorne, Nick Eversman, Allison Janney, Ken Jeong
Synopsis: When a young girl learns that she is the unspoken “designated ugly fat friend” of her group, she seeks to change the impression of her.



The teen movie is a massive genre, which has spanned most of modern cinema. There are plenty of good, and bad, high school films, with the likes of Grease and Mean Girls towering over the less imaginative outings. Speaking of which, The DUFF – which stands for the ridiculous “designated ugly fat friend” – is a misfire that is almost masked by its likeable protagonist.

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