Film Review-Freaky

As I write this, I realise that despite some films being better than others, there has never been a truly terrible body swap movie. “Freaky,” directed by Christopher Landon (“Happy Death Day”), is a low-budget, high-concept supernatural slasher that follows the story of Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton), a seventeen-year-old girl who spends her days struggling to survive high school and the cruelty of the popular crowd. After becoming the latest target of the town’s infamous serial killer, the Butcher, Millie finds herself magically swapped with him using his mystical dagger. With only 24 hours to switch back before the body swap becomes permanent, Millie must face the Butcher’s murderous rampage in her own body.

While the film does have some laugh-out-loud moments of comedy, such as watching Vince Vaughn’s Butcher swivel his hips like a cheerleader and flirt with Millie’s crush (Uriah Shelton), the premise does tend to run out of steam as the film progresses. Michael Kennedy’s script pays homage to the genre’s predecessors but often falls into the cliches that bogged them down.

The film’s main issue is its ill-defined characters. Millie is the school mascot and often ridiculed by her peers, yet she still looks like Kathryn Newton, making the “Hollywood ugly” label seem implausible. Her friends are also one-dimensional, with the gay and black characters reduced to little more than caricatures.

While it’s possible to argue that Kennedy was aiming for a parody of Hollywood cliches, it’s doubtful that the paper-thin characters were intentional. Despite its flaws, “Freaky” is still an entertaining supernatural slasher with a unique body swap twist.


Freaky is released in UK cinemas July 2nd.


If you’re looking for a break from the stress of COVID-19 and 2021, you might want to consider watching a world-ending disaster movie. Although the trailer for the film Greenland initially seemed like a generic Gerard Butler disaster movie, it turns out to be a more nuanced take on the genre. The story follows John Garrity, a Scottish structural engineer living in Atlanta, Georgia, as he tries to reunite with his estranged wife and diabetic son amid an impending disaster.

Unlike many disaster movies, Greenland focuses on themes of human survival and how people react in times of crisis. The film portrays the family’s encounters with people who are terrible, opportunistic, and altruistic, adding a realistic feel to the proceedings. Morena Baccarin and Gerard Butler’s chemistry is wonderful, and they feel authentic as a troubled couple doing what they can to save their son.

While some viewers may find the film to be a slow burn, others might appreciate its more nuanced take on the disaster movie genre. Given the global crisis we’ve all recently experienced, Greenland’s themes of human survival and the best and worst of humanity may resonate more deeply.

Greenland is available on Prime Video starting February 5th.

Review-Stan & Ollie

I adore Laurel and Hardy, I remember the first time I discovered them-age 10, in 1992. I was captivated, I would memorise scenes and try to get my friends to act them out with me. It’s clear that the team behind “Stan & Ollie” love them even more.

The film opens in 1937 with Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly) making the classic ‘Way our west’. The duo are at the height of their careers. They’re popular, happy and enjoying a good-natured chat about alimony, filming schedules and attending a party with Clark Gable.

We then flash forward 15 years with the pair reuniting after a creative break-up, hoping to use a series of live performances to generate interest in a film they want to make.

The tour doesn’t get off to a good start, they’re staying in a second-rate hotel, whilst the youngster on reception tells them how much her mum loves them, highlighting their fall from grace. The audiences is sparse and their tour manager is more interested in promoting Norman Wisdom.

Steve Coogan and John C Reilly both put in tremendous performances in this ambitious film.

Coogan has Laurel’s mannerisms down to a T, he even sounds like him. Switching between an American accent when filming and a transatlantic accent when not (Stan Laurel was originally from Yorkshire). Reilly brings a light touch to Oliver Hardy and captivates in every scene. Watching the two of them re-enact classic sketches is an absolute joy to see.

Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson star as Laurel’s and Hardy’s wives-respectively. They hold their own throughout and are portrayed as equal partners, as well as the most important people in either man’s life.

Stan & Ollie is a wonderfully sweet film, a proper love letter to true Hollywood icons. See it on the big screen.

Stan & Ollie will be in cinemas, 11 January 2019.

Film review: The Woman in Black

What makes Woman In Black so refreshing is that it is old-school psychological horror,  complete
with an isolated, haunted mansion, rocking chairs, beheaded dolls, random screams, mysterious deaths, untold secrets, dangerous silence, suspiciously-hostile locals, a hallucination sequence and horrifying consequences.

A few eyebrows were raised when Daniel Radcliffe was announced as the leading man; other than the Harry Potter franchise he had only done one drama called The December Boys. Let’s start by saying Radcliffe is amazing: his performance is captivating. A lot of the film focuses on his character alone in a haunted mansion and he manages to hold your attention throughout. Continue reading Film review: The Woman in Black

Blu Ray review: Red State

Three virgin, high-school friends think they’re on to a sure thing. One of them has found a woman online, that will sleep with all three of them, but they are soon caught in a trap by Pastor Abin Cooper and his Five Points Church. Albin Cooper is based on the real-life head of the Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps.

Five Points protest at funerals with signs saying “Anal penetration, equals eternal damnation” etc.  But Cooper believes that homosexuals are sinners and must be wiped off the Earth.  In its first half, Red State is almost horror film. A gay man is murdered, quite brutally and the three high-school boys are next.  However, half-way through, it turns from a horror film into a shoot ‘em up, action movie. The transition doesn’t really hurt the film.  What hurts the film is that the tension that Smith created, in the first half, completely vanishes in the second half. It’s almost two different films. In the first half, Smith showed incredible restraint in not adding much comedy, but in the second half, during the middle of the shoot out, characters start cracking jokes and asking for tea. Which is a shame, the tension could have been cranked up a bit. By far, the first half of the movie is the strongest part.

Now Red state is a massive departure for Kevin Smith. You could even argue that it’s his first grown-up movie. The visuals are stunning, which is really impressive for Smith, he has never been known as a visual director.  He’s been criticised in the past, for static camera shots and simple lighting.  But, with Red State, Smith has created a style that works incredibly well, for the movie. Shaky camera-work is nothing new, but it is a huge step forward for Smith. The film has no background music, which really makes it more atmospheric, all we get is the sound of bullets and Cooper, singing hymns.

This is easily Kevin Smith’s best work as a director. It’s something different; it doesn’t feel like a Kevin Smith movie. We are seeing him mature here. But, he seems to be lacking the confidence, he needed for this. The introduction of five points isn’t handled in the best way. We learn about them, in a classroom and it’s just too much exposition. John Goodman’s character exists only for exposition, which is a waste of the actor’s talent.

Overall the film is good, it’s just not great. But, it is great to see Smith break away from his comedy roots and try something a bit more ambitious. It’s a shame that Smith, has announced that his next film, Hit Somebody, will be his last, as Red State is such a huge step forward for him, it would be interesting to see what else he could come back with. Let’s just hope, that Red State and Hit Somebody is such huge, global hits that he’ll change his mind and come out of retirement.

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1


English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (less)


English, English SDH, Spanish
English, English SDH, Spanish (less)

50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Film Review-Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol

The IMF, implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, is forced to shut down, leaving Ethan Hunt and his new team to clear their organisation’s name by going rogue.

Director Brad Bird, known for his work on animated films, delivers his first live-action film, which is visually stunning and features breathtaking action scenes. The standout moment is undoubtedly when Tom Cruise scales the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa tower, in Dubai. Cruise’s performance is excellent, and he is joined by a talented cast, including Simon Pegg, who has been promoted to a co-starring role.

The film also includes industry in-jokes, such as Ethan Hunt’s code number being “A113,” a frequent Pixar in-joke based on one of the room numbers for the animation program at Cal Arts.

However, the storyline could have been better, and there are noticeable dips in certain parts of the film. Additionally, there are some errors that may distract viewers from the overall experience, such as the Nuclear Launch Device used by Hendricks having a Russian keyboard but an English interface screen. Despite these flaws, the film is worth watching and will mostly keep viewers entertained throughout.

For the full experience, it’s best to watch the film on an IMAX screen.


Film Review-Another Earth

Another Earth is a great little gem of a movie, written by Mark Cahill and Brit Marling. Marling also stars as the main character of the film, Rhoda Williams.
Rhoda has recently been accepted to MIT and she goes out to celebrate with friends and drives home drunk. On the drive home she listens to a news broadcast on the radio about an approaching planet that looks just like Earth, she looks out her car window and crashes into another car, putting John Burroughs (William Mapother) in a coma and killing his wife and son.

Rhoda is sent to prison and after serving her sentence she tracks John down and decides to take care of him. Rhoda learns that there is a lottery to win a trip to the mirror Earth. She hopes that her other self didn’t make the same mistake and applies for a place.

Although the title and premise make this sound like a sci-fi movie, it is far from it. Another Earth is clearly a metaphor for a second chance, something we all desire. The only misstep this movie took, was having Rhoda and John become romantically involved. The relationship could have been a lot more touching if it hadn’t been romantic.

This is easily the best movie I have seen this year and shows indie cinema at its best. Had this been a blockbuster the mirror Earth inhabitants would have been evil versions, with goatee beards and WMD’s. I can’t recommend this film enough, this deserves a lot of praise. I would love a mini-series follow up exploring the consequences of another Earth being so close to ours and also to see what was happening to the inhabitants on mirror Earth.

Another Earth is in cinemas, nationwide.

Film Review-Puss In Boots

A Puss in Boots spin-off has been in development since he made his first appearance in Shrek 2 way back in 2004. Now that DreamWorks have milked the Shrek franchise for all its worth, it is finally time for the cat to have his day.

This is essentially an origin story. It’s set way before Puss met Shrek, Fiona and Donkey. Since Puss is the main character, he needs wacky, funny characters around him. The love interest is a feline named Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) is Puss’ best friend from childhood. Puss and Humpty Dumpty were once as close as brothers until Puss became famous. Humpty soon became jealous of Puss and betrayed him by tricking him into a bank robbery. Years later, Humpty tracks him down seeking forgiveness, as well as help with a new scheme. The scheme involves stealing some magic beans from an out-law couple, Jack and Jill. The magic beans will send them up the famous beanstalk to the golden-egg laying goose.

The first half of the movie is better than the second half. I think this is due to it being such a busy story, the ending is little anti-climatic, but strangely unlike most children’s CGI movies, it isn’t bogged down by the over-preachy moral of the tale. The performances are all solid, but special mention must go to Antonio Banderas, he manages a performance that is consistently amusing as well as moving. The moment he sees his heartbroken mother staring at him is gut-wrenching. Visually the film is a treat. The 3D works well but adds little to the overall experience. The film would still be funny, enjoyable and moving in 2D. Puss in Boots is not a great film, but it is an extremely good film.

Puss In Boots opens in the UK on December 9th 2011.


I didn’t care much for the first Disney Cars film when it came out in 2006, however, since then I’ve had a son. He adores Cars and has just about every piece of merchandise with Lightning McQueen on it. He has watched the DVD so many times that the disc now sticks and requires replacing. Over the multiple viewings, it’s grown on me and I’ve even learnt to love Mater.

We went to see Cars 2 in 3D full of enthusiasm and excited to see the latest instalment. It was a letdown, my son got bored and wanted to run around and I wanted to go back and see the far superior Rio.

The story this time involves Mater being mistaken for a super-intelligent spy. Visually it is up to the high quality you’d expect from Pixar, but plot and story-wise it’s extremely poor. It’s a parody on a Bond film that we’ve seen done a thousand times. To me this movie was Pixar apologising to Disney for making Up, a film they couldn’t sell toys about. The best thing on this disc is the Toy Story short that is on the extra features.

A third instalment is inevitable, due to it being a huge cash-cow. Let’s just hope they actually have a story instead of a toy commercial.

DVD extras:

  • Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation
  • Air Mater

Cars 2 is available on DVD and Blu Ray

Film Review-Super 8

J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg make an impressive team as they bring this thrilling film to life. The storyline is masterfully crafted, leaving you both exhilarated and exhausted, but not in a way that keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting for the next scene. However, if you’re a fan of sci-fi, this film is a must-see.

Set in 1979, the film follows the story of middle-schooler Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), who has learned to take care of himself since his mother’s death. When Joe and his friend Charles (Riley Griffiths) start making an indie zombie movie for a film festival, they enlist fellow classmate Alice (Elle Fanning) to be their leading lady. As they venture out to a local train station to film a scene, an unexpected train derailment unleashes something terrifying in their small town of Lillian, Ohio. The group continues filming, using the disaster as a backdrop, while they try to figure out what to do next.

What makes this film so captivating is how it’s really about growing up and taking responsibility, with sci-fi elements serving as the backdrop. Like Spielberg’s earlier works in the same genre, the focus is on the kids, not the monster. Writer/director J.J. Abrams has written the characters with enough depth and complexity to make them believable, and the film rewards the audience during the credits with the actual product of their work.

The cast is spot on, with Joel Courtney transforming from a supportive sidekick to a natural leader, while Riley Griffiths captures the manic energy and intensity of a young film director. Elle Fanning’s ethereal presence adds a magical quality to the film. While the adults are mostly one-note characters, this is appropriate for a film seen from a kid’s point of view, and Abrams adds just enough complexity to make them less stereotypical.

This film takes risks, and they pay off in a summer full of predictable sequels. The grounded, coming-of-age story is a refreshing change from typical sci-fi adventures, and the film’s message about the power of friendship and taking responsibility is both heartwarming and inspiring. While waiting for it to come to DVD might be tempting, seeing it on the big screen is an experience not to be missed.