REVIEW: ATTACK THE BLOCK

CAST

Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who)
John Boyega (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Alex Esmail (Strippers vs Werewolves)
Franz Drameh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Simon Howard (Green Street 3)
Luke Treadaway (Dogging: A Love Story)
Nick Frost (The World’s End)
Maggie McCarthy (Leap Year)
Danielle Vitalis (Honeytrap)

Franz Drameh, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, John Boyega, Simon Howard, and Sammy Williams in Attack the Block (2011)Walking home on Bonfire Night, Samantha Adams (Jodie Whittaker), a 25-year-old trainee nurse, is mugged by a small gang of teenage hoodlums: Pest (Alex Esmail); Dennis (Franz Drameh); Jerome (Leeon Jones); Biggz (Simon Howard); and leader Moses (John Boyega). The attack is interrupted when a meteorite falls from the sky into a nearby car, giving Samantha the chance to escape. As Moses searches the wreck of the car for valuables, his face is scratched by a pale, hairless, eyeless dog-sized creature; the object which fell from the sky was its cocoon. The creature runs away, but the gang chase and kill it. Hoping to gain fame and fortune, they take the corpse to their acquaintance, cannabis dealer Ron (Nick Frost), to get advice on what to do. He lives at the top of their tower block, Wyndham Tower.Franz Drameh in Attack the Block (2011)Moses asks Ron and his boss, Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter), to keep the creature in their fortified “weed room” while he decides how to proceed. More objects fall from the sky. Eager to fight the creatures, the gang arm themselves and go to the nearest crash site. However, they find these aliens are much larger, with spiky fur which is so black it reflects no light, huge claws and rows of glowing fangs. The aliens kill their dog too. Fleeing the aliens, the gang are intercepted by two policemen and Moses is arrested, identified as the mugger by Samantha. The aliens, following Moses, maul the unarmed officers to death and attack their van, leaving Samantha and Moses trapped inside. Dennis reaches the vehicle and drives the police van away, only to crash into a surprised Hi-Hatz’s car. Samantha runs away while the rest of Moses’s gang catch up and confront Hi-Hatz and his henchman.Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, and John Boyega in Attack the Block (2011)Enraged by the damage to his car, Hi-Hatz threatens them with a gun, refusing to believe their story of aliens, until his henchman is attacked by one, allowing the gang to escape. The gang try to flee to Wyndham Tower but are again followed and attacked en route by the aliens, where Biggz is forced to hide in a recycling bin and Pest is severely bitten in the leg. They find that Samantha lives in their building, force their way into her flat, and persuade her to treat Pest’s leg. An alien bursts in and Moses kills it with a samurai sword through the head. Understanding that the group was not lying about the creatures being extraterrestrial, Samantha reasons that it is safer to stay with the gang than on her own and joins them. The gang moves upstairs to the flat owned by Tia (Danielle Vitalis), Dimples (Paige Meade), Dionna (Gina Antwi), and Gloria (Natasha Jonas), believing that their security gate will keep them safe. The aliens instead attack from outside, climbing up the side of the tower block and smashing through the windows, one of whom decapitates Dennis.Jodie Whittaker, Franz Drameh, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, and John Boyega in Attack the Block (2011)After Samantha saves Moses’ life from one of the aliens, the girls believe them to be the focus of the creatures and kick them out of the flat. In the hall, the gang are attacked by Hi-Hatz and more henchmen. The gang escapes while an alien chases Hi-Hatz and a couple of henchmen into a lift. Hi-Hatz kills the alien, although his henchmen are killed, and continues his search for Moses. Making their way upstairs to Ron’s weed room, the gang runs into more aliens, but using fireworks as a distraction, they manage to get through. Jerome, however, becomes disoriented in the smoke and is killed by an alien. Entering Ron’s flat they find that Hi-Hatz is already there and has been waiting for them. Hi-Hatz prepares to shoot Moses but hordes of aliens smash through the window and kill him. Now joined by Brewis (Luke Treadaway), one of Ron’s customers, Moses, Pest and Samantha retreat into the weed room, while Ron hides in the flat.Luke Treadaway, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, and John Boyega in Attack the Block (2011)Biggz, still trapped in the bin by a lurking alien, is saved by two unruly children, Probs (Sammy Williams) and Mayhem (Michael Ajao), using a water-gun filled with petrol and a flame to torch the creature from a safe distance. In the weed room, Brewis notices a luminescent stain on Moses’ jacket under the ultraviolet light. As a zoology student, Brewis theorises that the aliens are like spores, drifting through space on solar winds until they chance on a suitable planet. After landing in an area with enough food, the female lets off a strong pheromone which will attract the male creatures to it so that they can mate and propagate their species in their new world. Brewis suggests that the smaller, hairless alien which Moses killed in the beginning was such a female, and it had left a mating scent on Moses that the larger male aliens have been tracking throughout the evening. The gang form a plan for Samantha, who has not been stained with the pheromone, to go to Moses’s flat and turn on the gas oven.Franz Drameh, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, John Boyega, and Simon Howard in Attack the Block (2011)Moses forces Pest to return the ring they stole from her, feeling guilty for having mugged her. Samantha successfully avoids the aliens, turns on the gas, and leaves the block. Moses, with the dead female alien strapped to his back, rushes out of the weed room and into his flat, while the males converge on the scent and chase Moses through the block. Inside his flat he throws the female into the kitchen and the males follow. Using fireworks, Moses ignites the gas-filled room and leaps out of the window. The explosion engulfs the flat and the aliens, but Moses survives, clinging to a Union Jack hanging from the side of the building. In the aftermath, Moses, Pest, Brewis, and Ron are arrested and held responsible for the deaths around the block, including the two officers who had earlier arrested Moses. Samantha, however, comes to their defence. In the back of the police van, Moses and Pest hear the residents of the block cheering for Moses.Attack The Block  is just exactly what it looks like. A low-budget, cleverly-written alien attack movie set in the inner-city, deprived area of South London. The lead characters are products of that environment. Marginalised teenagers who have somehow become convinced that education has nothing to offer and that the only way out of their situation is low-level crime and, very likely, an early death. They’re not heroes. They’re not redeemed by the events of the film. You can not like them, and it’s doesn’t make any difference. But they are characters you recognise … raw and authentic. Don’t take it so seriously. It’s  not a searing social document. It’s not a hard-hitting indictment of our times. It’s just a bloody great sci-fi action movie.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: A STREET CAT NAMED BOB

Starring

Luke Treadaway (Clash of The Titans)
Bob The Cat
Ruta Gedmintas (You Instead)
Joanne Froggatt (Downtown Abbey)
Anthony Head (Buffy: TVS)
Beth Goddard (Edge of Tomorrow)
Caroline Goodall (The Princess Diaries)
Darren Evans (Submarine)
Ruth Sheen (Vera Drake)
Nina Wadia (Code 46)

Luke Treadaway and Bob the Cat in A Street Cat Named Bob (2016)James Bowen is a homeless man and former heroin addict, living on the streets of London down to his last bits of change. After a life threatening drug-related incident, his support worker Val, in an attempt to get him off the street, gets him into a council flat and prescribes him methadone. On his first night in his flat, James discovers a cat rifling through his food. Assuming the cat had escaped from somewhere, James tries to return the cat to his real owners.After letting him go, the same evening the cat returns to James’s flat, this time with a purulent wound on his back leg. Worried, James consults his animal-loving but allergic neighbour, Betty. She informs James of a local charity vet that she volunteers at, and names the cat Bob. Waiting on a queue at the vet, James misses a meeting with Val. After the appointment, James later gets Bob neutered and sets him free. However, Bob keeps following James into town, eventually drawing more crowds of people, making James more wealthy, and he eventually decides to keep Bob. Bob becomes a tourist hotspot, and James and Betty start to become romantically attached.Bob the Cat in A Street Cat Named Bob (2016)One night while returning home, James finds his old friend, Baz, unconscious on his flat estate, overdosed on heroin. Baz later dies in hospital, and James finds out that Betty cannot be around drug addicts, as her deceased brother had been one. On New Year’s Eve, James makes an impromptu visit to his biological father, Jack, his stepmother, Hilary, and his lost sisters, Pris and Faith. After Bob destroys their living room, Hilary sends James and Bob out.Luke Treadaway and Bob the Cat in A Street Cat Named Bob (2016)One day, while busking, James gets into an argument with a yob, causing the crowd to get in a brawl with the man and James getting arrested for it. Although found innocent, he is prohibited from busking for 6 months. While in the chemist, receiving his methadone, Betty notices him. Betty and James argue and go their separate ways. Later on, James visits the offices of The Big Issue to make some more money for him and Bob. He regains his popularity with tourists by selling The Big Issue. After being accused of illegally selling magazines on another vendor’s patch, James and Bob are banned for a whole month.Anthony Head, Luke Treadaway, and Bob the Cat in A Street Cat Named Bob (2016)After going back in business, James gets into an argument with a woman trying to buy Bob off him, losing Bob in the scuffle. Bob does not return for a few days, leaving James devastated. After Bob returns, James feels he is ready to come off the methadone. After a week of grueling withdrawal symptoms, James awakes, clean and healthy. A journalist, Mary, requests to write a book about James and Bob after his Internet and media popularity, and James agrees. James then fixes up his relationship with his father Jack, and his life turns around for the better.The touching story line that involved the developing relationship between James and Bob was beautifully told. The cat made him smile again, gave him a reason to live. His social skills with people were not good but with the cat, he became stronger and happier as each day passed. This was a wonderfully uplifting film I related to on so many levels. Excellent acting, and Bob the cat. was the best of them !

REVIEW: DOGGING: A LOVE STORY

CAST
Luke Treadaway (Unbroken)
Kate Heppell (Inspector George Gently)
Richard Riddell (Legend)
Sammy T. Dobson (Byker Grove)
Michael Socha (This is England)
MCDDOAL EC001
A rather left field comedy from Simon Ellis, uncovering that rather peculiarly British hobby of dogging. In short the story follows an aspiring journalist, who thinks there is a story to be made out of dogging and his real estate agent flatmate, who has, shall we say first hand experience. Enter the girlfriend, who gets rather too excited by the prospect, Jim, who follows Horny Geordie Lass like a slightly too persistent puppy, and the annual meet in the Lake district.
While several parallel love stories are burried under there somewhere, they tend not to get too much in the way of the comedy element and the relatively lighthearted treatment of the subject. A  funny but a good, fresh, unpretentious effort and who knows, maybe the language and light signals might come handy when visiting Blighty next – sitting in a parked car with someone flashing the lights at you will definitely never be the same again.

REVIEW: CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)

 

CAST

Sam Worthington (Avatar)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First CLass)
Gemma Arterton (The Voices)
Alexa Davalos (Angel)
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Izabella Miko (The Cape)
Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones)
Polly Walker (Caprica)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Alexander Siddig (Kingdom of Heaven)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Ian Whyte (Game of Thrones)
Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite)
Vincent Regan (Troy)
Luke Treadaway (A Street Cat Named Bob)
Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner)
Tamer Hassan (Layer Cake)
Jane March (Blood of Beasts)

In ancient times after defeating their predecessors, the Titans, the gods divided the Universe among themselves. Zeus took the skies, Poseidon took the seas, and Hades was left with the Underworld upon being tricked by Zeus. The gods created the mortals, whose faith and prayers fueled the gods’ immortality. As time passed, however, mortals began to question and soon resist their creators, angering the Olympians. A fisherman named Spyros finds a coffin adrift in the sea, discovering a baby, Perseus and his mother Danaë. Spyros decided to raise Perseus.

As Perseus and his family fish from a boat, they watch soldiers from the city of Argos destroy a statue of Zeus. Infuriated at this desecration, the Gods unleash the Furies who attack the soldiers and destroy the fishing vessel. Only Perseus survives and is found by a group of the soldiers. Perseus is brought before King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia, who are celebrating their campaign against the gods. Queen Cassiopeia brashly compares her daughter Andromeda to the gods and boasts that she is more beautiful than Aphrodite. The revelry is cut short by the arrival of Hades, who has been given leave by Zeus to punish the mortals for their defiance. Hades threatens to unleash his monster the Kraken against Argos, unless Andromeda is offered as a sacrifice. Before leaving, he reveals that Perseus is a demigod and the son of Zeus.

Perseus meets Io, who confirms his origin. Io also reveals that she has watched over Perseus his entire life. She has always protected him for he is the only one who can defeat the gods. Perseus leads the King’s Guard to the Stygian Witches, looking for a way to kill the Kraken. After being betrayed by the power-hungry Hades, Zeus gives Perseus a sword forged on Mount Olympus and a winged horse named Pegasus. Perseus refuses both, but the captain of the King’s guard named Draco keeps the sword for when Perseus needs it. Soon after, they are attacked by Calibos, an agent of Hades. Draco severs the beast’s hand and Calibos flees. The band give chase but are attacked by giant scorpions called Scorpioxs that spring from spilled drops of Calibos’s blood. They are saved by a band of Djinn, non-human desert sorcerers led by Sheik Suleiman where the remaining Scorpioxs are tamed by the Djinn. The Djinn also wish for the gods’ defeat and lend their aid to Perseus and his band.MV5BMTgyNTUyNjQwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjUxNzYyMw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,822_AL_The group arrives at the lair of the Stygian Witches and learn that to kill the Kraken, they must obtain and use the head of Medusa, a gorgon who resides in a temple in the Underworld. Any living creature that looks on Medusa’s eyes turns into stone. Perseus, Io, Suleiman, Draco, and his remaining men, Solon, Eusebios, and Ixas, cross into the Underworld. The men enter Medusa’s temple lair while Io, being a woman and forbidden from entering, remains outside. Medusa kills all three of Draco’s men. Suleiman and Draco both wound the gorgon, sacrificing themselves in the process. Perseus finally beheads her by using his reflective shield to see her with his back turned. As he leaves the temple with Medusa’s head, Calibos appears behind Io and fatally stabs her. Perseus and Calibos fight where upon finally accepting that he is a son of Zeus, Perseus picks up the Olympian sword and stabs Calibos through the chest, who with his last breath urges Perseus not to become a God.

Before dying, Io urges a reluctant Perseus to leave her and save Andromeda and Argos. Then she dissolves into a golden ethereal vapor. Pegasus appears and Perseus mounts the flying horse and hastens back to Argos as the Kraken is released. The people of Argos seize and bind Andromeda to offer her to the Kraken. Meanwhile, as people die in the Kraken’s wake, the balance of power on Olympus shifts. Hades reveals he does not require the faith or worship of mortals (as Zeus does), as he has learned to survive on their fear. Hades then effortlessly subdues the weakened Zeus. Riding the black Pegasus, Perseus arrives at Argos and exposes Medusa’s head to the Kraken, which makes eye contact just before it is able to reach Andromeda. The Kraken, petrified, slowly turns to stone and shatters. Prokopion, the insane leader of the Cult of Hades, tries to kill Perseus, but Kepheus stops him and is stabbed, before both are killed when the kraken’s petrified hand falls on them. Hades appears, intending to finally kill Perseus. Perseus, calling upon Zeus, throws his sword at Hades. A lightning bolt engulfs the sword and the blast sends Hades back to the Underworld. Perseus rescues Andromeda, who is now the rightful Queen of Argos. Andromeda asks Perseus to stay by her side as King, but he declines. Perseus also refuses another offer of godhood from Zeus, who then proclaims that if Perseus is to live as a human he should not be alone and revives Io.

The movie keeps moving without feeling too chopped up and thankfully there’s a minimum of shakeycam or MTV overediting to accompany the overdose of testosterone. Big on spectacle and short on charm, it’s a very different animal to Harryhausen’s film (there’s even an injoke about that version’s irritating mechanical owl), but as long as you’re expecting that it’s one of the better action adventures of recent years.