Out Now – 29th March 2013

G.I. Nemo

G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Hey those G.I. Joe fellas are back. Ah, remember that first film? Did you see it? I almost did because it had Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the baddie. This film doesn’t so I am even less likely to almost see it.

Danny Boyle directs a thriller set inside the mind of James McAvoy’s corrupt art auctioneer. The reviews are a mixed bag and Boyle filmed this while working on the Olympics so don’t be alarmed if Voldemort is defeated by Mary Poppins at the climax.

The Host
“When an unseen enemy threatens mankind by taking over their bodies and erasing their memories, Melanie will risk everything to protect the people she cares most about, proving that love can conquer all in a dangerous new world.” This is adapted from a novel by Stephenie Meyer of Twilight fame so is likely to be crap but incredible popular.

Finding Nemo 3D
A film you love back on the big screen! In 3D! Ah well, you still have the DVD.

12 in a Box (limited release)
A comedy that has been shelved for at least six years only getting a cinema release because an actress with a minor part has now become famous. The actress in question is Miranda Hart and all fans of hers are advised to stay away.

In the House (limited release)
French thriller starring Kristen Scott Thomas which seems to have the critics who were actually invited to see the film (ahem) quite excited.

Good Vibrations (limited release)
“A chronicle of Terri Hooley’s life, a record-store owner instrumental in developing Belfast’s punk-rock scene.” Mark Kermode is practically wetting himself over this film so we should all probably go and see it in the hope that he will be our friend.

Gelmeyen Bahar (limited release)

One Mile Away (limited release)
Documentary about gangs in Birmingham that I gave a mediocre three stars. I grew up near Birmingham. I was never in a gang and no one has ever made a documentary about me. Doesn’t seem fair somehow.

Point Blank (limited release)
Re-release of the 1960s crime drama about a mysterious man trying to reclaim the money that was stolen from him.

We Went to War (limited release)

King of the Travellers (limited release)
Low-budget drama about Irish travellers. No thanks.

One Mile Away – Film Review

One Mile Away

Filmmaker Penny Woolcock directs a documentary about two rival gangs in Birmingham and the two-year struggle by some members to find peace between their Midlander mobs. Shabba (from the Johnson Crew) initiated the documentary after helping Woolcock research a hip hop musical and in making the documentary is introduced to Dylan Duffus; star of the musical and rival gang member (from the Burger Bar Boys).

The majority of the film sees Woolcock trailing around after various gang members as they strive to find common ground and end the needless bloodshed on the streets of Birmingham. The message is brought home when a friend is killed and some of the members fighting for peace seem to lose their convictions and see the fight against violence as a futile one.

There’s no doubt that the subject of this documentary is an important one. The battle for an end to gang warfare is seen as important enough for Jonathan Powell, overseer of the Good Friday Agreement, to pop in and offer some advice. What is slightly underwhelming is the number of gang members who seem to be interesting in ending the feud. At one moment Woolcock herself can be heard not wanting to go and meet any new gang members as they are constantly asking for the cameras to be turned off and then wanting nothing to do with the peace efforts. This lack of progress is as exasperating for the viewer as it is for the filmmaker and gang members.

The film comes to a head with 2011’s riots but not in the way you might think as both gangs abstain from the looting, instead expressing exasperation at the younger kids who seem to be rampaging for little more than Pick n’ Mix and a new iPhone.

No matter how worthy this film may be it does lack any sense of cinematic quality. Woolcock has rightly been focussed on getting herself in the right place at the right time and so has foregone any unnecessary visual excitement. After we have been taken to the heights of last year’s The Imposter this documentary feels sadly lacklustre in comparison. And the occasional rap interludes that are scattered throughout are something I could have done without.

An interesting documentary but ultimately one more suited to the smaller screen. One Mile Away is in UK cinemas from 29th March 2013 and comes to Channel 4 later in the year (and I’d recommend you wait until then).

The Movies @ The Invisible Dot

The Movies - The Invisible Dot

The Invisible Dot came onto my comedy radar earlier this year with their series of comedy nights at the Union Chapel in North London. I spent two Saturday nights laughing until it hurt in a church as I watched my favourite comedic Adams (Riches and Buxton obviously) and discovered new comedy gems like The Pyjama Men. It was then with great excitement that I accepted an invite from The Invisible Dot to attend their new “film-based cabaret” night The Movies last week.

I knew nothing of what to expect beyond “a mixture of short film, TV off-cuts, amateur footage, live performances, and head/beard-scratching discussion.” I had no idea what a treat lay in store for me.

The night was hosted by Will Andrews (a familiar face to fans of Anna & Katy or The Gates) who introduced out-takes and a scene from his unreleased film (formerly) known as Caravan along with sketches made for a show the BBC paid for but never wanted to screen. We were also treated to a short film made in a day (the day in question being the day they screened it for us) which featured a highly competitive egg and spoon race held at Kings Cross and Mild Concern favourites Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley even turned up to talk about their debut film Black Pond.

The evening was rounded off with two short films; the BAFTA winning The Voorman Problem starring Martin Freeman as a psychiatrist called to a prison to deal with an inmate who is convinced that he is God (Rev‘s Tom Hollander), and Tub which really has to be seen to be believed.

The headline act came in the middle of the evening but I have tried to rectify this by recalling the evening in a fashion that can only be called confused and far from chronological. Sitting at the back of the audience with a camera on his face and another on the table in from of him Simon Munnery presented a portion of his acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe show Fylm-Makker. This was a first for me as it was stand-up with the comic sitting down and only seen by the audience via a screen onstage. With the help of cardboard cutouts and the table in front of him Munnery presented a unique and hilarious mixture of stand-up and sketch comedy that had the whole room, housing an intimate crowd of little more than 100, laughing in that embarrassing way only the best comedians can bring out of you.

The whole night was a strange journey that filled me with the kind of joy that can never be expressed in words properly. Suffice it to say that the next time Will Andrews and The Invisible Dot host another evening in this strand I will be booking my tickets (a mere £8) as soon as they announce the date. It was a night that any fan of film and comedy can’t help but enjoy. In the meantime be a dear and peruse their site for other events you might like to attend.

To finish I submit for your consideration the short film Tub, though please be warned it involves scenes of a man inadvertently impregnating a bath…

Plebs – TV Review


I am about to do something risky; something that could open me up to abuse and ridicule. I am going to review a comedy.

This may not seem so perilous but I would argue that it is much more difficult to offer your judgement on a comedy than it is a drama. With comedy it comes down to a finely honed personal sense of humour. What do I find funny and did the show in question, ITV2’s Plebs, manage to make me laugh? A few weeks ago I felt the need to say something about Derek; it had reached the point where my minor frustrations bubbled to the surface and I wanted to explain why I was done with the show. There was a lot of support for my view but I also got the following comment:

Derek is fantastic, maybe you like Mrs Browns Boys or Gavin & Stacey if so you should still to that comedy as Derek is clearly too intelligent for someone like you.

My only problem with this reaction was that they had not given an explanation of why they liked Derek and instead just called me stupid. I’m not stupid but that doesn’t dictate what I find funny. I “get” most jokes but some shows just don’t make you laugh and that’s that. I can only offer my opinion on a show and I can’t guarantee that you will agree. I say all this because I am about to say that I like a comedy called Plebs on ITV2 and don’t want you to think less of me.

Plebs follows two young men (Tom Rosenthal and Joel Fry) in Ancient Rome who live with their slave (Ryan Sampson), work in an office under a formidable female boss (Doon Mackichan), and generally try to get laid. If set in London in 2013 this would be a show we’ve all seen a thousand times before (minus the slave possibly) and would be lost in a sea of Inbetweeners rip-offs. With the focus shifted to Ancient Rome a fresh component has been added to the regular formula of pathetic guys looking for love lust.


Ancient Rome is a place of orgies and gladiators, slaves and togas. Sex and murder are commonplace and a trip to the stadium is more likely to involve a beheading than a header. Throw in a comedy style reminiscent of Friday Night Dinners and The Inbetweeners (so Simon Bird essentially) and something genuinely funny is formed.

I saw Plebs in a screening room filled with critics and the cast and we all laughed throughout (especially Sophie Colquhoun). Tom Rosenthal came out of nowhere and impressed in Friday Night Dinners, with Plebs he continues to showcase his natural comedy chops. Ryan Sampson is wonderfully dense as slave Grumio and Doon Mackichan is her usual fantastic self as Flavia. The real highlight for me was Tom Basden in a small role as Aurelius; a proud water boy who resents the leads with their slightly better jobs as shredder and copier.

The first two episodes deal with an attempt to attend an orgy and the arrival of a (occasional naked) gladiator played by an unusually effective Danny Dyer. I’m not saying that Plebs is the height of sophistication, far from it, but it got a good belly laugh out of me despite my initial prejudices.

Will you like Plebs? I have no idea but I liked it and I am not stupid.

Plebs starts on ITV2 tonight at 10pm

Out Now – 22nd March 2013

Jack the Croods Slayer

You’ll have to excuse the lateness and lacklustre nature of this post. Red wine and vodka are to blame, and a triple bill of Mean Girls, Final Destination 5, and Scary Movie. Oof.

The Croods
“The world’s very first prehistoric family goes on a road trip to an uncharted and fantastical world.” I seriously hope they find other families in their journey or the implications with regard to populating the human race are pretty grim.

Identity Thief
Melissa McCarthy, playing the funny one, has stolen the identity of Jason Bateman, playing the straight man (as usual). He travels to confront her and hilarity ensues, the kind of hilarity that involves strong sex, sex references and strong language.

Jack the Giant Slayer
Jack and the Beanstalk gets the over-the-top fantasy adaptation treatment with Nicholas Hoult as the boy who swapped his cow for some magic beans. Only now the cow is a horse and the beans open a gateway between the world of the humans and the world of the giants; the two races having been at war.

Nicholas Cage runs around looking for his daughter who has been locked in the boot of a taxi. He is apparently the world’s greatest thief so fingers crossed it all works out OK for him so he can get back to all that thieving.

Reality (limited release)
“Luciano is a charming fishmonger whose unexpected and sudden obsession with being a contestant on a reality show leads him down a rabbit hole of skewed perceptions and paranoia.”

Compliance (limited release)
“When a prank caller convinces a fast food restaurant manager to interrogate an innocent young employee, no-one is left unharmed.” As I said in my review this is a good idea stretched beyond its limits and is not one I’d recommend rushing out to see.

Post Tenebras Lux (limited release)
Mexican drama struggling to adjust to a move from the city to the country. As all good foreign films should it includes strong sex and nudity and the sort of scenes that may make you feel uncomfortable depending on the nature of your relationship with the person sitting next to you.

Neighbouring Sounds (limited release)
“A slice of ‘Braziliana’, a reflection on history, violence and noise.” Who doesn’t want a slice of Braziliana?

Reincarnated (limited release)
Looks to me like a documentary following Snoop Dogg’s transformation into Snoop Lion as he record his first reggae album.

Small Apartments (limited release)
“A man is surrounded by strange events and odd neighbors in this adaptation of Chris Millis’ novel.” Now imagine the man is Matt Lucas and his neighbours are Dolph Lundgren, Johnny Knoxville, James Caan, Billy Crystal, Juno Temple, and Rebel Wilson. Sounds quite tempting doesn’t it.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have an appointment with lying down to attend to.

A Landscape of Lies

A Landscape of Lies

While romping through the internet this week I came across a most bizarre story about British independent film-making and fraud; the story of A Landscape of Lies.

A Landscape of Lies was released straight to DVD in the UK in 2011. It was written and directed by Paul Knight and starred, in her debut role, Loose Women‘s Andrea McLean alongside a cast of unknowns. Apart from winning the Silver Ace Award at the Las Vegas International Film Festival A Landscape of Lies is just another gritty British drama destined to go unseen by the masses. Nothing remarkable here. Although…

The film was made on a small budget of just £84,000 and yet when applying for their tax refund for the government were asking for £2.8-million based on a claimed budget of £19-million. That’s a mark-up of 22619% for any maths fans out there. What is even more remarkable is that the film was actually made AFTER the producers were arrested for tax fraud. It turns out that they had no intention of making the film but replied for tax relief regardless. It was only when the government looked into their production and the gang were arrested that they tried to cobble together a film as evidence that they weren’t committing fraud.

The film itself is very real. It has a Facebook page and everything!

I can’t help but feel sorry for the cast and crew that weren’t in on the scam. As far as they were concerned this was a genuine film and for some it was their big break. Now their acting debut is part of an elaborate scam and the name of the film itself feels as though it should come with a “no pun intended” disclaimer.

Enjoy the trailer below and marvel at a film that exists but does so only for the most cynical reasons. Michael Bay would be proud.

UPDATE: The five “producers” have now been jailed

Top 5 Slow-Apocalypse Films

It's the end of the world as we know it

A major problem with being the dominant movie exporter in the world is that every paranoia and fear that is explored in your fictional output is exported around the world as well. America has a reputation for projecting an explosive and powerful exterior – something that features heavily in the comic book/action hero explosion of the last few decades. This is also present in its real-life military industrial complex and fictional intelligence agencies of its action-adventure TV series (X-Files / 24 / Homeland etc.)

The apocalypse genre shows the cracks in this exterior. It shows the inherent fear that Americans feel towards nuclear / chemical / biological warfare; immigration and loss of identity; environmental apocalypse and religious eschatology… so many threats. Unsurprisingly in the years after 9/11 there was a wave of films showing cities and landmarks exploding, yet this trend seems to have slowed slightly.
The more interesting films for me are the more realistic ‘slow apocalypse’ films that show a dying earth fading out with a whimper as opposed to an explosive bang. These films show the fragility of the human race and the inevitable decline of our genetic global empire… these are my favourites:

SunshineThe sun is fading out so a crew is sent up to launch a city-sized nuclear device into the star to regenerate it. Whilst aboard the mission there is a philosophical and aggressive debate (resolved through action and not words) about whether the human race deserves to be saved.

Children of Men
Children of MenSet in London in the near future, all of the world’s (human) female population has unexpectedly become infertile. This has led to extreme nationalism and fascist border controls as people try to live the rest of their lives in as much luxury as they can. An interesting subplot is the world has deified the youngest person alive and as he dies a new youngest person is raised to global fame – an interesting satire on what we would cling to in our final days: reality TV and racism.

Another Earth
Another EarthNot so much an anthropological apocalypse but a cultural apocalypse – as in, the earth does not die but our relationship with it does. An intelligent young woman aspiring to go to M.I.T is driving home listening to the radio announce the discovery of a new local planet. Distracted by this she crashes her car and kills someone, ending up in jail. As she is released the planet has grown to be visible to the naked eye in daylight. Humans make contact with the planet and discover that there is intelligent life – the world has to slowly adapt to this radical information.

MelancholiaA young depressed bride-to-be decides during her wedding party that she is not in love with her partner and has to stay with her rich older sister. In the days after the wedding there is a rare celestial event where a planet is circling the Earth much to the enjoyment of the older sister’s husband and son who want to witness the event. It becomes clear that the world’s scientists have miscalculated the trajectory and the planets are going to collide. The inevitability of the astronomical tragedy allows the characters to prepare for the end of their worlds.

The Road
The RoadAn unidentified catastrophe has led to an environmental apocalypse in North America leaving only a handful of humans left to live their final days as hunter-gatherers. The film follows a father and son as they navigate the bleak, post-urban landscape as they head west in search of… something.

For more from Ollie visit his blog Crispy Sharp Film

Win a Freaking Television!!!

Morning campers! It may be a bleak Monday morning but I have got a treat for you loyal Mild Concern readers (and of course for the UK’s online competition junkies). For our latest competition we have teamed up with our good friend Argos (you know Argos, he’s that designer Richard E. Grant was so crazy about*) and are pleased to offer you the chance to win a 32 inch Toshiba TV with built-in DVD player..

That’s right. A TV. I know. I told you Argos were our friends!

Toshiba TV

To enter our prize draw just fill in your details below and I will pick a winner at random. If you aren’t our lucky winner then you might like to know that Argos also sell LCD TVs. The competition closes at 5pm on 1st April 2013. Hopefully when I contact the winner they won’t think it is an April Fools…

The competition is open to UK residents only and if you enter more than once I will find out and I will not be impressed. If the form below is not working for you then simply email us your details and we will ensure that your entry is included.

In association with Argos

*see below

[flashvideo file=wp-content/uploads/Argos.flv /]

Terms and Conditions:
Delivery will be within 28 days of Argos receiving the winner’s address, and the competition prize may vary at the discretion of Argos.
The prize as described will be supplied direct from Argos, and there is no cash alternative.
This competition is open to UK residents only.

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Out Now – 15th March 2013


UK comedy about an ageing rock group who release their music under the guise of a fresh young punk band. This is apparently set in a parallel universe where fresh young punk bands are more successful than ageing rock groups.

Welcome to the Punch
Gritty British crime drama focussing on an old feud between an ex-criminal (Mark Strong) and a detective (James McAvoy) and “a deeper conspiracy they both need to solve in order to survive”.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
One look at the poster for this Steve Carell starring comedy and I have painful flashbacks to Blades of Glory. I think I have an aversion to any film in which the lead characters have the same haircut as Siegfried & Roy.

Red Dawn
The winner of this week’s award for the film whose advert on IMDb keeps expanding and obscuring vital film synopses.

Beyond the Hills (limited release)
Romanian drama about a friendship between two adult orphans. They fall in love but one takes refuge in a convent and plans to become a nun. The twist being that both orphans are women so we have a potential lesbian nun on our hands.

The Paperboy (limited release)
PaperboyIn no way related to the video game. Instead we have a thriller about a journalist investigating a death row prisoner. All the attention for this film is focussed on a character played by Nicole Kidman with a passion for passion and the fact that she urinates on Zac Efron. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Maniac (limited release)
Elijah Wood, everyone’s favourite Hobbit (unconfirmed), plays the titular homicidal maniac and mannequin shop owner. To be fair I presume anyone who owns a mannequin shop is a homicidal maniac.

The Spirit of ’45 (limited release)
“A documentary on how the spirit of unity, which buoyed Britain during the war years, carried through to create a vision of a fairer, united society.”

Shell (limited release)
Scottish drama about a girl entering womanhood while living in isolation with her single father.

Michael H – Profession: Director (limited release)
Profile of director Michael Haneke which features “strong bloody violence and explicit images of sex”. I can confirm that these are from clips from Haneke’s films and not footage of him having violent sex in his private life.