Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman – Film Review

Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman

When I first heard about this film I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the title. A film like this can go one of two ways; it can be a brilliant piece of exploitation satire like Black Dynamite or simple a cheap bit of exploitation cinema itself. So what would Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman be? Would is be the good or the bad. Unfortunately it was neither, it was the ugly or rather the mediocre.

Machine Gun Woman never quite follows through in anything it tries to do or be. The grindhouse aesthetic it aspires to is limited to a Instagram style filter and the addition of some fake celluloid grain in the opening and closing scenes. Beneath the filter and the grain we are left with a pretty standard digital shot that is often framed awkwardly presumably thanks to space limitations created by shooting on location with a small budget that is showcased by props that do not benefit from close up examination. There is also an attempt at a parody of Grand Theft Auto games but this is really only limited to a few title cards and let’s face it, games are much more fun to play than watch.

Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman2

As for being genuinely exploitative… the Machine Gun Woman in question is an assassin who kills by wearing little more than gun holsters, high-heeled boots, and little more than underwear. However she is a relatively minor character as the film actually follows a club DJ who is tasked with stepping outside his job description and hunting down and killing the provocatively dressed killer. Naturally he is not best suited to the task and makes a bit of a hash of things for the film’s short 73 minute running time. The film is violent but not over the top and features a sexy woman but is not necessarily sexy. Machine Gun Woman isn’t even consistently enough to really succeed as a comedy and is too rough around the edges to really pass for any other genre either.

Machine Gun Woman is not completely without merit and for the most part is quite good fun despite risking being boring in places. It is probably best suited to being watched with a group of friends late at night, most likely with some alcoholic lubrication.

Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman is in some cinemas right now and comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on October 14th 2013.

Out Now – 27th September 2013

Runner Runner

Runner Runner
Justin Timberlake and B’Affleck star alongside Gemma Arterton in a film about something to do with poker. Who really knows? The only review I read was terrible so we’re better off moving on.

Blue Jasmine
Woody Allen returns to form for the umpteenth time with a drama about a troubled socialite. Cate Blanchett takes the lead role with a performance that has lots of Oscar-based whispering surrounding it.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman both stare moodily to the right in a film about… prisoners? A child has been kidnapped and people’s desperation is tested as they have to decide just how far they will go in finding where the girl is. I sense torture.

Girl Most Likely
All I can tell you about this film is that it stars Kristen Wiig alongside Darren Criss and that Rach absolutely adores Darren Criss but despite this bias only gave the film three stars. Not a good sign.

A woman goes to a Jane Austen theme park in search of her very own Mr Darcy. Flight of the Conchord’s Bret McKenzie co-stars so it might not be as agonisingly painful as it seems.

Mister John
“After discovering his wife’s infidelities, Gerry leaves London to look after his deceased brother’s business and family in Singapore. Discovering a foreign world of opportunity that had not existed before gives Gerry a chance at starting over by slipping into his brother’s life – both emotionally and physically. However, leaving his wife and child behind in the UK is not so easy as Gerry must choose between becoming his brother’s alter ego ‘Mister John’ or returning to London to face his failing relationship.” Eh?

Hannah Arendt
“A look at the life of philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt, who reported for The New Yorker on the war crimes trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann.” Because a drunk Tim can’t process all these serious films.

In the Name Of
IMDb doesn’t even have a synopsis for this film. I despair. I honestly do.

Greedy Lying Bastards
With a title like this one this documentary about climate change promises to be totally and utterly objective and unbiased. Totally.

Smash & Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers
A documentary about a network of international jewel thieves. I read an article about these guys in The Observer. I get the Observer. The cryptic crossword is superb.

Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman
Surely a case of the title telling you all you need to know to decide whether you want to see a film. A review is forthcoming from me so watch this space.

The IT Crowd: The Final Episode – TV Review


Come in close everyone, I have something I need to talk about…. I have seen the final episode of The IT Crowd and I really enjoyed it. The only problem is I have no idea how to review it without either spoiling jokes or sounding like a gushing idiot.

For those of you who are unaware of The IT Crowd then the final episode is not really for you. You need to get yourself the DVDs, sort out your comedy priorities, and stop watching so much Derek. For fans of The IT Crowd all I can say is that you are in safe hands with Graham Linehan. Despite this special being a full hour rather than the usual half the episode doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary; this is not a “very special” episode just a slightly longer episode of the show we know and love.

Sadly the continuing success of both Chris O’Dowd and Richard Ayoade means that they are no longer able to commit to filming a full series but they have come back for this one-off for love rather than money. The show is exactly as you remember it in the best possible way and it is a joy, the sort that makes you giggle uncontrollably, to see the pair team up with Katherine Parkinson one last time for some basement dwelling hijinks.

Provided you haven’t gone and been all illegal you will no doubt be watching Agents of SHIELD on Channel 4 directly before The IT Crowd comes on so just sit back, relax and enjoy one fine hour of comedy. Then be sure to think about all the TV comedy we currently have still on the air and allow yourself a good ten minutes of despair.

The IT Crowd: The Final Episode airs this Friday 27th September at 9pm on Channel 4.

Divergent – Welcome to the Franchise


Now that the first moody posters have arrived (click above to enlarge) I think it is about time we talked about Divergent. It’s only a matter of time before the world is forcing you to pay attention to it in the same way they did with Harry Potter, Twilight, and more importantly The Hunger Games. Like the Jennifer Lawrence fronted franchise Divergent is adapted from a trilogy of Young Adult books (the third of which is coming next month) set in a dystopian future with a strong female lead. The books are very popular and in the process of attempting to sneer at them I read the first two and, completely against my will, got hooked. They are not great works of literature but they are engaging, engrossing, very quick to read, and in my opinion are superior to The Hunger Games.

In Divergent the city of Chicago has been fenced off from the rest of the world and society within has split into five different factions to best utilise the skills of each individual with each faction contributing to society in their own way. When someone turns sixteen they must take an aptitude test to discover what faction they are best suited to and then it is up to them to choose which group they join for the rest of their lives. Some people, such as our lead character Tris (played by Shailene Woodley, as all novel characters must be), are Divergent meaning they do not fall into just one category. These people are seen as dangerous, or if you ask me, just well-rounded individuals.

A quick rundown of the five factions:

Divergent Factions

The plot of Divergent follows Tris as she leaves her life in humble Abnegation and joins the violent ranks of Dauntless, tries to hide her true calling as Divergent, falls in love, and maybe starts a revolution of some kind.

Hey, look, a trailer!

The books should make for some good family fun in the cinema and the film looks to be of similar quality to The Hunger Games so hopefully won’t bomb as badly as The Mortal Instruments trilogy is likely to. The films have Kate Winslet involved for a start which puts them miles ahead.

Dauntless is set to come out in the vague period of Spring 2014.

More stills for the super keen:  Continue reading

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – TV Review

Agents of SHIELD - Agent Coulson

Over the past few years it has been impossible to go to the cinema without bumping into a superhero as they fight a great evil seemingly oblivious to the fact that dozens of other superheroes are having very similar issues just around the corner. The worlds coexisted but remained very much apart until last year when Samuel L. Jackson, under the guise of SHIELD agent Nick Fury, united a group of superchaps and called them The Avengers. Jackson had been popping up in the superhero films for years and was consistently overshadowed by another SHIELD agent played by relatively unknown actor Clark Gregg. Gregg’s role in proceedings got bigger and bigger before climaxing in The Avengers with his death. Now Gregg’s Agent Coulson is heading up the Agents of SHIELD TV series and is very much alive and well thanks to a mystery resuscitation by executive producer/big boss Joss Whedon.

In the first episode of the series we see Coulson return to work after the events of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble and assemble a crack team to help him hunt down and manage new superheroes and unusual phenomenon. The team he assembles is pretty, peppy, and overwhelmingly brunette. Everyone talks with the standard witty Whedonesque dialogue we have come to know and love through Buffy, Angel, and Firefly (I am pretending Dollhouse never happened) which gives the show a lot more humour than you might expect and makes the whole affair that bit more enjoyable. Fans of either Marvel films or Whedon’s canon will see a few familiar faces apiece to help them settle in with the newbies.

Agents of SHIELD

I hit superhero fatigue last year and failed to watch Iron Man 3 in April but thankfully SHIELD is Lycra free and focusses more on the team than anyone who can fly. Their first mission is to track down a man who was seen saving a woman from a burning building, investigate an explosion, and put an end to a mysterious group called Rising Tide. In the course of the episode we are treated to lots of fun gadgets, impressive explosions, and effects that lean towards the cinematic rather than the televisual.

It seems the show will follow the format of having a weekly problem to solve while exploring an overarching big bad and slowly revealing the mystery of just why Coulson is so chatty for a dead man. On the whole I found the episode a lot of fun, and will be watching the rest of the series for more than just my undying allegiance to Joss Whedon, but it wasn’t hugely gripping and isn’t the sort of show I will be cancelling my plans to watch nor compare theories with co-workers about.

It is quite telling that I can’t remember a single non-Coulson character’s name, and the plot of the episode itself isn’t what will have you coming back next week. Agents of SHIELD is a fun bit of popcorn TV, something to record then watch when you have an hour free to enjoy a bit of action and some amusing quips.

Agents of SHIELD hits UK TV this Friday 27th September at 8pm on Channel 4.

Out Now – 20th September 2013


Ryan Reynolds is a dead cop who is recruited by a force of undead officers to team up with fellow corpse Jeff Bridges and hunt down trapped spirits. A buddy cop comedy about a supernatural police force has the scent of Men in Black about it and the generally awful reviews have the scent of poo about them.

A film about the final years of the life of Princess Diana never seemed like an easy film to make but the resulting film sounds like the worst of all possible outcomes. Rather than being particularly offensive, opinionated, or controversial Diana is being accused of much more serious crimes; it is dull, poorly written, and badly acted.

The Call
Halle Berry (remember her?) stars as a 911 operator who is on the phone with a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) as she is kidnapped and is tasked with talking her through her escape. A lot of the film is likely to be Berry and Breslin chatting on the phone, I hope they’re good at small talk.

British documentary looking at the effect of the internet on modern teenagers. As someone who is from the internet, running a blog and having met friends online, I have a certain hesitation when it comes to a documentary that looks to look at all online activity through a judgemental and scornful lens.

Cold Comes the Night
Despite his meteoric success on the small screen with Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston has yet to have a film that makes the most of his talents and instead takes small roles in mediocre films. This week he co-stars in a thriller about a motel owner and his daughter who are held hostage by a criminal trying to retrieve some money.

Mademoiselle C
“A documentary focused on former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief and fashion stylist Carine Roitfeld as she moves to New York to launch her own magazine.” Sadly it does not seem nearly as entertaining and insightful as The September Issue.

A documentary about Stephen Hawking. Mathematical!

Metro Manila
Filipino crime drama about a crime drama who move from a rural community to the big city and quickly become embroiled in all manner of crime. The sort of film you need to watch if attending a classy dinner party this weekend.

Stephen Tompkinson, him from Ballykissangel, plays a rough and ready detective in 1974 who is the only hope for a community crippled by crime, poverty, power cuts and strikes.

Kelly + Victor
I saw this romantic indie drama at last year’s BFI London Film Festival and absolutely loathed it. For all I know the film is actually a very well made artistic debut feature about a destructive relationship but I was in a foul mood when I saw it so it didn’t have a chance. Subjectivity rules all film criticism. Word.

About Time – Film Review

About Time

Having seen About Time over a week ago I seemed to spend a lot of time this past weekend bringing it up in conversation so I think it deserves a few words from me over here.

About Time comes from writer/director Richard Curtis who has spent his career teaching us to expect well written and genuinely funny romantic comedies as rich English people fall in love with a few pitfalls along the way. About Time doesn’t stray too far from this template but is notable for being Curtis’ first foray into Sci-Fi as he dabbles with some time travel (let’s ignore Doctor Who and Blackadder’s Christmas Carol for now).

After turning 21 Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) is told by his father (Bill Nighy) that the men in his family can time travel simply by going into a dark enclosed space and thinking about a specific moment from their past. Any complicated time travel mechanics or rules are eschewed in favour of a more simplistic approach so that the focus can be on the story and the characters rather than any Sci-Fi nonsense. Tim uses his new power mostly to fix social situations and in the romantic pursuit of a young American woman called Mary (Rachel McAdams) who catches his eye in a pitch black restaurant. The focus of the story would seem to be the romance between Tim and Mary but what has been lingering with me ever since was the relationship between Tim and his father. That is where the heartstrings were really tugged and the tear ducts lubricated.

With the presence of a Sci-Fi plot device and a focus on emotions and character over the fictional science I know what you are asking yourself… Is this HeKniSciFi? A quick look at Rachel McAdams cardigan should tell you all you need to know:

About Time - Domhall Gleeson & Rachel McAdams

Just look at how warm she looks!

About Time is a flawed film. The time travel logic doesn’t always make any sense, or stick by its own loose rules, and the central love story is charming but a little bland. Somehow though none of this matters. The mechanism of the time travel is not what is important to Curtis (or me) nearly so much as the impact that the time travel has on Tim and his relationships. Though this supernatural plot device Tim is taught that there are certain things in life that can’t be changed, that sometimes bad things have to happen, and that there comes a time to let go. Time travel here is as it always should be, servicing the film but not dominating it. And as for the lacklustre love story… the world’s best father-son relationship more than makes up for that.

Richard Curtis isn’t making a time travel film with the intention of boggling your mind, all he wants to do is warm your heart and he succeeds here with flying colours. I very nearly cried (tears may have formed but they did not fall) and that is no mean feat. While the characters may seem unrelatable with their large homes and clipped English accents but Curtis has a way of reaching past this and touching you regardless. Unintentionally creepy metaphor there…

Moving away from any insinuation of Richard Curtis molesting his audience I’ll take a paragraph to compliment the supporting cast which includes great performances from the likes of Tom Hughes, Vanessa Kirby, Will Merrick, Richard Cordery, Lindsay Duncan, Lydia Wilson, and the fantastic Tom Hollander. We are also treated to a few brief appearances from Margot Robbie who is a rising star and has been troubling me since her Neighbours days.

About Time - Margot Robbie

Bill Nighy completely steals the show in a film best watched snuggling with a loved one on a rainy day. Fathers and sons will get the most out of it though may prefer not to snuggle while they watch. Leave any cynicism at home and enjoy what will become a staple film in my collection and try not to think how good the film would have been had Zooey Deschanel not dropped out.

Girl Most Likely – Film Review

Girl Most Likely

The last time I guest reviewed a film for Mild Concern, it was Cabin In The Woods and all the review said was “Holy Shit”. Similarly, this time I could have submitted a review for Girl Most Likely that just said “Darren Criss is hot”, but I thought I’d try to use my words.

Girl Most Likely is a comedy that revolves around Imogene, a role that sees Kristen Wiig basically replicate her character from Bridesmaids. Imogene is recently single, even more recently unemployed, and the once-promising former playwright finds her life spiralling downwards and out of control. So obviously, like any normal person would, she fakes a suicide attempt to try and win back her dull socialite boyfriend. When her plan backfires she ends up on the psychiatric ward with doctors only willing to release her into the care of a family member. Enter her mother Zelda (Annette Bening) who drags an unwilling Imogene back to New Jersey and back to her childhood home.

The change in location introduces us to all of the movie’s entertaining characters. We meet lodger Lee (Darren Criss), a member of a 90s boy band tribute act who now rents Imogene’s old room, and her brother Ralph (Christopher Fitzgerald), whose sweet innocence and obsession with crabs leaves you hating Imogene a little bit for abandoning him with their mother in the first place. Lastly there’s Zelda’s boyfriend George Bousche (Matt Dillion) whose CIA agent sub-plot is so ridiculous it should be completely out of place but ends up being one of the highlights of the film.

Girl Most Likely 2

The problem with Girl Most Likely is that there’s no real problem with Girl Most Likely – it just doesn’t elicit much reaction of any kind. By the end of the 103 minutes of film, Imogene comes to some fairly predictable conclusions about home and family that we’ve all seen before.

It’s not all bad – the undeniably talented cast are all given moments to shine, and they take a middle of the road script and make it into something better than it probably should be. The evolution of Imogene’s relationship with Lee, from her initial dislike of him into something romantic, was well done and pleasingly independent of Imogene’s own character development. It wasn’t used as the resolution to all of her problems and that was refreshing to see.

If you’re a fan of Darren Criss and like the idea of him wearing eyeliner, singing Backstreet Boys songs and playing a character who is well out of high school for a change, then I’d definitely recommend seeing it. Everyone else? It’s a harmless way to pass a couple of hours, inoffensive but ultimately only okay.

At least one of those stars can be attributed to Darren’s hotness. Maybe two.

Girl Most Likely is in UK cinemas on 27th September 2013

Out Now – 13th September 2013

In a World...

White House Down
Much like Olympus Has Fallen this action film centers around a terrorist attack on the White House. Not just a white house; THE White House. Swap Gerard Butler for Channing Tatum and you’ve got the idea.

Ron Howard directs a film about Formula One in the 1970s. I’m not going to pretend I’m interested. I did however investigate why this film has a 15 certificate and it seems the film includes two sex scenes which “provide an impression of sexual mechanics”. What an unsexy description.

Insidious: Chapter 2
I’m not sure what happened in Insidious because I failed to see it back in 2011. I imagine a lot more of the same happens here… Further investigation reveals a shushing woman, dry ice, creepy ghosts, and some frankly bizarre set dressing.

Sir Billi
A slightly ropey looking CGI film about a Scottish vet voiced by Sean Connery in his final acting performance. Reviews have been terrible… ENJOY!

Justin and the Knights of Valour
Another terribly reviewed British animation, this time about a boy trying to become a knight. I can only assume his name is Justin.

The Artist and the Model
A sculptor in occupied France rediscovers his passion for sculpting when a nice Spanish lady models for him. War – bringing people together since 1943.

In a World…
Funny lady Lake Bell writes, acts. and directs her debut film about a woman striving to become a voiceover star like her father. A woman’s voice in a film trailer!? Urgh.

Classe Tous Risques
1960s French/Italian crime drama presented for your amusement by the BFI.

Borrowed Time
“The story of two totally contrasting figures who come together in the most hostile of circumstances, only to form an unlikely bond that will help them both find a way out of their respective troubles. It is a bittersweet comedy about growing up and rediscovering youth in parallel, united by the subconscious desire to seek out the missing elements in their lives.” UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP AHOY!

In this film about baseball a baseball player plays baseball really, really well.

Grand Masti
Hindi comedy about three friends attending their college reunion. Predicaments occur.

Everyone Take a Minute to Get Excited About Doctor Who

Doctor Who

Everyone but Stephen obviously.

Besides this poster the BBC have also revealed a raft of other shows that will be celebrating Doctor Who this autumn. My personal picks (nothing from Blue Peter or CBBC for me) are…

An Adventure In Space and Time
Mark Gatiss scripts an original drama starring David Bradley as William Hartnell; the first actor to play the Doctor. The drama will detail how Doctor Who came to be and should be an interesting if slightly biased film. BBC Two are unlikely to make a film that shows the series in anything but the most reverential light.

Doctor Who
BBC Four will be airing the very episodes that An Adventure In Space and Time explores the production of as the channel shows remastered editions of the first four episodes of Doctor Who with William Hartnell.

Professor Brian Cox
Professor Brian Cox (not to be confused with actor Brian Cox who is co-starring in An Adventure In Space and Time) will be giving a lecture on BBC Two about the science behind Doctor Who… or lack thereof I suppose. As a fan of the show and someone with a science degree (ahem) this excites me more than a little.

Me, You and Doctor Who
There are a lot of documentaries covering the history of the show, its monsters and so on, but the only one I want to see is this offering from The Culture Show. In the episode Matthew Sweet explores the cultural significance of Doctor Who and possibly takes it a little too seriously. If I am going to be watching a documentary about a children’s sci-fi show I only want the most pretentious best.

The Day of the Doctor
And then we have the 50th anniversary episode itself. Matt Smith, David Tennant, and John Hurt are all playing the Doctor in a feature-length special accompanied by Jenna Coleman and Billie Piper. This is the only part of, what I will now brand as, the Doctor Who Bonanza with an air date so set your TARDIS dials(?) for 23rd November.

For more on the extensive and possible over-egged line-up have a read over at the BBC site.

If you have no love for the show then November is not going to be your favourite month.