Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Till Death (2021)

This is a nifty little thriller from the relatively inexperienced team of S. K. Dale (director) and Jason Carvey (writer). It's not the greatest film in the world but it does keep you on the edge of your seat for 90 minutes as suspense builds towards the thrilling finale!

Emma and Mark have fallen out of love. She's taken a lover and he's got business problems, though on the face of it he looks well-to-do and wealthy. He also controls Emma in every aspect of her life (that he knows about). What she wears, how she wears it, where she goes, who she sees - he dominates her life and she has to toe the line (for reasons which aren't really ever stated, but we assume money and luxurious life-style).

It's their anniversary, so he takes her out to dinner, buys her an expensive gift then whisks her away to an isolated cabin in the iced-up, snowy outbacks somewhere for a romantic night. When she wakes up in the morning, he's sat next to her hand-cuffed to her, then he blows his head off with a gun (which only has one bullet in it)!

Presumably for revenge (as it turns out he knows about her lover) he has set this up in order that a couple of hoods he's lined up will come and kill her and get what money he has, in the safe. He's sorted his business problems (by being dead) and she's going to get it too! Enter the hoods, one of whom it turns out has done 10 years in the nick because of something that Emma previously did to him. So he's happy to get his revenge too.

Anyway, enough of the far-fetched plotline and into the thrills and spills. She has to somehow get out of the place alive, except that he has removed any tools that she might use to get free of him and drained the cars of petrol, cut off the phone-lines, you get the idea. She's doomed!

Megan Fox plays Emma and I'd suggest not coming to this expecting any award-winning acting. And she's the best of the bunch! Everyone else is pretty mediocre in their roles except for maybe the second of the two hoods, played by Jack Roth (Bohemian Rhapsody, Rogue One), who is the most convincing of the bunch. Eoin Macken doesn't quite happen as Mark, I'm afraid, but then he does spend most of the film dead and chained to her!

The setting is excellent and there's some nice scenery to be enjoyed around the events of the day, but this is really just about the thrills of the story. Will she make it out? Is she doomed? Who will kill who? Look out for some ludicrous inconsistencies in the plot and wildly unlikely scenarios and just-in-the-nick-of-time outcomes!

Don't let me put you off though as it's great fun. A little bit gory in places, but nothing too much. A good Friday Night thriller which you can get your teeth into and enjoy the suspense and thrills. Doing the rounds on various streaming platforms now.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Open 24 Hours (2018)

It's fruit-loop time again! This is a film about a young girl who had just got out of clink for setting her boyfriend on fire. Turns out the boyfriend was a serial killer and she'd been implicated by the authorities as an accomplice, explaining her clink-time. Anyway, she's out now but is scarred for life psychologically due to the trauma she suffered, paranoid, delusional and seeing hallucinations. (Or is she?)

The boyfriend (who survived and also ended up in clink) gets out of jail (or does he?) and comes to exact revenge on her in her new job, first night in an all-night petrol station in the USA (or does he?). All hell breaks loose as it plays out in this one day. Half the time you don't know what's real and what's imagined, but it's a tidy little indie thriller with plenty of slay-gore thrown in.

Not a huge amount of decent acting going on in this low-budget outing, though Vanessa Grasse is half-decent in the lead. Brendan Fletcher is the name here, if there is one, from Freddy vs. Jason (2003), Rampage (2009) and Tideland (2005). Doing the rounds on Streaming.

The Last Duel (2021)

Ridley Scott's historical movie is set in the late 1300's north of France and tells an allegedly true story, well, based on fact, which actually historians are also unclear regarding, about two men who start off as friends but end up bitter rivals.

Matt Damon plays Jean de Carrouges and Adam Driver, Jacques Le Gris. They are squires and noblemen or the like, who find themselves fighting for king and country far too often and form a bond in the early part of the film of what appears to be brotherhood. The first part of the film dances all around a 20 year timeline, so watch out for the captions of when we're at! In fact, this dance is really quite quickfire often with a very short scene and then onto the next, 10 years later and so on. So keep up at the back!

This is all during the Hundred Years war between England and France, taking in Scotland at one point. Anyway, as we leap between battlefields and timelines, then spend some time back at base, it becomes clear that Jacques has the favour of the king and his sidekicks and is given favours left, right and centre, some of it land and wealth that Jean thinks is his. And so the rivalry kicks off and they start avoiding each other or spitting at each other in court.

This is the point at which the film splits into three, only coming back together for the finale. Part 1 is the events as told by Jean, Part 2 by Jacques and Part 3 by Marguerite, Jean's wife, played by Jodie Comer. You see, she is allegedly raped by Jacques while Jean is away doing boy's things, and the three main characters in turn tell their story. So yes, there's quite a repetition going on with the 'facts' presented dramatically, three times, based on which one tells the story of what happened surrounding the alleged rape.

All the stories agree that Marguerite decides to tell Jean that Jacques has raped her and so Jean is on an even greater quest to cash in his rivalry with Jacques by dragging him through court, in front of the king, and ultimately towards the duel to the death. This is the Middle Ages and they think that god will decide and if Jacques wins, Marguerite will be burned at the stake. Of course, there are no witnesses, but at this time women are second class citizens and the sexism is reflected by depicting the rape (if it happened) as a slur against the house of the husband, not the woman who allegedly endured it.

Anyway, that's enough of the lead up. Obviously, the finale is the duel to see who is the 'winner' and what fallout there is along the way. If you can forgive the dodgy smattering of American, British and French accents with little attempt to hide them, the three leads do very well. They are convincing and portray the harrowing tale superbly well, particularly Driver and Comer. There are various other names thrown in the mix, like Ben Affleck, who also produced with Damon, but most of the others had pretty small parts. One criticism of the film could be that there was more meat on the bones of the other characters which could have been chewed.

The setting is blood-stained battlefields, castles and mud-strewn streets as you'd imagine and some of the battle scenes verge on the gory here and there. It's always depicted as cold and wintery and some of the cinematography is well imagined and nicely shot. Alex Lawther play 'mad' King Charles VI extremely well, though he doesn't have a huge part in the film. I remember him from The End of the Fxxxing World on Channel 4, in which he was very well cast.

I struggled at the end to decide whether or not the two and a half hour running time was worth it and kept my attention but decided that it was, and it did. It's not gripping, by any stretch of the imagination but there are plenty of scenes which are suspenseful drama, especially the finale, but elsewhere too where the moral fibre of the characters is up for question. The motivation and behaviours added to the uncertainty of being able to identify with how differently this would have been dealt with, and turned out, in our age. Very differently of course.

I didn't feel an emotional engagement with the film, rather I reflected on what was a brutal, hard-nosed time depicting very different values and standards in a very different era. Give it a go and see what you think. It's just started to appear on streaming services, so use your Play Points, Vouchers or whatever!

Silent Night (2021)

This short and tight little comedy/drama/thriller was created by director/writer Camille Griffin which tells the tale of a group of annoyingly posh and monied hoo-hars who come together for a yuletide celebration and, potentially, last supper!

What unfolds is a story based around an incoming 'gas' which everyone knows about and for which the government has issued suicide pills because there's nothing anyone can do about it - and those who don't take the pill will suffer a fate worse than death in great pain. So they have one last night to party before they all snuff themselves out as they know the exact day it is arriving.

It plays out in the early stages (as the group arrive at the big countryside house) a bit like Peter's Friends or even Four Weddings. All frightfully chirpy, hilarious fun with much posh-people banter. They have dinner. They argue. Truths come out about the past, secrets shared, anger expressed, beans spilled. Think Abs Fabs, air-kisses, Land-rovers and Barbour jackets too. The monied-set.

Seems that posh kids are allowed to swear as much as they like and use the F word in pretty much any sentence (along with their parents) as the four kids are a bunch of just-as-annoying public school posh-brats in the mix. They're all very unlikeable and actually, none of the characters are really developed very much in the 90 minute run-time.

Keira Knightley leads them - a (mainly) Brit-pack of actors including Matthew Goode, Roman Griffin Davis, Annabelle Wallis, Lily-Rose Depp, Sope Dirisu, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Lucy Punch, Rufus Jones and Davida McKenzie. It's a bit like spot the face you know, then work out which TV series or film you saw them in! They all do what they do reasonably well and if 'convincingly annoying' is the aim, then they're all cracking actors!

Anyway, I won't spoil the ending (which you will see coming from some way off) but leave you to either get very annoyed by the people and what they represent in life or see past that and enjoy the dark side of what starts as an apparent comedy but ends up as something quite different.

Most of it shot in the house and is generally directed and staged well - it could easily be a stage-play. Perhaps it is. Now available to rent/stream from various services.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

PodHubUK Podcasts for the Month of November 2021

   ...a roundup of our month of podcasting. Links to the team, communities and podcast homes on the net at the foot, so scroll down!

Whatever Works
Episode 148 - No Menu Venue
Monday 1st November
Aidan and I are here with another hour of buffoonery and chaos as we consider Whatever Works in our lives and yours! From Spy Cameras, Tiny Glue and Broken Zip Fixes to Clackety-Clack Keyboards, Fly Swatters and Powerful Ego's - we have it all. And more besides! Grab a beer and join us.

Projector Room
Episode 99 - The Dune Hustle
Wednesday 3rd November
Gareth, Allan Gildea and I are back again this fortnight with more pearls from film, cinema and TV. What we've been watching, what you've been watching and what we're all going to watch! Loads of goodies as usual.

The Phones Show
Episode 432 - Fairphone 4 Review
Wednesday 3rd November
Join Steve as he takes apart (and reassembles) the Fairphone 4, whilst trying to decide if he's eco-friendly enough to stick with this thoughtful firm long-term. Are the hardware compromises too much? Who is, in reality, likely to keep the same phone for 6 years? Head on over to find out..!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 666 - The Samsung FairPixel
Saturday 6th November
Steve and I are back this weekend with another catchup episode as we drill down into Pixel 6 hands-on, Fairphone 4 hands-on and Microsoft Duo 2 hands-on! Hands-on all-round and the big Galaxy swap! Plus all the other usual stuff of course.

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 7th November
Gareth and I look at the Facebook Watch - complete with Notch, SoundCore Glasses, Asus VivoBook 13 Slate, a sneaky iPhone feature and Stadia vs GeForce Now.

Whatever Works
Episode 149 - Lazy Walnut Grinding
Friday 12th November
Aidan and I are back once again to annoy you with our fortnightly round of chaos, mayhem and madness as we go bananas over Whatever Works for us and you. It's a bit coffee-heavy this time, but also loads of other stuff. Plenty to whine about too of course!

Phones Show Chat
Saturday 13th November
Steve and I welcome back James Bernard Walsh this week for Part 2 of his thoughts on his Apple gear used as a medic. Plus time for some other stuff too including Photo of the Month.

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 14th November
Gareth and I get stuck into GTA III Definitive Edition, Apple’s Screen Repair Trap, blipOne awesome home power backup battery, Moto Watch 100, Roku and an Oppo tablet!

Projector Room
Episode 100 - 100
Wednesday 17th November
The whole team has popped up this time to celebrate our 100th Show. We've been bangin' on about film, cinema and TV since 2016 and are still at it! Gareth, Allan Gildea and Steve join me - as half the cast fight off colds - The Show Must Go On! As always, we bring you natter about what we've been watching, with a Special Feature depicting our choices for the best of the best in the last 20 years. We add your thoughts into the mix too, so why not join us!

Phones Show Chat
Thursday 18th November
Croaky Steve and I are back this weekend good'n'early with just the two of us on a catchup. Plenty to chew over including more on the Pixel 6 & Pro, NexDock 360, Dynamic Vibration and even a OnePlus iPhone!

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 21st November
Gareth and I are back with more tech tinkerings... the Fold on hold? Apple care about repair? Moto Tab and Realme Pad? Tesla don't deny the Pi? OnePlus Nord's Pac-Man and a ghostly horde? How can you afford to get bored? Move toward...

The Phones Show
Monday 22nd November
More Pixel 6 goodness and this time it's back to the giant Pro and the thoughts of @Steve Litchfield in his video review.

Whatever Works
Episode 150 - Fast Fish Cross Pond
Friday 26th November
Aidan and I return with another near-hour of chatter about Whatever Works for us and you! Allsorts to tempt your palate, but no sign of liquorice! A huge brolly up (indoors) for grabs alongside Rat Traps, not forgetting the odd moist horn and wet-wipes tub!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 669 - Pixel Bashing
Saturday 27th November
Why not join and I as we welcome back Tim Evans for Part 2 about his Microsoft Surface Duo 2 and have a round of mutual Pixel Bashing! Plenty of positive stuff too of course!

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 28th November
Gareth and I discuss the the weather and Covid - and still make time for the technology of the Pixel 6, 6 Pro and 6 Mini, OnePlus 10 and 10 Pro, Samsung setting up in Texas, MediaTek and Winamp! What fun ahead for the good listeners! Become one. Tune in!

Monday, 1 November 2021

PodHubUK Podcasts for the Month of October 2021

  ...a roundup of our month of podcasting. Links to the team, communities and podcast homes on the net at the foot, so scroll down!

Whatever Works
Episode 146 - I Scream at Ice Cream!
Friday 1st October
Aidan and I are back once more with an hour of chaos and mayhem as we pick the meat off the bones of Whatever Works for you and us! Loads of stuff as usual, from last year's calendars, nifty glue guns, oodles of noodles and a Minor Marshall to keep us in check!

Phones Show Chat
Friday 2nd October
Steve and I welcome Dan Carter back to catch up with what he's using, recently reviewed and his hopes for Pixel 6 (Pro). Plenty of other chat too of course as we assess more phones and news from the world of mobile.

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 3rd October
Gareth and I are back again with our weekend catch-up of all stuff tech as we rattle on about the Nokia PureBook S14, Honor Pad V7, Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G, Amazon Astro, Stadia, Evercade, Speedlink Excello and tons more!

Projector Room
Episode 97 - The Guilty Voyeur
Wednesday 6th October
Gareth, Allan and I are back once again with our fortnightly roundup of all things film, cinema and TV. What we've been watching, what you've been watching, what we'd like to be watching! Don't Breathe as we break the Deadlock with some top-heavy Rakka!

Phones Show Chat
Saturday 9th October
Steve and I welcome back James Honeyball this week as he hooks up with Steve at the pub! Plenty of hot topics to chew over as always!

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 10th October
Gareth and I quibble about Windows 11, Stadia, Lenovo Legion Play, the Cyrcle Phone, Nokia T20, a Mini Pupper - and wonder if Microsoft 365 is worth it! (You can also enjoy Ted's new jingle as Gareth challenges Aidan's command!)

Whatever Works
Episode 147 - Surround Sound Splutter!
Friday 15th October
Aidan and I are back again with another potpourri of Whatever Works stuff to educate, edify and excite! Bundles of stuff to be grabbed behind the chaos, coughing and grass cutting - we even welcome back Grandma Shark!

Phones Show Chat
Saturday 16th October
Steve and I are back again this weekend with guest Mike Warner who leads us through some deep stuff about Android, Xiaomi and LineageOS - all good stuff. Plus all the usual catching up.

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 17th October
This week Gareth and I inspect news of the TCL, HTC and Anker making Smart Glasses, Evercade VS delays, Vivo X70 Pro+, Grand Theft Auto III coming back and Squid Game’s issues!

Projector Room
Wednesday 20th October
Gareth, Allan and I are back again with another fun-packed look at film, cinema and TV. What we've been watching, what you've been watching, what's been good and what's lousy! We lose a Squid Game in the Chicken Run, go for a Little Fish at a Copshop but don't resort to Plan A!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 664 - Retro Samsung Week
Saturday 23rd October
Steve and I are back this weekend with a sneaky two-header, mopping up some lingering items and chat! Why not join us as we muse on the week's happenings in mobile phone and our never-ending quest for the perfect phone (as rare as a unicorn)!

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 24th October
Gareth and I are back this weekend with another dollop of drivel about tech and other stuff we know nothing about! However, it's still a marathon podcast which sees us chew over a Facebook rebrand, Apple's Notch fetish, Nokia T20, Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 renders and memories of Shareware.

The Phones Show
Thursday 28th October
Join Steve as he takes a look at this latest offering from Microsoft - is it good enough or useful enough for the likes of you and I? Or is it really very much a business tool?

Phones Show Chat
Episode 665 - Pixels and Duos
Saturday 30th October
Steve and I pop up again this weekend - this time with the return of Tim Evans who gives us hands-on insight into particularly the Microsoft Surface Duo 2, Pixel 6 and 6 Pro - but much more besides.

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 31st October
Gareth and I are back with our usual Metaroundup of all things Metatech which has caught our eyes in the last Metaweek. Cheerful, ritual humiliation of the whole lot of 'em! Roblox hits a road-block, Moto Watch 100 smiles sweetly and we get giddy at the thought of the Amstrad 1640.

The Podcasts
PodHubUK - Phones Show Chat - The Phones Show - Whatever Works - Chewing Gum for the Ears - Projector Room - Tech Addicts

The MeWe Community Groups (follow the links to join up)
Phones Show Chat & The Phones Show - Whatever Works - Chewing Gum for the Ears - Projector Room - PSC Photos - PSC Classifieds - Tech Addicts

The Team
Ted Salmon - Steve Litchfield - Aidan Bell - Gareth Myles - Allan Gildea

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Old (2021)

We can often rely on M Night Shyamalan to offer the audience a twist and turn, even jaw-dropping 'didn't see it coming' moment, like The Sixth Sense and The Village. When I watch a new film of his, I'm always hoping for that - but it doesn't always come. Maybe it will this time.

The story is a simple one, based on the graphic novel 'Sandcastle' by Pierre-Oscar Lévy and Frederik Peeters. A bunch of people go on holiday. They are welcomed and the very next day, offered an opportunity for an exclusive day out at a beach the other side of the island where most guests are not allowed. The manager of the hotel tells them that they're being offered this speciality as he, well, likes the cut of their jib!

The hotel mini-bus drops them all off and they have to walk through some caves/cliffs/rocks to get to the enclosed bay/cove. It's idyllic and beautiful. The driver tells them that he will be back to collect the group at the end of the day.

As the day starts, they all have fun and enjoy their time along with the giant picnic which the hotel has sent along with them. Then the trouble starts. They start ageing at a rapid pace. There's one older woman who was the first to go as she was the oldest. The children suddenly become teenagers. Behaviours start to change. A body washes up on the shore.

Long-standing conditions which various members of the group have are made worse. Then they notice an 'observation area' on a distant hillside and think they are being watched. They start to try to get away from the beach but attempts to do so end up in one disaster or another. They just get old, quickly. I won't say any more about the plot for obvious reasons.

The location makes for some lovely visual offerings and on top of that there's some arty photography used as well. Nice shots, unusual angles and close-ups to enhance the drama of what's going on - and the horror and realisation of what is happening by the group.
There aren't really any huge Hollywood names in the cast but Rufus Sewell leaps out (The Illusionist, Judy), Nikki Amuka-Bird (Gold Digger) and Eliza Scanlen (Babyteeth) whilst Gael García Bernal and Vicky Krieps play the central Guy and Prisca roles.

The whole cast does well as various actors leap in and out of different roles of ageing kids. They all look strong and competent in what they do, convincing the audience of this off-the-wall yarn. It is a fantasy and I can tell you that there is, of course, something at the end of it which I didn't see coming, but probably the sharper of you might well do. It's certainly worth a look but not the quality of some of his earlier work. What I do like is that it is an idea though and M Night Shyamalan can be relied on the bring us something different and interesting. He's a good storyteller.

Till Death (2021)

This is a nifty little thriller from the relatively inexperienced team of S. K. Dale (director) and Jason Carvey (writer). It's not the ...