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The Hitman's Bodyguard - DVD Review

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

IF THE pairing of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson in a mis-matched buddy action-comedy seems appealing, then think again. Patrick Hughes’ The Hitman’s Bodyguard is nothing more than a crass exercise in exploitative violence and profanity.

What’s more, it’s often sexist and misogynistic and is yet another film that tries to mine laughs/drama and fantasy out of scenarios that are a little too close to current headlines for comfort.

Reynolds stars as Michael Bryce , a slick bodyguard (or protection agent) whose plush business is derailed following the assassination of a top tier client. Languishing in self pity, Bryce is offered a shot at redemption by his ex-girlfriend (whom he blames for his fall from grace), so long as he can safely transport a high profile client to the European Court to testify against a dictator (Gary Oldman).

But when the client turns out to be Darius Kincaid (Jackson), a notorious hitman and long-time nemesis of Bryce’s, the job takes on more personal stakes, with other assassins on their trail.

Hughes film does, admittedly, offer the potential to deliver an alternative take on the mis-matched buddy scenario perfected by the likes of Shane Black, albeit within a highly ethically challenged world.

But its first mistake is to set it against a backdrop that is all too real – genocide – and then attempt to desensitise audiences to the actual horrors of what that word entails.

Hence, Oldman’s villain is a hysterically OTT, borderline pantomime baddie who summarily executes scores of his people (there are photos of him standing over mass graves)… a movie villain trading on real-world infamy. It’s the type of storytelling device that, for me, even Wonder Woman couldn’t pull off.

If Oldman’s dictator wasn’t bad enough, then a scene involving a lorry packed with explosives being driven into a crowd feels even more distasteful, especially since Hughes gets caught somewhere between spectacle and horror in the same way that Michael Bay did with Pearl Harbor.

Another of the movie’s big mistakes lies in its decision to make every set piece as hyper violent as possible and virtually every conversation profane. On the rare occasion the film stops long enough to allow its characters to confront the morality of what they do, The Hitman’s Bodyguard offers glimpses of what could have been (likewise, some of the comical stuff between Reynolds and Jackson).

But then Hughes, who cut his teeth with the underwhelming Expendables 3, steadfastly refuses to allow his actors any room to work before throwing in another mindless set piece, as well as a wholly unnecessary torture sequence and countless non-PC jokes that just aren’t funny.

It’s obvious where a lot of the film takes its inspiration from in terms of style (Deadpool) but it lacks the finesse to pull it off. And in doing so, it also leaves its leading duo to flounder, with Reynolds coasting on that Deadpool persona for most of the time and Jackson also wheeling out his loud, sweary, mother-f***er routine. Oldman, meanwhile, seems content to phone it in, while Salma Hayek is wasted in a nonsensical prison-based role.

One or two decent moments aside, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a wholly unsavoury experience.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 1hr 58mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: December 11, 2017

Win Viking Siege on DVD

Viking Siege

Preview by Jack Foley

To celebrate the release of the blood-soaked action fantasy Viking Siege – on DVD from December 26, 2017 – we have a copy up for grabs.

Vikings meets The Evil Dead” (Loaded) in this rip-roaringly entertaining fantasy, with vengeful kick-ass female warriors battling corrupt monks and killer tree creatures!

Filled with foul-mouthed monks, brutish warriors on the rampage and a terrifying horde of growling, gruesome half-man half-tree mutants, Viking Siege is no ordinary fantasy adventure film – but a slam bang homage to 1980s sword and sorcery films with a dash of Assault on Precinct 13 and Evil Dead thrown in, as the group are trapped in a monastery at the with merciless monsters prowling outside.

Viking Siege will have you rooting for the warrior women as they find themselves, in a fantastic effects-packed finale, pitted against some of the nastiest, gnarliest foes this side of the White Walkers.

The film stars Rosanna Hoult,‎ Craig Russell and is directed by Marc Price.

“A blood-soaked battle that’s out of this world!” Box Office Buz

Order today

Win Viking Siege on DVD

To celebrate the release of Viking Siege on DVD on December 26, 2017, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win a copy. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who directs Viking Siege?

Simply send the answer to Viking Siege competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

WWE: Best of 2017 - Win a SummerSlam 2017 Blu-ray

Preview by Jack Foley

2017 has been another fantastic year for WWE and we are offering you the chance to win some of 2017 biggest and best releases!

Royal Rumble 2017 DVD

For 30 years, Royal Rumble has been a stepping-stone for Superstars to rise to legendary status by getting the chance to headline WrestleMania. Which Superstar from Raw or SmackDown Live will take their career to the next level? “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles and John Cena write the next chapter in their historic rivalry in a match for the WWE World Championship. WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens faces challenger Roman Reigns with Kevin Owens’ best friend suspended high above the ring in a shark cage! And WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair looks to extend her famed pay-per-view win streak against Bayley! Buckle up because we are now on The Road to WrestleMania!

Wrestlemania 2017 DVD

Welcome to WrestleMania, “The Ultimate Thrill Ride”! Brace yourself for incredible twists, unexpected turns, and unbelievable excitement! “The Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar challenges Goldberg for his Universal Championship – the richest prize on Raw. The intense rivalry between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt comes to a head over SmackDown LIVE’s WWE Championship. Bayley defends the Raw Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match. “The Architect” Seth Rollins gets his chance at revenge as he takes on “The Game” Triple H in a Non-Sanctioned Match! And Roman Reigns faces one of the biggest tests of his career when he takes on Undertaker in a No Holds Barred Match! Plus, action from all your other favourite WWE Superstars, including all three pre-show matches!

SummerSlam 2017 DVD

WWE’s second biggest show of the year and the biggest party of the summer…. It’s SummerSlam! Coming from the Barclays Center, the main event shakes the foundations of Brooklyn when Brock Lesnar defends the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe in a Fatal 4-Way Match. And “The King of Strong Style” Shinsuke Nakamura gets his first chance at WWE gold when he faces “The Modern-Day Maharaja” Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship. Plus much more!

WWE: Unreleased 1986 – 1995 DVD

A three-disc collection of never-before-seen matches from WWE’s golden era and New Generation! Features action from legendary Superstars such as Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Macho Man Randy Savage, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker!

To find out more, visit the WWE website

Win SummerSlam 2017 on Blu-ray

To celebrate another great year for WWE, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win SummerSlam 2017 on Blu-ray. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who does Brock Lesnar defend the Universal Championship against in SummerSlam 2017?

Simply send the answer to SummerSlam 2017 competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Win Sachin: A Billion Dreams on DVD

Sachin: A Billion Dreams

Preview by Jack Foley

JAMES Erskine (One Night in Turin, Building Jerusalem) co-writes and directs this documentary about the life and career of legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

The film charts Tendulkar’s career from his first-class debut for Bombay at the tender age of 15, to becoming the highest runs scorer in the history of Test and ODI cricket.

The documentary also gives insight into Tendulkar’s private life and includes interviews with his family as well as extensive contributions from Tendulkar himself.

Win Sachin: A Billion Dreams on DVD

To celebrate the release of Sachin: A Billion Dreams on DVD now, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who directs Sachin: A Billion Dreams ?

Simply send the answer to Sachin: A Billion Dreams competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Certificate: 12
Running time: 2hrs 15mins
UK DVD Release: December 4, 2017

Win An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power on DVD - available on digital and DVD on December 11

An Inconvenient Sequel

Preview by Jack Foley

HAILED as “a wake-up-call” (Frankie Crossley, Miro Magazine) and “skillfully put together” (Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent), the eye-opening and compelling An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power arrives on Digital Download and DVD on December 11, 2017. To celebrate the release, we are giving you the chance to win a copy on DVD!

Ten years after the Academy Award®-winning An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change to the forefront of mainstream culture, the 2017 Environmental Media Association (EMA) Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power follows former Vice President Al Gore as he continues his tireless fight, traveling around the globe to educate and inspire the next generation of climate champions.

This “daring, urgent and exhilarating follow-up” (Josh Dickey, Mashable) shows that while the stakes have never been higher, the solutions to the climate crisis are still within our reach.

Watch the incredible trailer

For your chance to win a copy of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power on DVD, simply submit your answer to the question below…

Q. In the trailer, where is the annual climate change conference held?

A) Paris
B) London
C) Berlin

Simply send the answer to An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Like Paramount on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow #BeInconvenient for all the latest news and information.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power – See It on Digital and DVD from December 11, 2017.

© 2017 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie - DVD Review

Captain Underpants

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IN AN age when kids movies exist to impart wisdom as much as entertainment, it’s somehow refreshing to find one that exists almost purely to have fun.

But David Soren’s movie, based on the first book in Dav Pilkey’s wildly popular series, does just that. It’s a juvenile blast, shot full of frenetic energy and low-brow humour that brings out the kid in everyone.

That’s not dismissing it as entirely being devoid of anything to say. There are nods to the various vagaries of childhood that parents will find amusing, pot-shots at the sometimes absurd nature of superhero genre conventions and a knowing appreciation of the healing power of laughter.

But they’re delivered in such a fast and furious fashion that the film never feels like its dwelling on anything serious for too long. Rather, it’s constantly seeking to line up one ridiculous set piece or gag after another.

The story focuses on George Beard (voiced by Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch), two imaginative pranksters who spend hours in a treehouse creating comic books based around the character of Captain Underpants, but whose endless frivolity proves particularly irksome to the joyless school principal, Mr Krupp (Ed Helms).

When Mr Krupp threatens to split the boys up, thereby threatening their friendship, George and Harold take back control and, via a bizarre twist of fate, are able to turn him into their beloved cartoon character, whilst simultaneously paving the way for the rise of a super-villain in the form of Professor Poopypants (Nick Kroll).

Hilarity ensues as a wild and increasingly zany series of encounters creates an unlikely superhero scenario in which George, Harold and Captain Underpants have to save the day.

Given the relentless energy that Soren injects into the movie, it’s perhaps no surprise to report that Captain Underpants sometimes gets a little carried away with itself. But even so, it’s still an unexpected treat to find a film that is so determined to charm by virtue of its inherent silliness.

Indeed, if you’re looking for comparisons, then something like the first Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs exists on the same type of playing field.

And while certainly tearing into your subconscious and rattling your inner child like a toddler on a sugar overdose, Captain Underpants isn’t without heart too. The central relationship between George and Harold is nicely played, and an ode to friendship in its own way, while there’s even a romantic sub-plot that is suitably awkwardly played.

In the main, though, kids will lap up the slapstick, along with all the fart and poop jokes, while adults will find themselves surprisingly entertained in spite of their better instincts. Captain Underpants is a ‘tra la la la” blast.

Certificate: U
Running time: 89mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: December 4, 2017

Atomic Blonde - DVD Review

Atomic Blonde

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

CHARLIZE Theron seems to be blazing her own trail for female action heroes of late, having leant her skills to the likes of Mad Max: Fury Road and Fast & Furious 8 over the past couple of years to eye-catching effect. Now, she deservedly gets her own vehicle with Atomic Blonde and grasps the opportunity in similarly impressive fashion.

Adapted from the graphic novel The Coldest City, and directed by David Leitch (of John Wick fame), Atomic Blonde is a Cold War spy thriller (and kick-fest) that takes its cues from the likes of Bourne, Bond and Tony Scott’s Spy Game.

Yet it delivers the action on its own terms, opting for a self-consciously stylistic approach that, admittedly, negates some of the film’s substance.

Hence, while benchmark setters such as the Bourne franchise artfully marry game-changing action with intelligent, emotionally compelling storytelling, Atomic Blonde prefers instead to deliver the thrills without so much of the complexity.

There are twists galore, of course, but their impact is softened by Leitch’s decision to ramp up the soundtrack at every opportunity, thereby setting impressive fight choreography to ’80s cuts from the likes of New Order (Blue Monday), David Bowie (Cat People (Putting Out Fire), George Michael (Father Figure) and 99 Red Balloons. In that regard, it has more in common with this year’s Baby Driver without the same ingenuity or heart.

Theron plays MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton who is sent to Berlin following the death of her former lover (Sam Hargrave) at the hands of a KGB agent in order to retrieve a priceless dossier and uncover a potential double agent.

Once there, however, she must contend with a roguish fellow spy and contact named Percival (James McAvoy), a naïve French agent named Delphine (Sofia Boutella) and a missing asset (Eddie Marsan), while attempting to keep one step ahead of the many people who want her dead.

In approaching Atomic Blonde, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a major step forward for female empowerment given that its one of the first successful spy films to feature a woman front and centre. But while there is progress, the film also plays like a male fantasy version of a female empowerment movie at times.

The first shot of Theron, for instance, finds her naked in a bath-tub (and revealing far more than most male spies), while there’s also a lesbian romance that’s super sexed up. Theron, for her part, throws herself into everything and truly inhabits the role of Broughton, from the kick-ass action to the outfoxing of her peers.

Atomic Blonde

She’s ice cold and remorseless when she needs to be, impenetrable when it comes to feeding back to her possibly untrustworthy colleagues and superiors, and yet capable of fleeting moments of vulnerability and compassion. It’s the type of performance that arguably deserves more room to flesh things out, occasionally being blunted by the over-stylised nature of the endeavour as a whole.

But then genre fans probably won’t mind a jot. If Atomic Blonde can’t reach the 5-star status of the best spy thrillers, it still has plenty in its own armoury to make it fantastically enjoyable, including one particular fight sequence that begins on a staircase that will undoubtedly be held up as an all-time classic of its kind (rivalling the choreography and bone-crunching nature of Gareth Evans’ The Raid sequences).

It also has an impressive ensemble, with McAvoy revelling in the opportunity to go batshit crazy again (a la Filth), Boutella adding a sexy and surprisingly vulnerable new addition to an increasingly impressive action CV of her own, and the likes of John Goodman, Toby Jones and Eddie Marsan all making their mark in some way.

Leitch, for his part, builds on a rapidly growing reputation as an action director of the highest calibre (it’s Deadpool 2 next for him), while the fast-moving nature of the film as a whole gives it a breathless energy that’s thrilling in its own kind of way.

Hence, while lacking in the finesse of the best genre entries, occasionally muddled and nowhere near as feminist as it should have been, Atomic Blonde still emerges – battered and bruised – as a tremendously entertaining action-adventure that deserves to kick-start its own franchise.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 1hr 55mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: December 4, 2017

Atomic Blonde and other Kick-Ass Females in Film

Atomic Blonde

Compiled by Jack Foley

OSCAR® winner Charlize Theron stars as MI6’s most lethal assassin and the crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Lorraine Broughton, in Atomic Blonde.

When Lorraine is sent on a covert mission into Cold War Berlin, she must use all of the spy craft, sensuality and savagery she has to stay alive in the ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors. Broughton must navigate her way through a deadly game of spies to recover a priceless dossier while fighting ferocious killers along the way in this breakneck action-thriller from director David Leitch.

Theron is joined by James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella and John Goodman in what critics are calling “Totally badass”, Total Film.

To mark the release of Atomic Blonde on Digital Download on December 2, Blu-ray™ and DVD on December 4, 2017, we take a look at some of the most badass boss babes in film.

Mrs Smith (Mr & Mrs Smith)

When you think of kick-ass women, there is no one who epitomises this more so than Angelina Jolie. One of her best action movies is her 2005 hit Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

John (Brad Pitt) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie) live a mundane life in the suburbs in a struggling marriage. Or so we’re led to believe. Turns out, they are both assassins working for adversarial agencies. When they are both assigned to kill the same target, Benjamin Danz (Adam Brody), a series of highly charged, fire-powered liaisons ensue until they eventually discover the real aim of the mission was to kill each other.

Bonnie (Bonnie and Clyde)

Holding bank clerks up at gunpoint. Grand theft auto. Just your average date night then?

In the middle of the Great Depression, Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) and Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) meet when Clyde tries to steal Bonnie’s mother’s car. Bonnie who is enamoured by the rebellious nature of Clyde decides to become his partner in crime.

Bonnie and Clyde turn from pulling minor heists to robbing banks. After a string of violent exploits, the pair end up in a heated police chase, which escalates into a full blown shoot out. Faye Dunaway does a great job portraying this infamous real life badass woman with poise, elegance and fantastic style.

Hit Girl (Kick-Ass)

Kick-Ass

Hit-Girl (Mindy McCready) is a fictional character appearing in the Kick-Ass Marvel series, and subsequent 2010 film. The character was created by artist John Romita, Jr. and writer Mark Millar. She is a young but effective vigilante, trained by her father Damon McCready (a.k.a. Big Daddy) from an early age to be a costumed superhero and assassin, (so a normal daddy-daughter relationship). She eventually joins Kick-Ass in his fight against crime.

Hit-Girl was arguably the most popular character with audiences, even over Kick-Ass himself.

Veronica (Heathers)

Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, the ‘Heathers,’ but she disapproves of the other girls’ cruel behaviour. When Veronica and her new boyfriend, J.D. (Christian Slater), confront clique leader Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) and accidentally poison her, they make it appear a suicide. Veronica ends up complicit in a string of other high school murders across the period of the film.

The story culminates with J.D trying to blow up the school but Veronica’s most badass move is to stop the corruptive and manipulative J.D.

Cipher (Fast & Furious 8)

Fast & Furious 8

Charlize Theron plays Cipher, a cyber-terrorist, with multiple connections to the criminal underworld in Fast & Furious 8. As the antagonist, Cipher is determined to start a nuclear war.

Showing that this badass babe has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to get what she wants; she blackmails Dominic Toretto into betraying his crew when she kidnaps Elena Neves and their son, Marcos, using them as leverage against Dom to get him to steal the components necessary for her plans.

Lorraine Broughton (Atomic Blonde)

Lorraine Broughton is one of MI6’s most lethally trained spies. In November 1989, just before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, on a covert mission, she must use all of the spy craft, sensuality and savagery she has to stay alive in the ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors. Broughton must navigate her way through a deadly game of spies to recover a priceless dossier while fighting ferocious killers along the way.

Charlize Theron is a threatening assailant in this thrilling Cold War action packed film.

Atomic Blonde is available on Blu-ray and DVD from December 4, 2017, courtesy of Universal Pictures (UK).

Win England Is Mine on DVD

Preview by Jack Foley

ENTERTAINMENT One (eOne) is pleased to announce that England Is Mine – the enthralling story of the making of one of British music’s most influential figures – Morrissey – will be available to Download first from November 27, 2017 (pre-order now from iTunes) and on DVD from December 4, 2017 (pre-order now from Amazon). To celebrate, we’re giving away 2xDVD copies!

Starring Jack Lowden (Dunkirk) and Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey) England Is Mine is brought to the screen from the Oscar® and BAFTA nominated director Mark Gill and from the producer of Control – Orian Williams.

In 1970s Manchester, Morrissey dreams of becoming a musician but struggles to find his voice. After much soul-searching, his efforts culminate in him meeting Johnny Marr – a meeting that would lead to the formation of legendary ’80s band The Smiths, and change the face of British music forever.

To be in with the chance of winning, just answer this question…

Q. When was Morrissey born?

A) 22nd May, 1959
B) 23rd May, 1958
C) 15th March, 1959

Simply send the answer to England Is Mine competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

England Is Mine is available on DVD from December 4, 2017 and is available on Download now!

Watch the trailer

War For The Planet of the Apes: Caesar ice sculpture towers over London

A life-sized sculpture of Caesar on horseback was unveiled in Covent Garden on Monday, November 27, 2017, to mark the home entertainment release on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital Download. Award winning ice sculptors from Glacial Art, will be creating the sculpture from two giant ice blocks imported from Belgium weighing in at 3 tonnes – approximately 3,000 litres of water. The production required four chainsaws, chisels, steak knives, bonsai saws, angle grinders, irons, nail boards and 100 man hours over a five day period to create the towering 2.2m tall sculpture – all whilst in a minus 20 degree full scale industrial fridge. The sculpture was located outside Urban Outfitters in Covent Garden, for one day only.

Roll your mouse over the left and right-hand sides of the image and then click to view more pictures.

War For The Planet of the Apes ice sculpture PreviousNext A life-sized sculpture of Caesar on horseback, made entirely of ice, towers over Londoners to celebrate the release of War For The Planet of the Apes on Blu-ray™ and DVD. 1 of 3

 

Read our review of War For The Planet of the Apes or interview with Andy Serkis

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