Tag Archives: Red Carpet News

Catching up with The Risk (@theriskoffic ) at The London Dungeons….

11 Feb

Just before the Christmas rush, I managed to catch up with the lovely boys from The Risk –  The X Factor last year – as they treated their ever loyal fan base to a top secret gig at the not so Christmassy London Dungeons!

We chatted about why they wanted to perform at that venue, what they thought of the most recent winner of the X Factor – James Arthur, and how hard it really is to deal with all the flack contestants from the show get in the press (Poor old Christopher Maloney!)

The boys were also there to give a sneak peek of their new single Missiles (which after hearing it through the sound checks and performance is very addictive!) Here’s hoping it does really well for them!

So here’s my interview for Red Carpet News Extra and below its the boys latest single – so go download now!

Oh and as an added bonus, here’s the behind the scenes to their music video too!

You can follow the boys on Twitter @theriskoffic or on their ever popular Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TheRiskOfficial

Best of New British? Try My Brother the Devil…

13 Nov

The Plot:

Two very different teenage brothers must face their prejudices head on if they are to survive the perils of being young, British Arabs on the streets of gangland London.

The Good:

For a debut feature film, My Brother The Devil is gripping, engaging, thought provoking and beautifully shot. All the characters and the surrounding situations are believable and as an audience member you can get completely engrossed in what you are watching, which is always a sign of a good film.

Sally El-Hosani picked up the much deserved Best Newcomer Award at the London Film Festival and most certainly is a star director for the future with this film and vision prooving testament to that talent.

My Brother the Devil, takes the audience on a very real journey of discovery for two brothers, Mo and Rashid – played expertly by newcomer Fady Elsayed and James Floyd. The beauty of this film is its self contained aspects. Not venturing much further than its urban council estate setting, the cinematography sheds a hallowed light on what is often depicted in film as a dark, dank and gruesome part of London.

The storyline also takes the film away from its opening generic ‘urban film’ feel and makes a strong social commentary sure to provoke equally strong reactions from audiences. The film is clever without trying to be too clever and Hosani’s passion for the project is obvious. It’s particular interesting to see a young female director tackling such a male focused route.

The Bad:

Although the film provides an interesting twist on the London gang culture genre, the topical and popular subject matter unavoidably brings a certain predictability regardless of budget or plot specifics.

These kinds of films follow a familiar pattern, a violent incident provokes some form of gang rivalry. Audiences will find that this film’s later stages in particular fall prey to being formulaic in a way that distracts from the film’s more original elements. Over hyped-enthusiasm from boastful marketing and word of mouth praise may worsen this feeling of disappointment. It’s ultimately not quite as distinguished from similar films like Victim or Kidulthood as it could have been.

Despite it’s faults My Brother The Devil is still lead strongly by its performances, and may prove to be the stepping stone for much bigger things for Floyd and Elsayed. It is also better than many feature debuts on a shoe string budget, so deserves the majority of praise already garnered.

The Ugly Truth: 

Beautifully shot, an unexpected twist on the tale you were expecting, but sadly not far enough away that it stands on its own two feet.  Most impressive however, is that My Brother The Devil is yet another shining example of UK talent both in front and behind the camera with praise well deserved.


If you want to hear what the director herself has to say about the film, check out when I caught up with Sally El-Hosani at the preview to the London Film Festival earlier this year…

Silver Linings Playbook has a few silver linings and even fewer faults…

9 Nov


The Plot:

After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

The Good:

The performances, Jennifer Lawrence (Tiffany) Bradley Cooper (Patrick) and Robert De Niro (Patrick Snr) each show fantastic turns and deadpan comedy in this crowd pleasing, unconventional romance story. With such an excellent cast it’s great that the film has a simple setting focused firmly on those performances.

The film’s central figure is Cooper’s character Patrick, a man who’s just spent 8 months in a mental institute because he nearly beat his wife’s lover to death after discovering their affair. Finally released and convinced he’s cured, Pat is fiercely determined to get back to work and reconnect with his estranged wife. Nothing can distract Pat form his obsessive goals, until he meets Tiffany.

Jennifer Lawrence yet again demonstrates an accomplished acting prowess, getting to grips with a character just as complicated as Cooper’s, but not as naïve… The troubled bond between them becomes a captivating “will they, wont they” battleground of emotion as the story progresses.

Silver Linings Playbook is essentially focused on a close knit community of friends and family, who know a little too much about each other but nevertheless are striving to do the right thing by each other. Patrick and Tiffany are both clearly equally detached from the claustrophobic but loving environment that surrounds them.

Robert De Niro delivers a notably fantastic turn as Patrick Snr, Pat’s short tempered OCD suffering father. Accepting but overly worried about his son’s illness, he’s a soft sided character that audience will find warm and charming. The character may also be a reminder for many people of the actual relationships within their own family units.

The film also boasts credible dead pan comedic performances from Julia Stiles and Chris Tucker; providing light relief as a “have it all wife” and “mental institute escapee.”

The Bad:

Silver Linings Playbook doesn’t have any damning faults, thanks in large part to strong performances which hold an excellently executed story together. However, there may be some concerns about exactly what type of audience the film will really appeal to.

The film doesn’t fall neatly into the easy category of ‘romantic comedy’ and audiences looking for a familiar feel good fix may be a little put off by the film’s more serious undertones about mental health. Likewise the way the film gradually replaces an early focus on that theme with humor and predictable romance may leave people hoping for a more serious examination of a challenging issue a little unsatisfied. Blending comedy with the drama of mental health issues is also obviously sensitive territory. It’s a fine line between laughing with and at someone with an affliction.

Though the film gets a lot of things very right, some motion sickness inducing early camerawork and an increasingly predictable story may stop it becoming a treasured favorite.

The Ugly Truth:

Silver Linings Playbook is definitely worth a watch and should leave you happily charmed by the end. Cooper and Lawrence are understandably firm favorites for male and female audiences. There’s definitely some fantastic sparing and romantic chemistry between the talented pair in this film. However if you’re looking for a meaningful examination of the challenges and stigma of mental health issues you may need to look elsewhere.


Get ready to laugh, cry and add this film to your top ten list… Untouchable review

21 Sep

The Plot: 

A rich quadriplegic, living in a mansion in Paris, requires a live-in carer. A young offender turns up for an interview, but he is not really looking to get the job. However, to his surprise, he is hired. The two men then develop a close friendship

The Good:

Untouchable probably isn’t going to be the film that is marketed across the UK as the next big “blockbuster” movie, more the dark horse in the running. But if you do catch it, and we thoroughly recommend that you do, you will hopefully remember it as one of those cinema gems that you’ll want to return to time and time again.

The true story of an unlikely friendship provides the platform for fantastic performances from Francois Cluzet (Little White Lies) as Phillippe and Omar Sy as Driss and a small but important supporting cast. The two leads are thrown together in an unlikely pairing which is not only heartwarming but endearing too. The film is a simple story and simple setting but through the actors charisma and chemistry with each other, audiences will find themselves laughing, crying and dare we say it, feeling that “warm fuzzy feeling inside.”

Untouchable was not the film we were expecting to watch, prepped with a box of tissues we thought we’d be weeping from start to finish, but instead were engaged in a story about a man, who with the help of a pitiless, bolshy and honest care assistant was learning to live again, learning to look beyond his disability and still managing to get the best out of life. Its hard not to be almost sycophantic about this film, it shows the best side in people, and probably is the reason why its been catapulted to the top of some box office charts and has sat comfortably as the second highest rated French film in history.

What this film reminds us is that you don’t need all these amazing effects, A-List stars or big budget studios, the essence of great film making is a brilliant story, and that is exactly what Untouchable is, a true and wonderful story.

The Bad:

As you can probably tell, its hard to find faults with this film, however as is often the case, the fact that it is in French may initially put off some audiences. However if you are the kind of audience goer who would normally walk on by when faced with a foreign language film, we would urge you to stop and take a punt on this one.

The Ugly Truth:

This is the type of film we would love to see getting some awards buzz later this year. The worldwide box office figures would hopefully provide some backup that Untouchable is worth a nod or two for Best Foreign film and Best Actor/Supporting for Cluzet and Sy. A film engaging from start to finish and simple storytelling at its finest. A must see.


Anna Karenina Review – I’m being nice and balanced here but wish I didn’t have to be!

10 Sep



The Plot:

Set in late-19th-century Russia high-society, the aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky.

The Good:

With any Joe Wright production you’ll see a lavish array of costumes and set design, and Anna Karenina is no exception. This time Wright’s world is almost entirely set on an old theatre stage and the intricate transitions from one scene to another are seamlessly done.

This is a big budget production, using clever means to depict a familiar story while taking a bold step away from past adaptations of Leo Tolstoy’s book. This re-telling can definitely walk away confident that it will almost certainly gather Oscar nods for costume, set, sound and potentially cinematography.

In terms of casting, Jude Law is sublime as Alexei Karenin, (Anna’s passive and tolerant husband) and by doing next to nothing, his presence on screen is scene stealing and captivating to watch. Aaron Johnson (despite his mustache) is a convincing Count Vronsky, a young virile officer who is tempted by the allure of married Anna.

As light relief, Matthew McFadden who previously played the brooding Mr Darcy, successfully don’s a jovial moustache as Anna’s lothario brother Oblonsky. Additionally newcomer Alicia Vikander deserves a notable mention for her innocent and gentile portrayal as Kitty.

The Bad:

Sadly there are a few flaws in Joe Wright’s beautiful effort. First and foremost the film is 130minutes long, which may stretch the patience of audiences, especially those that might not appreciate the film’s new take on period drama.

Though some of the film’s elaborate set-changing choreography works very well, particularly during the early portions of the film, as the story progresses it’s harder to sustain. Once the initial novelty of twirling scenery and people wears off, it may prove a distraction, especially for those eager to dismiss such an approach as heavy handed or pretentious.

However good the cast are, all the glamorous visuals can leave little room at times for them to fully develop their characters. The film’s central narrative is laid out in such clear parts that it can feel almost episodic at times, with gradual emotions making way for lavish production value.

Keira Knightley in the title role of Anna is at least breathtaking to look at as she takes on one of the most complex female characters in literature. However, even the former First Lady of the silver screen Gretta Garbo had trouble tackling the part in 1935. Sadly critics will once again claim that Keira’s performance is perhaps overly reliant on gasps and corsets.

Keira was Oscar nominated for Pride & Prejudice but it’s unlikely she’ll find similar accolades for Anna Karenina. The set and costume departments steal her thunder this time. Fans may also find her chemistry with Aaron Johnson, less passionately convincing than the intensity she found with James McAvoy in Atonement.

The Ugly Truth:

If you’re after a visual feast of beautiful costumes, make up and set design you will definitely not be disappointed. The high concept theatricality of Joe Wright’s production and Keira Knightley’s trademark performance may not entirely charm or convince everyone though.


So its not sunny outside, but it certainly is scary….

27 Aug

What better way to spend a bank holiday than in a dark room, with about 200 other people – some wearing funny masks, but the majority wearing funny t-shirts – and being scared to high heaven with a selection of horror movies… Well this is not necessarily my idea of fun, but for all the horror film fans in London, The Empire Cinema played Makkah to all their goulish, spine tingling needs.

Being careful to avoid the need for a pace-maker to be fitted, I managed skip past some of the films and go straight towards meeting its directors and cast (who weren’t so scary) and have a catch up about what all this horror fuss was about… here are just a few below…

Simon Pegg tells me that he doesn’t want Nick Frost to be walking around making “ARRGGGGHHH” noises for an entire film, so sadly, Shaun of the Dead 2, ain’t happening folks!

Labyrinth (book) fans, Claudia Gerini tells us all about the villain she plays in the TV movie out soon!

Ever wondered whatever happened to the Super Mario Bros? Well…I think they changed direction from plumbers to horror film makers under the name the Manetti Brothers…I’m not convinced!

And finally, Paura 3D’s Francesca Cuttica tells you how to prepare for a part as a woman living in a basement for years…as you do!

Thanks for reading folks! x