I, Daniel Blake leads the new cinema releases & trailers w/e October 21st 2016

I Daniel Blake This weekend there are seven new films out for you to choose from: Ken Loach’s latest British drama, currently winning the awards at every film festival at which it’s shown – I, Daniel Blake, Tom Cruise returns for Lee Child’s sequel in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, chess championship drama in Queen of Katwe, horror sequel in Ouija: Origin of Evil, knockabout comedy in Keeping Up with the Joneses, Spanish/Canadian animation in Ozzy, and typical American animated dross in Trolls.

I, Daniel Blake is the latest film from veteran director Ken Loach (Kes, Looking For Eric), and is also his second film to win the Palme D’Or at Cannes, the other being 2006’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley, also written by the same screenwriter, Paul Laverty.

Starring comedian Dave Johns in the lead role, Daniel Blake, aged 59, has worked as a joiner most of his life in Newcastle. Now, for the first time ever, he needs help from the State. He crosses paths with single mother Katie (Hayley Squires A Royal Night Out) and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan. Katie’s only chance to escape a one-roomed homeless hostel in London has been to accept a flat in a city she doesn’t know, some 300 miles away.

Daniel and Katie find themselves in no-man’s land, caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy as played out against the rhetoric of ‘striver and skiver’ in modern-day Britain.

I, Daniel Blake has felt like a long time coming, particularly since I just missed out on the free screening at a local cinema, and there also having been what feels like a zillion other screenings around the world as it has won a great number of film awards, and it looks like another cracking drama from Mr Loach packed full of emotion and I can’t wait to see this.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Never Go Back is the subtitle to the second Jack Reacher movie, again with 5’7″ tall Tom Cruise in the lead role of a 6’5″ man, but going back is exactly what he does as he returns to the headquarters of his old unit, only to find out he’s now accused of a 16-year-old homicide. Oops!

The opening of this trailer looks pretty cool, and overall it looks nicely violent. And based on what I read on their site, it looks like the BBFC haven’t been instructed to trim it down from a 15-cert to a 12A like last time, hence why I waited for the Blu-ray for the first film, simply titled Jack Reacher, yet based on the Lee Child novel One Shot.

Directed by Edward Zwick (Glory, Pawn Sacrifice), who wrote the screenplay with Richard Wenk and Marshall Herskovitz, and based on the Lee Child novel, the cast also includes Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Age of Ultron) and Robert Knepper (Prison Break).

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Queen Of Katwe stars Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) as Harriet Mutesi, a young girl from Uganda who trains to become a world chess champion. Doesn’t sound like the most thrilling concept for a film I’ve come across, but it has a strong cast and has had great word of mouth – plus, I was addicted to BBC1’s Play Chess back in the early ’80s, so I’ll take a look.

Directed by Mira Nair (2004’s Vanity Fair), from a script by William Wheeler, based on the novel by Tim Crothers the film also stars David Oyelowo (Selma), Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Russel Savadier and Maurice Kirya.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Ouija: Origin of Evil

In 1967 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their seance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by a merciless spirit, the family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side

Starring Lin Shaye (Insidious 1-3), plus Doug Jones, Annalise Basso, Elizabeth Reaser and Henry Thomas (yes, Elliott from E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial!), I never saw the first one, even though it looked pretty good, but I can’t get to see everything. However, this looks reasonable, too.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Keeping Up with the Joneses

Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher and are a suburban couple who become embroiled in an international espionage plot when they discover that their seemingly perfect new neighbours, Gal Gadot and Jon Hamm. The film also stars Patton Oswalt, Ming Zhao and Kevin Dunn.

It looks alright, but nothing more than a typical Hollywood run-of-the-mill comedy with an average amount of thought put into it. That said, I’m still waiting for Zach’s Masterminds to come out in the UK. That’s been ages in coming. It took over a year to get a release in the US, on Sept 30th, but as of yet, there’s still no UK date.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!


I figured this would be a documentary about Ozzy Osbourne… but it’s a Spanish/Canadian cartoon about a dog. Oh well, it’s probably still better than Trolls, below.

Ozzy, a friendly, peaceful beagle has his idyllic life turned upside down when the Martins leave on a long and distant trip. There’s only one problem: no dogs allowed! Unable to bring their beloved Ozzy along for the ride, they settle on the next best thing, a top-of-the-line canine spa called Blue Creek. This picture-perfect place turns out to be a facade constructed by its villainous owner to capture dogs.

Ozzy will soon end up in the real Blue Creek, a prison for dogs, run by dogs. Ozzy will have to avoid danger and find strength in his new friends, Chester, Fronky and Doc to escape the prison and return home safely.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Trolls comes from Dreamworks, the creators of Shrek, they are lovable and friendly and love to play around, but one day a mysterious giant shows up to end the party…

This teaser doesn’t tell you much, or anything, really – only that it stars Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, but there’s also Kunal Nayyar, Gwen Stefani, and just to add insult to injury (for this unoriginal CGI pile of dross), James Corden and Russell Brand.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!