*NEW* THE BAD EDUCATION MOVIE REVIEW *NEW*

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Bad, just plain bad.

Mr Wickers (Jack Whitehall) and his class go on one final school trip after they finish their GCSEs.

Well, that’s what I thought I was going to say.

Whitehall brings his BBC3 hit sitcom to a close with one final big screen outing. And probably for the best. It was hardly groundbreaking comedy BUT with a good episode, you could have a cringe-worthy laugh fest.

The first half of the film was brilliant. It was outrageous, cringe-inducing BUT funny. A drug-induced opening sequence at the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam set up an unexpected homage to a classic Spielberg flick.

It was wrong, rude and deliciously bad taste. I had more fun watching the class’ actual trip down to Cornwall. It was the best part. Every supporting member having their chance to shine from Joe’s (Ethan Lawrence) attempt at pole dancing to Mitchell’s (Charlie Wernham – Hollyoaks) endless shenanigans.

The introduction of Joanna Scanlan (Stella/No Offence) as Joe’s mum was a welcome addition to the mix. The uptight guardian on the warpath to capture another cock up from the dysfunctional school teacher. One that will end his career once and for all.

For the first 40 minutes, I honestly wondered why this film had such a bad wrap? It was silly Inbetweeners style humour that hit the spot. Whitehall was on fine form as usual and really didn’t give a damn as he zip wired starkers through the Eden Project.

A revolting gag at a castle involving an ancient saint’s foreskin shouldn’t have worked BUT as much as I cringed, I couldn’t help BUT laugh.

Unfortunately, the road trip hit a major u-turn when it actually reached its destination. A crazy night out at a strip club certainly delivered the laughs BUT Whitehall really seemed to stretch out the gags for the rest of the film which made this a strenuous effort by the end.

I couldn’t believe that Jorah Mormont was in this. Iain Glen proved he was still up for a laugh and hasn’t gone too serious after Game of Thrones. However, I reckon quite a few GoT fans may view this as a step down. His introduction (unfortunately) was the tipping point for the film’s spiral into tedious mediocrity (Somebody ate a dictionary today). Creeping out of the woodwork as a Cornish resistance fighter.

The whole Cornwall revolution gag was a highly unfunny one. Desperate to break from England. This may strike a few chords after ‘Brexit’ BUT it killed a lot of the fun. What didn’t help was that Whitehall resorted to lazy stereotyping and class wars with his ‘Made in Chelsea’ chums. Talulah Riley (St. Trinians) was completely unnecessary in her cameo.

The only laugh I got out of that whole sequence was Alfie tea bagging a swan. You read that right? Ridiculous, stupid BUT oh so funny. He tried to bring some depth to the characters BUT it was never that sort of show so why should the film be any different?

It just didn’t work as Alfie failed to accept that he was being bullied while helping Joe conquer his own bullying problem. He tried to deliver a message and failed. The bickering between the school chums as they faced leaving school felt tacked on to fill the gag-less void. Shame.

Not even the re-introduction of Harry Enfield (Kevin and Perry Go Large), Matthew Horne (Gavin and Stacey) and Sarah Solemani (Him & Her) didn’t do anything to solve the problem. Brought in for one last hurrah. If anything, they should have stayed at home. Shame.

It was watchable and fans of the show will enjoy it. BUT if anything it was nothing more than a mediocre feature length episode. And maybe its conclusion was for the best.

2.5/5

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*NEW* SICARIO REVIEW *NEW*

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Two stand out performances redeem an overhyped and underwhelming thriller.

An idealistic FBI agent (Emily Blunt) is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.

After a gripping and brutal opening sequence involving a botched raid, the film seemed to meander along. Thankfully, Blunt was superb and really carried the film as she delved into the murky underbelly of Juarez.

The first hour was far too slow for my liking. BUT I was still intrigued to see where it was going. The cryptic conversations and stone walled pallor of Josh Brolin created an air of mystery and suspense. BUT I needed more. It didn’t help that a good portion of what was happening was very disjointed and confusing.

Luckily the introduction of Del Toro’s Alejandro spiced things up. He was brilliant. BUT after a while, Johann Johannson’s brooding soundtrack and Del Toro’s blank staring soon got on my nerves. I constantly questioned his motives and general relevance, to be honest.

Blunt’s frustration personified mine perfectly. Del Toro’s warning to her was a nice little indication of things to come. “Nothing will make sense to your American ears and you will doubt everything we do”. So I kept my griping to a minimum. Waiting for answers or a big twist to redeem this surprisingly patchy affair.

The sweeping shots of a downtrodden Juarez were a sight to see. Captured perfectly with Roger Deakins’ cinematography. A gritty underworld. The rifle fire riddling across the night sky like fireworks was a nice touch.

It was great to see Daniel Kaluuya from Psychoville in this. He delivered an impeccable accent and a sterling supporting turn. An impressive transition for the BBC Three star. I was also happy to see Jeffrey Donovan from Burn Notice finally getting a movie role. Shame, it was such a weak one.

Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) was completely wasted in his role. His character felt unnecessary and nothing more than a catalyst to spark some much needed action.

After all the slow burning build up, cryptic mumbling and waiting, I expected this to go out with a bang. It delivered a finale of sorts. The closing act was tense, atmospheric and nail biting. The answers finally revealed as we unearthed Alejandro’s true agenda.

The only problem was that after all the mystery, I really hoped it wasn’t going to be so predictable. The twist. Well, if you could it call it that. I saw it coming a mile away. Maybe I’ve seen too many thrillers of this genre to be surprised. For all the confusion, I was hoping that there would be more to unveil. BUT alas, it was not to be.

What didn’t help was that as Del Toro took the centre stage, it was at the expense of Blunt’s character who was pushed into the background. She was far too passive and really didn’t know what was going. It was disappointing that someone we had followed for two hours wasn’t really in the final moments.

If not for a tense stand off with Del Toro, her character would have gone out with a whimper. Which sums up my impression of the film.

At its best, tense, nail-biting and suspenseful. At its worst, patchy, overlong and dull. From the director of Prisoners? Thriller of the year? I expected so much more.

3/5