Film Review: Little Italy

Donald Petrie’s Little Italy does not quite fall into the “so bad it’s good” category. Which is a shame, as the film has little going for it. 

Nikki and Leo are best friends; their parents run a pizza restaurant together. As adults, their families are rivals. When Nikki comes back to town, feelings materialise between the pair…

Little Italy is a romantic comedy about two childhood friends who reunite as adults and see sparks fly. The film opens on the idyllic childhood of Nicki and Leo, with both main characters providing narration. As the course of true love can naturally never run smooth, the love story is complicated by the falling out of their families, and Nicki’s job offer in London. 

Little Italy fails due to its reliance on tired stereotypes. Broadly speaking, the Italian-North American (the film is set in Canada) tropes are tired, yet film wants to rehash as many as possible. Writers Steve Galluchio and Vinay Virmani include almost every stereotype possible. This is done, it appears, without any circumspection; the film comes across as sincere with its insincere depictions. It is not just the Italian-heritage characters who fall victim to this, with archetypal Indian supporting characters.

The protagonists are given a little more development. Nevertheless, it would be remiss to say that they are compelling characters. Little Italy follows the well-tread path of the city girl returning to her small hometown and reuniting with the small town boy (so far, so Sweet Home Alabama). Nikki’s trajectory feels unsatisfactory for a contemporary-set film. Several of Little Italy’s issues could be forgiven if the central love story was enchanting. Unfortunately there is little chemistry between Hayden Christensen’s Leo and Emma Roberts’ Nikki. It is neither actor’s finest hour.

Little Italy feels hopelessly outdated. Although the film is not a boring watch, it is not recommended viewing either.

Little Italy is available to watch on UK digital download platforms from Monday 11th March 2019.

Previews: Pete’s Dragon Trailer, The Accountant and More!

Lots to see in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the new Pete’s Dragon trailer, The Accountant, Wonder Woman and more…

Pete’s Dragon Trailer

Here is the new Pete’s Dragon trailer. The film is a live-action remake of the animated classic. Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, and Wes Bentley are joined by Oakes Fegley as the title character. Pete’s Dragon will be released in UK cinemas on 12th August 2016.

The Accountant Trailer

Here is the latest trailer for The Accountant. The film stars Ben Affleck as a maths savant who works on the books for criminal organisations. Also starring Anna Kendrick and J.K. Simmons, The Accountant is out in the UK on 4th November 2016.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Featurette

Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson and others discuss the upcoming Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Directed by Tim Burton, Jane Goldman wrote the screenplay, based on the novel by Ransom Riggs. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children hits UK screens on 30th September 2016.

Office Christmas Party Trailer

Office Christmas Party is a new comedy from Josh Gordon and Will Speck, the directors of The Switch and Blades of Glory. The film is about staff who host an epic Christmas party to impress a potential client. With an ensemble cast that includes  Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, and Courtney B. Vance, Office Christmas Party makes its way onto UK screens on 9th December 2016.

Ben-Hur Trailer

Here is the second trailer for Ben-Hur. The film is an adaptation of the 1880 Christian novel, like the three film versions that have come before. This version stars Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, and Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur hits UK screens on 7th September 2016.

T2 Teaser Trailer

This feels like it has come from nowhere. A belated sequel to Trainspotting, T2 reunites director Danny Boyle with the original cast, including Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller. T2 is set for release on 27th January 2016.

Blair Witch Trailer

Another unexpected sequel to a 1990s film. Horror movie The Woods was revealed to be Blair Witch, a sequel to The Blair Witch Project. Blair Witch is directed by Adam Winged, who has had recent successes with You’re Next and The Guest. Blair Witch hits UK screens on 16th September 2016.

Nerve Clip

Nerve seems to the correct name for this film, is the above clip is anything to go by. The film is directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, who rose to fame through their film Catfish. Starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, Nerve is out in UK cinemas on 11th August 2016.

Kong: Skull Island Poster

Kong: Skull Island Poster

Kong: Skull Island is a reimagining of the cinema stalwart King Kong. The film has a more contemporary setting than the last version of the monster movie. Kong: Skull Island stars Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and John Goodman. The film is set for release in 2017.

Wonder Woman Trailer

The film many comic book fans have been waiting decades for is almost here. After her appearance in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman finally gets her own film. Gal Gadot is joined by Chris Pine, Connie Nielson, and Robin Wright. Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman will hit cinemas 2nd June 2017.

The LEGO Batman Movie Trailer

After the character was such a big hit in The LEGO Movie, it is no surprise that Batman gets his own film. The LEGO Batman Movie looks like it will be as amusing as its predecessor, if the trailer is anything to go by. With the voices of Will Arnett, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Cera and Rosario Dawson, The LEGO Batman Movie launches on to UK screens in February 2017.

Suicide Squad Video

This Suicide Squad video concentrates on Harley Quinn from the upcoming movie. The film features a roster of villains who are tasked with completing a mission for a US agent. Starring Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto, and Viola Davis, Suicide Squad hits UK cinemas on 5th August 2016.

Stuff To Look At

Posters galore this week! Disney’s animated short Get a Horse gets a screening, a trailer for Meet The Millers, a clip from The Heat and more…

Get a Horse

©Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Mickey Mouse is back! Well, kind of. On Tuesday 11th June 2013 Disney unveil the never-before seen animated short Get a Horse. The hand-drawn short features Mickey Mouse and the voice of Walt Disney. It is being screened at Annecy Animation Festival in France, no word yet on if Get a Horse will become available widely.

The Heat

Sandra Bullock’s character has some uncomfortable questions to answer in this clip from upcoming buddy cop movie The Heat. Also starring Melissa McCarthy, the film is director Paul Feig’s follow up to Bridesmaids. The Heat is released in UK cinemas on 31st July 2013.



Here is the latest poster for Planes, the upcoming animated feature from Disney. The trailer for the film can be viewed here. Planes is being advertised as from ‘above the world of Cars‘, and the parallels between the films are clear. Planes hits UK cinemas on 16th August 2013.

We’re The Millers

We’re The Millers reunites Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston in a new comedy. Jennifer Aniston is certainly ageing well. We’re The Millers, which also stars Emma Roberts and Will Poulter, is released in the UK on 23rd August 2013.

The World’s End

The World's End Poster

Here is one of the newly-released character poster for The World’s End. The film reunites director Edgar Wright with stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The film also stars Martin Freeman and Rosamund Pike. The World’s End hits UK screens on 19th July 2013.

Film Review: Scream 4

Another month, another belated sequel to a popular franchise. Thankfully Scream 4 is one of the better of these types of film; it works well as a sequel as well as a stand-alone movie.

Ten years after the Woodsboro massacre, Sidney Prescott returns to the small town to promote her book. Her arrival coincides with the murders of two high school students, not unlike the ones that had taken place previously and replicated in the Stab movies. It seems the killer is back, and after Sidney and her friends once again…

Scream 4 is an enjoyable episode in the horror series. Fans of the franchise should be pleased with this most recent installment. There is a period midway through the film when momentum starts to wane, but the film recovers before too long. The film certainly works more so than Scream 3. Although there are ridiculous incidents in this movie, it flows better than its predecessor.

Scream and its successors were never the scariest of horror films. Scream 4 follows suit; there are a few jumpy moments, but the film could never be classified as terrifying. Instead, the film relies on humour and mystery to maintain audience interest. Given that it is the fourth film in the series, it is not made clear which of the original cast members will survive, if any. Furthermore, the identity of Ghostface remains a mystery, with director Wes Craven offering a number of likely suspects.

Scream 4 works so well because it never forgets that it is a belated sequel. Like the other films in the series, it plays with horror conventions, never missing an opportunity to reference them. Writer Kevin Williamson litters the film with mentions of genre films, updating to make light of the plethora of horror remakes that have been produced in the intervening period between the last Scream movie. The opening sequence is exemplary, depicting just how self-reflexive the series has become. Characters in the film discuss how meta events are; taking the joke to the nth degree.

Performances are good all round, with Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette reprising their familiar roles. Emma Roberts is convincing as Jill, but Hayden Panettiere is less believable as best friend Kirby. Rory Culkin is well cast in the Randy-esque role of Charlie.

Although the deaths are not particularly imaginative, the humour and self-reference sufficiently entertain. Scream 4 is a well-constructed and enjoyable movie, given that it is the fourth in a series.

Film Review: It’s a Funny Kind of Story

It’s a Funny Kind of Story adds sprinklings of comedy to what is a very serious subject matter. Although the film is upbeat in tone, the message it sends is a little troubling.

Depressed and contemplating suicide, teenager Craig checks himself into a psychiatric ward. During his short stay at hospital, Craig meets an array of adults and teens that have a profound effect on his way of thinking…

It’s a Funny Kind of Story strikes a balance between drama and comedy that works most of the time. The humour is slight, but effective in breaking the tension of the more serious scenes that precede and follow. The film features a number of flashbacks and imaginary sequences, most of which work well. The scenes that feature Craig’s family illustrate the roots of his neurosis, although there are no real negative portrayals in the film.

It’s a Funny Kind of Story conveys a rather disconcerting message, with regards to mental illness. Craig’s problems are very relatable; he is a teenage boys who suffers with anxiety over girls and stresses about his future. During his stay in hospital, he realises how lucky he is to have the support of his family and friends. Whilst his appreciation for the many positives in his life is commendable, this quick fix depiction is troubling. Depression is an illness, and as such is unlikely to be cured that quickly and easily. Craig is depressed to the point of wanting to commit suicide, but after making a few friends and finding a love interest he appears happy and content.

On the one hand, this suggests that a serious condition can be simply rectified by making some new friends and finding a girlfriend. On the other hand, if Craig’s malaise is less serious, It’s a Funny Kind of Story indulges teen angst by positioning it among very serious mental illnesses. Furthermore, the film offers a rather skewered vision of mental health. Although It’s a Funny Kind of Story presents people with an array of issues, most of the characters seemed to be helped by Craig during his brief stay. Craig appears to have a healing power for those who have suffered with serious issues for years, a power that surpasses that of the medical professionals. It’s a Funny Kind of Story attempts to reduce the stigma of depression, but generates some disconcerting issues as a result.

Keir Gilchrist is convincing as Craig, effecting relaying the character’s strengths and weaknesses. Zach Galifianakis offers a strong performance as Bobby, a deeper and more serious character than the oddballs he is associated with. Emma Roberts is bright as Noelle, making the best of a rather one-dimensional role.

It’s a Funny Kind of Story is an interesting watch. However, the surface feel-good atmosphere is negating by some troubling representations of serious issues.

Film Review:

Writer and Co-Director Noel Clarke delivers up another teen drama with a gritty urban backdrop. takes the some of the action transatlantic, however, and posits four female protagonists at the centre of the narrative. tells the story of each of the four friends, after a chance encounter with a group of diamond thieves.  Taking place over an eventful three days, each of the girls find themselves in unusual circumstances…

Noel Clarke probably sees his film as offering a positive depiction of four strong female characters. Whilst this is in part true, it is largely undermined by the voyeuristic views offered of these young ladies. So on the one hand they are portrayed as heroines of female empowerment, but on the other, they are attractive young females so they are shown parading around in skimpy underwear. Girl Power then, but only to a certain extent.

Barely any of the numerous side characters in this ensemble cast are depicted in a positive light. The message seems to be trust only your friends; a pessimistic but perhaps understandable proclamation in this day and age.

The varied cast comprises of British unknowns, more familiar faces from British television, and a handful of American stars; Emma Roberts, Eve and Kevin Smith, for example. Overall, the cast performs well, accurately conveying the authenticity of Clarke’s London-derived dialogue.

Location is a pretty important element of the film, and the production design and cinematography work well to offer gritty imagery of working-class London, a world away from the glitzy Times Square that is visited.

Clarke has done a good job in mixing the danger and energy of a crime caper with the angst of a teen drama. Whilst is entertaining, it falls short in its contradictory depictions of the female leads.