Toni Erdmann (Cinema Review)

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15 – 165mins – 2016


 

IT FOLLOWS

As endlessly quotable and perfectly formed as I find it, my mother has always had an issue with Napoleon Dynamite; she cannot laugh at the escapades of Jon Heder’s socially awkward moonboot-wearing amateur doodler because she finds his backward nature and ostracisation too sad. If anything, German director Maren Ade’s Best Foreign Language Oscar nominee, Toni Erdmann, walks the delicate between comedy and tragedy even more than Jared Hess’ 2004 cult breakout.

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La La Land (Cinema Review)

12A – 128mins – 2017


 

TAPPED OUT

Expectation can be a cruel bastard. My girlfriend and I – both fans of musicals having recently seen both Thriller Live on tour and Matilda in the West End – had been greatly anticipating the opportunity to finally see the box office behemoth and awards-contender that is La La Land. Everyone has already seen it, and it seems, loved it. Alas, my car broke down on the way to the cinema some weeks ago, meaning our thirst had to wait to be sated until last weekend.

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The Shallows (DVD Review)

15 – 83mins – 2016


 

OH BUOY!

In the sub-genre of shark movies, Steven Spielberg set the bar impossibly high in 1978. So high that each successive Jaws sequel was weaker and more ludicrous than the last – and I would know having recently started a franchise re-watch with last year’s blu-ray release (see my reviews of Jaws 2 and Jaws 3-D. The Revenge coming soon). Sure, in the decades since many have tried to match the terrifying highs of the paragon; Deep Blue Sea was dispensable fun, Open Water had naturalistic flair, Sharknado threw out the rulebook, but every time a new pretender to the throne steps up to the shore, your mind instantly compares it to Jaws.

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The LEGO Batman Movie (Cinema Review)

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U – 104mins – 2017 – 3D


 

BUILDING UP THE BRAND

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller constructed franchise brick-starting gold in 2014 with the riotously hilarious Lego Movie, ably balancing razor-sharp humour, resonating heart, zippy action and a rainbow colour palette to make one of the funniest and most heat-warming cinema experiences I have had in a long time.

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Inside No. 9, 3.2 – “The Bill” (TV Review)

Inside No. 9. Image shows from L to R: Craig (Philip Glenister), Archie (Reece Shearsmith), Anya (Ellie White), Malcolm (Steve Pemberton), Kevin (Jason Watkins). Copyright: BBC.

BBC Two – 22nd February 2017 – 10pm

Created and written by: Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith

Directed by: Guillem Morales


 

DIDDLING THE DIDLUM

It doesn’t feel like five minutes since I was sitting in the glow of the fairy lights, sipping on eggnog while watching festive special “The Devil of Christmas,” a Krampus-flavoured twist on rose-tinted TV nostalgia and dodgy DVD commentaries. It was a story I admired in concept more than I enjoyed its execution. Skip forward almost two months and Psychoville alumni Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith are back with a further five episodes of their hit comedy-horror anthology series set inside widely disparate locations with just the door number in common.

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The Great Wall (Cinema Review)

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12A – 103mins – 2017 – 3D


 

FIGHT OR FLIGHT?

Aside from the location (China), time period (medieval) and headline actor (Matt Damon) – all discernible from the poster – I went into this mega-budgeted adventure from House of the Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou blind, unsure whether to expect a dour drama akin to The Last Samurai or an action-packed choreography-fest like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. What I categorically was not expecting was The Mummy Returns… again!

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Thriller Live (Live Review)

Norwich Theatre Royal – 13th-18th January 2017 – £8-£32.50

Directed and choreographed by: Gary Lloyd

Executive director: Adrian Grant

Official Show websiteTour Tickets


BOOGIE WONDERLAND

Recently recognised as the 17th longest running production in West End history, in the eight years it has been thrilling audiences I have seen Gary Lloyd’s spectacular tribute to the King of Pop on three separate occasions. Each time it has been on tour from its established base at London’s Lyric Theatre, and each time it has improved significantly, growing more confident, more ebullient, more honed.

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The Colony (DVD Review)

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15 – 110mins – 2015


 

INSIDE OUT

“Law and order will be reintroduced in Chile.”

When German photographer and grassroots revolutionary Daniel (Daniel Captain America: Civil War Brühl) is abducted by General Pinochet’s secret police during a military coup in Southern Chile, his air stewardess girlfriend, Lena (Emma Regression Watson), courageously joins a cult masquerading as a charity organisation in order to infiltrate the sealed-off complex and break him out. But will Colonia Dignidad’s shady leader and “lay preacher” Paul Shäfer (Michael The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Nyqvist) allow them to leave his sadistic “Heaven on Earth”?

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Fifty Shades Darker (Cinema Review)

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18 – 118mins – 2017


 

GREY’S ANATOMY

It slaps (ahem) of irony that the author of the world’s biggest-selling trilogy of BDSM-flavoured ‘mummy porn’ was so dominant in protecting her property that both the writer and the director of 2015’s record-breaking first big screen adaptation tore up their contracts and walked away from the filthy franchise, calling for new submissives to be brought into the notorious Red Room ahead of this middle instalment.

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The Disappointments Room (Film Review)

Image result for the disappointments room15 – 86mins – 2016


THE HORRORS OF NOBILITY

In 2013 Prison Break star Wentworth Miller established himself as a talent behind the camera as well as in front of it when he penned acclaimed cult indie drama Stoker. A year later he co-scribed this promisingly premised supernatural horror with xXx: Return of Xander Cage director D.J. Caruso.

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