The 9th Life of Louis Drax (DVD Review)

15 – 108mins – 2016


 

LOUIS IN BLUNDERLAND

Typically associated with the horror genre having created such prominent hits as Switchblade Romance, The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha remakes, Mirrors and Horns over the past 14 years, French director Alexandre Aja – still only 38 years old! – branched out from his comfort zone with this surreal adaptation of Liz Jensen’s bizarre 2005 psychological mystery novel.

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Eye In The Sky (DVD Review)

Image result for eye in the sky film

15 – 98mins – 2016


 

THE KILL CHAIN

“All done from the safety of your chair.”

London, Kenya, Hawaii, Singapore… usually when you think of globe-hopping movies, you generally think of large scale, highly-kinetic adventures with many a diverse vista and exotic landscape. Despite being spread across four continents, Eye in the Sky is perhaps the most static think-piece thriller I have seen for many a year – with the starry cast largely sat in one room apiece, with all eyes on one key safe house on a dusty Nairobi street.

… Keep Scuttling!

Central Intelligence (Cinema Review)

15 – 108mins – 2016


 

BETWEEN THE ROCK AND A HART PLACE

Utilizing some truly impressive Captain America-esque CG de-aging, we witness tubby brace-face Robbie Wheirdicht (Dwayne Johnson) hauled out of the showers and humiliated at a pep rally in front of his entire high school. Popular all-round cool kid Calvin Joyner (Kevin Get Hard Hart) is the only one to comfort the naked nerd.

Fast forward two decades, and having long since plunged from his peak of marrying his high school sweetheart (Danielle Nicolet), the man formerly known as the “Golden Jet” is now a bored middle-manager accountant reluctant to attend his school reunion. Accepting a friend request from an unrecognised name, Calvin is totally unaware of what he is letting himself in for…

Having worked out for six hours a day, every day (“Anyone can do it!”) and changed his name, Robbie Wheirdicht has reinvented himself as tattooed man mountain “Bob Stone”. He may still like fanny packs, unicorns and Twilight, but Bob absolutely abhors bullies – oh, and he’s a top CIA agent.

Hart sticks to his successful Ride Along mould of screechy, irritating everyman sidekick, this time dragged along on a top secret undercover spy mission by the amiable-but-deadly peck-flexer who requires his former classmate’s accountancy skills in unlocking satellite codes being sold in a bidding war on the black market.

Directed by We’re The Miller’s Rawson Marshall Thurber, Central Intelligence really sparks to life when the mismatched flip-reversed duo are sharing memories and trading bantz, but the double-crossing, espionage malarkey involving rogue agent the “Black Badger” is so perplexingly conveyed that half the time you’re never sure who to plump for as bullets fly and Amy Ryan’s Agent Harris tries to lure Calvin away from under Bob’s wing.

A tortuous interrogation scene between two purported good guys is particularly tonally awry – a major crux to any comedy is when questions over the moral validity of the joker overwhelms the power of the punchlines. Crucial targets are then missed.

Central IntelligenceA trio of “I never knew they were in this!” big name cameos (who I won’t name here) bring some light relief to the deluge of fisticuffs and shoot-outs, but for all its big, flashy, fast-mouthed fun, much like Calvin Joyner, Central Intelligence never quite lives up to early promise of its full potential.

CR@B’s Claw Score: 3 stars

A Long Way Down (DVD Review)

15 – 96mins – 2014


 

SUICIDE SQUAD 

About a Boy, Fever Pitch, High Fidelity… Usually guaranteed fail-safes at the box office, this recent adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel received far less praise and attention than we have come to expect from his usually high-profile works. This was particularly surprising given the calibre of its cast, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad or unworthy film, just one sadly lacking in courage.

Following the growing bond between four strangers (Pierce Brosnan, Toni Colette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul) who meet while attempting to throw themselves from a London rooftop on New Years Eve, this is billed as a dark comedy due to its sombre themes, however the film far too often takes an almost comfortable and amiable tone, at the expense of greater emotional gravitas.

A Long Way Down [DVD] [2014]Imogen Poots as cute and quirky Jess is an endearing stand-out, and if she had been the sole bringer of some off-kilter chuckles then the film would have been better balanced between observations on depression and irrationality, but it often feels like French director Pascal Chaumeil (in his first major English language gig) all too often plays it safe and doesn’t take these tragic people’s stories seriously enough – and who wants to go and see a lifeless comedy?

CR@B Verdict: 2 stars