In Bruges (Netflix Review)

18 – 106mins – 2008


 

NOOKS AND CRANNIES

“How can a fucking fairy-tale NOT be someone’s cup of tea?!”

Rejoice, CR@B fans, for I am back! Did you miss me?

What do you mean you didn’t even know I had gone?! Well, as my none-too-subtle choice of film illuminates, I have just got back from a glorious mini-break in the medieval, alcove-ridden Belgium market town of Bruges (or Brugge to the locals). Of course I ate my body weight at the numerous chocolatiers and drank the local brewery dry, but I also climbed the 300+ steps to the apex of the clock tower, which features prominently in writer/director Martin McDonagh’s blackly-comic BAFTA-winning crime drama, which recently made its Netflix debut (what timing!).

… Keep Scuttling!

Blood Father (DVD Review)

15 – 85mins – 2016


 

RIGGS AND MORTAR

The adulation and admiration accumulated by Hacksaw Ridge both upon its theatrical release and during awards season cemented Mel Gibson’s credentials as a bona fide director de force – in spite of a ten-year gap since Apocalytpo. But however brave and bold he feels in pushing his creative boundaries behind the camera, I can’t help but feel like “Mad Mel” is playing it safe in front of the lens…

… Keep Scuttling!

Gold (DVD Review)

15 – 84mins – 2014


 

BACK ON TRACK

Not the recent Matthew McConaughey Oscar-bait about prospecting for the precious metal in Indonesia, this is a smaller, earlier, quainter Irish production about the perils of living up to elevated expectations, and the chaos of family life.

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The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (DVD Review)

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15 – 99mins – 2013


 

BY SHIA WILL

Hollywood golden boy Shia Transformers LaBeouf edged his way out of mainstream blockbusters and towards more edgy, indie fare with this trippy and über-violent coming of age romantic drama from debuting director Fredrik Bond, enticing a number of well-known faces along for the Euro joyride.

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Shinjuku Triad Society (Blu-ray Review)

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18 – 102mins – 1995


 

PEARLS BEFORE SWINE

Perhaps now best known for the gruesome 1999 torture porn paragon Audition or 2001’s iconic crime thriller Ichi the Killer, before his Western exposure and box office success, Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike was highly prolific in Japan’s straight-to-video “V-cinema” market. 1995’s Shinjuku kuroshakai: Chaina mafia sensô (to give it its homegrown title) marked a major stepping stone in the outlandish director’s career: his first release for a major studio and his first release to receive a theatrical run.

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Office Christmas Party (Cinema Review)

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15 – 105mins – 2016


 

PARTY LIKE IT’S 19:00

The night before last I donned my free Coca Cola Santa hat and got into the Christmas spirit for a Cineworld Unlimited Preview Screening of a raucous new ensemble comedy from the directorial duo behind Blades of Glory and The Switch, Will Speck and Josh Gordon. Not officially released in the UK until today (December 7th), Office Christmas Party certainly puts the “high” in Ding, Dong Merrily…

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Miles Ahead (DVD Review)

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15 – 96mins – 2016


THE JUNKIE AND THE FLUNKIE

“Man, what a waste! He’s probably more profitable to us dead than alive now.”

Set in Manhattan in the late 1970s during the King of Cool’s wilderness years, Don Cheadle – the man many in this Marvel-dominated cine-scape will know predominantly as “War Machine” – excels himself as co-screenwriter, director and lead actor in this surprisingly unsycophantic passion project which drops the iconic and isolated “social music” pioneer into an impromptu  gangster flick of sorts.

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Magic Mike (DVD Review)

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15 – 110mins – 2012


 

WELCOME TO THE CRAZY CLUB

“You don’t need to talk, just look pretty.”

It has taken four years, but I have finally relented and taken a peek at the Channing Tatum pec show (AKA. Magic Mike). Loosely based on the star’s eyebrow-raising pre-Hollywood experiences, with its flashy, shimmering DVD cover almost blinding me with glittery glamour, I can’t help but feel like director Steven Soderbergh’s often dark and depressing glimpse behind the curtain of Tampa’s male strip scene has been as mis-sold as the bawdy industry it portrays.

… Keep Scuttling!

Kill Your Friends (DVD Review)

Image result for kill your friends film18 – 99mins – 2015


 

THE DEATH OF THE RECORD INDUSTRY

“Loaded dice and poisoned chalice all over the fucking shop.”

Taking the alias of his furry X-Men character to heart, Nicholas Hoult is chillingly bestial as ambitious A&R man Steven Stelfox in this dark-as-night hyperbolic evisceration of the greed, hedonism and backstabbing which fuelled the profit-over-sincerity mentality of the Britpop-barmy 90s music business.

“None of us have a fucking clue what we’re doing!”

Spouting satirical, fourth wall-breaking soliloquys to the screen, steely-eyed talent scout Stelfox spends the majority of the film “off his tits” on all manner of substances, disconnected from the callous circus which circles and consumes him. He’s a monstrous figure, but screenwriter John Niven – working from his own novel – does an admirable job of making this “smart, ambitious… lost” soul into an investible anti-hero, even if he’s not likeable enough to be charming. He is a murderer, after all.

“A sense of unravelling…”

As Stelfox’s clumsy control on his perilous situation spirals into a black hole of grave dancing, blackmail, framing and extortion, Kill Your Friends perhaps dips the satire to such distasteful and disbelieving depths that its hard to even classify this as a black comedy, but its a ballsy and compromisingly “haaaardcore” warning to those who would do anything to live the dream. And I’m pretty sure I know what its middle finger-brandishing reaction to anyone who found it ghastly and amoral would be: “Get fucked!”

CR@B’s Claw Score: 4 stars

The Night Before (DVD Review)

15 – 97mins – 2015


DICK THE HALLS

For people of a certain age and particular mentality, this is a fun and easily accessible conglomo-homage to all the classic Christmas movies they watched growing up (Home Alone, Die Hard, Santa Claus: The Movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Grinch), fused with some trademark Seth Rogan stoner humour and life-affirming epiphanies. For everyone else, this is a series of crude and lazy riffs on more popular films which are used as a crutch to support some frankly immature and indecent japes, with the whole sorry affair tied up in an overly-sentimental bow.

From the guys who brought you Pineapple Express comes yet another excuse for Seth Rogan to get his bezzie mates in a film, with The Walk‘s Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie completing a trio of lifelong friends who meet up every Christmas Eve to totally lose their shit to drink and debauchery in an effort to help JGL’s Ethan get over the painful time of year when he lost his parents 15 years earlier.

Realising that work commitments, family responsibility and adulthood are looming and pulling them all in different directions, the ladz decide to hang up their annual festive tradition with one final motherfunkin’ blow-out at the Holy Grail of Christmas parties – the elusive, invite-only Nutcracka Ball. I suppose an alternative title could have been This Is The End of Christmas Tradition.

Bewilderingly, Isaac (Rogen) is gifted a Pandora’s box of drugs by his astoundingly understanding pregnant wife (Jillian Bell), while newly famous football star Chris (Mackie) is desperate to avoid his smothering mother (Lorraine Toussaint) and score some weed to impress his domineering jack-ass of a team captain (Aaron Hill). Commitment-phobic Ethan, however, is just looking for a chance to forget what a mess his life is in and hang out with his childhood buds – until he bumps into his ex (Lizzy Caplan), and realises he may have made a big mistake in letting her go…

With swapped mobiles, stolen stashes, chance encounters and an enigmatic drug dealer (Michael Shannon) busying their road to the Ball, the bromance suffers some kicks to the nether-regions before the pals get wise and comfortable with growing up and settling down. It’s a sweet and timeless message to end on, provided you can endure a crowbarred Miley Cyrus sing-along (akin to her stint in A Very Murray Christmas) and James Franco dick pics (yes, you read that right) en route.

CR@B Verdict: 2 stars