The Party (DVD Review)

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15 – 68mins – 2017


 

REVELATORY REVELLERS

At a dinner party for a few close friends to commemorate Janet’s (Kristin Scott Thomas) political victory and ministerial appointment, her husband Bill (Timothy Finding Your Feet Spall) derails the celebrations with a pair of explosive revelations which have catastrophic ramifications for the majority of those present. Will everyone make it out of The Party alive…?

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INSIDE NO. 9, 4.1 – “Zanzibar” (TV Review)

BBC Two – 10pm – Tuesday 2nd January 2018

Created and written by: Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith

Directed by: David Kerr


 

TRAFFIC LIGHT FIASCO

After arguably kicking off 2017’s festive television in the run-up to Christmas with a trio of celebratory “Anniversary Specials” marking 20 years of their surreal BBC breakthrough hit The League of Gentleman, two of the League return to bookend the yuletide schedules with the first episode in the fourth series of their wickedly macabre anthology series. All it would have taken was for Mark Gatiss’ Sherlock to have a New Year’s adventure as in years gone by, and it would have been nothing short of an outright TV takeover!!

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Cinema Review)

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15 – 92mins – 1987


 

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAY

As part of a season celebrating the beloved films of John Hughes, last month Cinema City in Norwich screened this classic seasonal comedy – now 30 years old – from the iconic, late American filmmaker. While many make this Thanksgiving-set heart-warmer an annual tradition, this was only my second-ever viewing, and to see it on the big screen with a room of fans who laughed along uproariously to every gag like they were seeing it anew really enchanted me. My second viewing will NOT be my last.

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ZAPPED, 2.5 – “Showtime” (TV Review)

Zapped. Image shows from L to R: Sextus (Tim Key), Helena (Roxy Sternberg).Dave – 9:40pm – Thursday 9th November 2017

Available to stream NOW on UKTV Play

Created and written by: Dan Gaster, Will Ing and Paul Powell

Directed by: Dave Lambert


 

THE THROCK’S THE THING

“Welcome to the most important job in showbusiness!”

A single f-bomb earns Zapped its first ‘15’ rating with what is – in my humble opinion – the krunting best of its eight aired to date. Alan Partridge’s Mid-Morning Matters co-host, Tim Key, guest stars as the lead actor of travelling group The Brevit Players, who Brian (James Buckley) joins as the sandwich-board carrier and general dogsbody, hoping to follow the theatrical troupe all the way to the City of a Thousand Towers – and his ticket home.

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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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Peter Pan Goes Wrong (TV Review)

RED DWARF XI.3 “Give and Take” (TV Review)

Dave – 6th October 2016 – 9pm
Created by: Rob Grant and Doug Naylor
Written and directed by: Doug Naylor


 

LIFE IS BUT A SCREAM

Lister (Craig Charles) will claim it’s curry, while based on this week’s evidence, Cat (Danny John-Jules) will argue strongly in favour of sea salt, but ultimately it seems like variety is the spice of life aboard the Dwarf this series. We are now three episodes in to XI – half way – and we’ve already been treated to a romp to an alternative Earth in the style of series VI (“Twentica”) and a more sombre investigative mystery which harkened back to III’s classic two-hander, “Marooned” (“Samsara”).

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Breaking the Bank (DVD Review)

12 – 101mins – 2014


 

PLUMMETING PORTFOLIO

Forever known for playing erudite talk show shrink Dr. Frasier Crane over the course of twenty years and two hugely popular US sitcoms, Kelsey Grammer crosses the Atlantic to surround himself with a smattering of UK sitcom stars as brainless, out-of-touch banking titan Charles Bunbury in this straight-to-DVD fiscal farce from director Vadim Jean, best known for his three glossy Terry Pratchett adaptations for Sky1.

“Run a bank? You couldn’t run a bath!”

Affecting a snooty, upper class disdain and throwing in phrases like “chap” and “old bean” is not enough to convince me that Bunbury is a Brit. Likewise, growing a beard, trading loafers for dirty trainers and looking a bit glum is not enough to convince me that Bunbury is suicidal, following his naïve trust in shady shark Matthew Gavin & Stacey Horne’s bogus insider trading tips.

The problem resides in the bubbly, carefree tone, which never confers enough gravitas on “Charlie Chuckaway’s” life-destroying dilemma; from Pitch Perfect’s John Michael Higgins’ smarmy “yank” takeover tease to Tamsin Episodes Greig’s frustrated-but-floundering wife, there’s not a cent of integrity in any of the cavalier, OTT performances – and ultimately, this makes Breaking the Bank subprime stock which is impossible to invest in.

CR@B’s Claw Score: 2 stars

Ride Along 2 (DVD Review)

12 – 97mins – 2016


 

BROTHERS-IN-LAW

“Do you ever listen to the shit that flies out of your mouth?”

Exceeding expectations in much the same manner as its lead character did, 2014’s buddy cop comedy Ride Along was so popular a sequel was inevitable. But how could they continue to bring the bantz now that straight shootin’ “expert on bullshit” Detective James Payton (Ice Cube) has mellowed to his irritating tag-along sidekick Ben Barber’s (Kevin Hart) verbal diarrhea and wised up to his worth?

The answer is to reset this fast-tracked sequel back to the status quo, with James relegating recently-graduated police rookie Ben’s assistance at the climax of the first film to “beginner’s luck.” With Ben’s marriage to James’ sister, Ang (Tika Sumpter), less than a week away, James is still determined to humiliate and undermine the videogame fan who calls himself “Black Hammer,” believing if he allows the try-hard trouble-magnet to accompany him on a case that takes them from Atlanta to Miami, Ben’s dream of becoming a detective will be dashed.

“Why does nobody want to show me respect?!”

From thereon in it’s business as usual in this repeat-quel which does little to upset the prizewinning applecart in bringing more shoot outs, car chases, stakeouts and party-crashing courtesy of the “blentlemen” with the badges, who are accompanied by Miami PD’s thin-lipped Maya Cruz (Olivia Munn) and self-proclaimed “cyber dark-arts God” A.J. (Community goofball Ken Jeong yet again playing to type) in bringing down a villainous drug ring lead by Benjamin Bratt’s cookie-cutter crime lord.

Like a hyperactive cross between The Hangover and Hot Fuzz, Ride Along 2 really shouldn’t work as well as it does. Aside from a freeway car chase reimagined as a pixelated, GTA-style videogame (the farce and the furious!), this is nothing we haven’t seen a thousand times before, and yet I still found myself enjoying the Ride.

Ice Cube’s seasoned peer isn’t as hard-nosed as you’re meant to believe, while grounded motor-mouth Ben really shouldn’t be given as many chances at redemption as he is granted, but watch with beer and mates and Ride Along 2’s lazy plot rehash, clichéd genre tropes, irritating characterisation and minor flaws really do pale in comparison to the laughs it shoots out like a never-ending round of target-homing bullets.

CR@B Verdict: 3 stars