Ready Player One (Cinema Review)

12A – 140mins – 2018 – 3D


 

V.R. TROOPERS

Cineworld were in full alert last night with bouncers at the doors of their latest Unlimited Preview Screening to physically watch you switch off your mobile phones before you entered for an exclusive viewing of young adult sci-fi action adventure adaptation Ready Player One. This didn’t, however, stop the projectionists from messing up and starting the film too early, so we got to watch the opening five minutes twice in the space of a quarter of an hour.

… Keep Scuttling!

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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.

… Keep Scuttling!

The Babysitter (Netflix Review)

15 – 85mins – 2017


 

ORGY OF BLOOD

Cole Johnson (Judah Lewis) is bullied for being the only 12-year-old in class to still have a babysitter. But when your babysitter is as smokin’ hot and too cool for school as Bee (Samara Weaving), it can’t be all bad – right?! Under strict instructions from his vacationing parents (Leslie Bibb and Ken Marino) to be in bed by 10:30pm, Cole is persuaded by best friend Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind) to fake sleep in order to see what Bee really gets up to when her pubescent change goes to dreamland…

… Keep Scuttling!

Mindhorn (Cinema Review)

15 – 89mins – 2017


 

YOU CAN’T HANDCUFF THE WIND

“It’s truth time!”

In the late 80s, Richard Thorncroft (Julian Aaaaaaaah! Barratt) had the world at his brogue-wearing feet. As the star of crime-fighting action/adventure series Mindhorn, he had money, fame and the show’s hottest “totty,” Patricia Deville (Essie Davis), on his arm. But a quarter of a century on the actor has fallen on hard times. While his co-star, Peter Eastman (Steve Alan Partridge Coogan) has flourished in his own hit spin-off, Mindhorn is little more than a nostalgic memory, with a balding, out-of-shape Thorncroft reduced to embarrassing himself in scarce auditions and hocking cheap tat in adverts. Hollywood never called.

… Keep Scuttling!

The Monster (Film Review)

15 – 91mins – 2016


 

BEASTLY BEHAVIOUR

“Mom tells me there is no such thing as monsters. She is wrong.”

Angling as often for heartache as it is for horror, it is not hard to see why writer/director Bryan Bertino’s supernatural indie genre flick is also categorized as a drama. There is an eponymous otherworldly beastie (which looks like a cross between an Alien Xenomorph and Gozer from Ghostbusters), but the title could just as easily be a metaphorical judgement of the diabolical parenting Zoe Kazan’s alcoholic single-mother Kathy provides for her mature-beyond-her-years daughter.

… Keep Scuttling!

The Void (Blu-ray Review)

Image result for the void film

18 – 90mins – 2016


 

SYMBOLS & TENTACLES

Predominantly set in a soon-to-be-abandoned hospital, this Canadian love letter to old-school, low-budget, 80s horror packs a bucket-load of (high) concepts, masterful physical effects and thematic homages into its ostensibly limited set-up, courtesy of some creatively unhinged plot developments.

… Keep Scuttling!

Creepshow 2 (Blu-ray Review)

18 – 89mins – 1987


 

CREEPY COMIC CONCOCTIONS

Half a decade after their first Tales of the Crypt-esque horror anthology hit number 1 at the US box office, genre legends – and good friends – George A. Romero and Stephen King collaborated once again for this second gleefully ghoulish morbid masterpiece, directed by promoted cinematographer Michael Gornick. Make-up supremo Tom Savini again returns as the sinister giggling Creep, finely animated in a vintage hand-drawn wraparound story.

Sadly, whereas 1982’s Creepshow showcased five comic strip-homaging horror vignettes, budget restraints lead to this follow-up only incorporating three – even though screenwriter Romero confirms in an interview on 88 Films’ recent features-packed blu-ray re-release that he did pen five, based upon King’s story outlines.

While there are still enough stomach-churning effects on show to ensure an ‘18’ certificate and keep fans who are “loyal to the gore” entertained, the slowness of the trio of shorts does imply they are being stretched to flesh out the sub-90minute runtime.

Rather than opening with a bang, OLD CHIEF WOOD’N HEAD is the most guilty of such padding, with its establishing of its Western ghost-town locale bordering on the quaint:

“Dead River is finally living up to its name.”

It takes 24 minutes for anything remotely horrific to transpire, with a gang of cocky store-looters savagely brought to rights for their murderous misdeeds by the eponymous awakened tribal statue. The scalping of the vain leader would have been even more grotesque had it not happened off screen, while I did question whether the vengeful statue wasn’t too late in carving out justice? After all, the innocent store owners had already been slaughtered by the time he sticks his wooden boot in.

THE RAFT sees a group of stereotypical pot-smoking springbreakers trapped on a tiny floating structure in the middle of a prohibited lake being hunted by an ominous “oil slick.”

“Mucho ecological!”

The bright summer’s day does not invoke fear, nor does the rather pathetic amorphous villain, which looks more like a giant drifting bin bag. As the teens are picked off, the shy guy immorally takes advantage of the situation by feeling up his dead mate’s sleeping girlfriend – so you don’t feel any sympathy when he is engulfed by a black wave as the tale crashes to an end.

Romero saved the best for last with THE HITCHHIKER, wherein a cheating wife is haunted by the ever-more-bloodied zombified corpse of the man she killed in a hit and run. Its set at night, has a genuine sense of tension and peril due to the impossible persistence of the deceased stalker, and utilises some hideously gory effects as the poor victim is reduced to a mangled, unidentified mess of blood and bones.

“Thanks for the ride, lady!”

The admonishing, cautionary theme is extended into the cartoon wraparound, with avid Creepshow reader Billy eventually getting one-up on the bullies who steal his comic and smash his parcel. However, I can’t imagine many kids being desperate to purchase a comic book adaptation of these meandering morality tales – with superfluous waffle killing the pace and diluting the scares. I can see what they were attempting here, but a page-turner this ain’t.

CR@B Verdict: 2 stars