U – 93mins – 2016 – 3D
HAPPY, HAPPY, TOY JOY
Those beady-eyed, multi-coloured, Mr. Whippy-haired dolls from your youth (provided you were young in the 90s!) sing, dance and scrapbook their way to the big screen in this nauseatingly bright, bubbly and emotive celebration of all things HAPPY from Dreamworks Animation, Shrek Forever After director Mike Mitchell and co-director Walt Dohrn (a fellow Shrek franchise alum).
… Keep Scuttling!
U – 87mins – 2016
Conservation meets animation in this mirrored-Madagascar tale of a talking animal leaving their natural habitat to journey to the Big Apple. With the unique ability to speak to humans, hulking hunting novice Norm (Rob Schneider) takes it upon himself to leave his icy home and stowaway on a ship to New York in order to stop the greedy real estate mogul Mr. Greene (Ken Jeong) from turning the North Pole into a luxury condo development.
The toon’s CG style is blocky but bold enough not to be cumbersome, and kids will lap up Norm of the North’s frenetic pace and slapstick humour (in particular the trio of sidekick lemmings). Sadly, other than an admirable eco-friendly message, adults will struggle to find much to latch onto here – save for picking out the wealth of star voices (Bill Nighy, James Corden, Heather Graham).
CR@B’s Claw Score:
18 – 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: