12A – 135mins – 2018
MINATURE IDEA, MASSIVE PROBLEM
I had been pre-warned by two independent sources that Sideways collaborators Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor’s latest offering did not play out the way the trailers lead you to believe. Leaving the cinema after a screening of the ambitious sci-fi comedy-drama the other evening, it was clear that not everyone got the memo. “It started really well…” one woman opined to her partner before her praise dipped. Another couple agreed giving a capule review that went: “It was fun to begin with and then got really weird.” I really could not disagree with either statement.
… Keep Scuttling!
12A – 118mins – 2016
Not to be confused with either the classic Troma bloodbath or the Rebecca De Mornay remake, calendar-crazed holiday-hound and chick flick-churner Garry Marshall follows up Valentine’s Day (2010) and New Years Eve (2011) with another sickeningly sentimental all-star assembly which mines the greetings card-engineered date for all the schmaltz he can siphon.
Whilst I have no qualms with celebrating the love I have for my mum, Marshall amplifies the significance of Mother’s Day to near-religious proportions in this portmanteau rom-com which intermingles the often less-than-perfect family relationships and love lives of a diverse bunch of weighty actors (including his Pretty Woman lead, Julia Roberts) who are too underused to be held accountable for this groaner, but too eager for a paycheck not to be guilty by association.
Britain’s own Jack Bad Education Whitehall is a pleasantly left-field piece of casting as a burgeoning stand-up comedian plying his trade as a barman to support his long-time girlfriend (Britt Robertson) and baby daughter, while We’re The Millers co-stars Jason “Red” Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston are relatably exhausted as two struggling single parents bringing up tweens. Sadly, every other segment is crudely on-the-nose to the point of being shamefully offensive. Margo Martindale and Robert Pine, I’m looking at you!
Finally, somebody had best inform the Marketing department at Open Roads Films that opening a heartwarming love letter to mothers a week before the UK celebrates Father’s Day is almost as big and embarrassing a faux-pas as Sarah Scrubs Chalke believing a womb on wheels is a suitable concept for a parade float!
U – 97mins – 2016 – 3D
When an island community of incessantly chirpy flightless birds is invaded by a boat-full of porky-telling neon green pigs, only ostracised and irritable Red (Jason We’re The Millers Sudeikis) is cynical enough to see through the mysterious visitor’s pretence of friendship – but his disagreeable temperament sees his valid claims fall on naïve beaks.
When the greedy snout troop – led by their bearded king, Leonard (Bill Hader) – makes off with the bewildered birds’ unhatched newborns, the feathered flock put their full faith in Red and his fellow Anger Management attendees, Chuck (Josh “Olaf” Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride), to lead the resistance and claim back their eggs before their babies become breakfast for bacon!
With a script penned by the king of the animated movie genre, Jon Vitti (he has written or consulted on everything from Blue Sky’s Ice Age and Robots to The Simpsons Movie and Alvin and the Chipmunks), The Angry Birds Movie is as colourfully chaotic and hilariously hyperactive as you would expect from a film based on a mobile phone time-waster.
While it feels like it may be slingshotting into cinemas a couple of years too late, it is still a cloyingly app-dictive viewing experience, doing a flocking decent job of transplanting the “swipe-out” simplicity of Rovio Entertainment’s platform game into the central proponent of a larger universe-building (and destroying!) narrative.
It may favour style over substance and laughs over logic, but when there are this many giggles to be got (“Calvin Swine”, “Brad Pigg”, “John Hamm”, “Bomb’s Shelter”), you’d be bird-brained not to jump upon this trampoline. Sure, its garish mentality and maddening persistency does veer mighty close to overkill, but the strike rate is impressive enough to forgive a few missed targets.