15 – 68mins – 2017
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…?
… Keep Scuttling!
PG – 98mins – 2017
THE MAN WHO’LL LEAD US THROUGH
“Why don’t you just have me stuffed?”
Never far from bowker hat, circular specs and a large cigar, Brian Cox gets the look and mannerisms of the man who lead our country through some of its darkest days down pat. Miranda Richardson is suitably unflappable with sympathetic-yet-steely support as his exasperated wife, Clementine. But Churchill isn’t solely a celebratory look back at Britain’s greatest Prime Minister. Set in the days leading up to the Allied Force’s D-Day landings in Normandy, historian Alex von Tunzelmann’s script empathises the frailties both physical and mental crippling the man behind the legend.
15 – 84mins – 2016
BOMBS UP IN MY FLAT
“A woman should be scared of exposing herself above everything else.”
Set against the sobering backdrop of the War of the Cities during the Iran-Iraq conflict of the 1980s, this Tehran-set spine-tingler manages to astutely capture both the palpable anxiety civilian’s felt living with the threat of missiles literally crushing their homes and the repressive social inequality of the period metaphorically crushing their livelihoods.
… Keep Scuttling!
15 – 112mins – 2015
Belatedly released straight to region 2 DVD with an unremarkably insipid title replacing the US variant Zipper (oo-er!), The Conjuring 2‘s Patrick Wilson is perfectly cast in this intriguing highly erotic political drama inspired by a real life scandal as a professional man enticed into illicit affairs with a string of high-end escorts while congress remains in his wavering, once-focused sights.
… Keep Scuttling!
PG – 94mins – 1992
THE CRIMSON PIG
“I don’t fight for honour – I fight for a pay check!”
Italian WWI ex-fighter pilot Marco Rossolini (Michael Keaton) is an anti-fascist now living as a hostage-rescuing freelance bounty hunter, spending his days chasing “air pirates” in his Savoia S.21 above the Adriatic Sea. Written and directed by Studio Ghibli head Hayao Miyazaki, Porco Rosso is based on his own 3-part Manga, Hikōtei Jidai, and could easily pass as an ode to history and aviation, were it not for the fact that the lead character is cursed by “divine punishment” into the form of an anthropomorphised pig!
“God was telling you it wasn’t your time yet…”
Despite this single concession to fantasy, Porco Rosso is otherwise fairly geographically and historically accurate, with a surplus of politically-charged dialogue giving it the air of a satire. It’s a pity that a succession of “outsider” quips and tiresome “pig-headed” wordplay diminishes any deeper and more complex subtext by overstating the ‘pigs might fly’ comedy. In my opinion, that’s a single joke stretched waaaay too far.
Elsewhere there are flashes of sensitivity and sympathy (“Maybe I’ve just run out of tears,”), even if Keaton dubs Rocco with suave indifference. Irritatingly, there are also further glimpses of some outmoded sexism (“Don’t you have any males relatives?”; “We’re not baking a cake here,”) – but at least, unlike Ocean Waves, this was set in a less open-minded time period.
As is to be expected from the Japanese anime giants, the film is animated gorgeously, however some overly cartoonified injury detail does diminish the honour of Porco’s climatic dual-cum-bareknuckle-fistfight with love rival Curtis (Cary Saw Elwes). Nevertheless, Porco Rosso’s charm carries it through; this is still more swell than swill – and I’m not bacon that up! Ahem.
CR@B’s Claw Score: