Downsizing (Cinema Review)

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!

RED DWARF XII.5 – “M-Corp” (TV Review)

Dave – 9pm – Thursday 9th November 2017

Available to stream NOW on UKTV Play

Created by: Rob Grant and Doug Naylor

Written and directed by: Doug Naylor


 

UPDATES INSTALLED

While a few of the jokes in series XII have riffed on over-familiar tropes from Red Dwarf‘s past (Lister’s dodgy guitar skillz, Cat’s less-than-subtle ribs about rid of Rimmer, Kryten’s love of cleaning), plot-wise, this latest batch of six space adventures for the remaining crew of the JMC’s finest has really upped the ante and pushed the ‘Bug out like never before.

… Keep Scuttling!

RED DWARF XII.4 – “Mechocracy” (TV Review)

Dave – 9:00pm – Thursday 2nd November 2017

Available to stream NOW on UKTV Play

Created by: Rob Grant and Doug Naylor

Written and directed by: Doug Naylor


 

ROBOT REVOLUTION

Last week’s bold, PC-satirising shenanigans certainly divided the hardcore fanbase (read my review of “Timewave” HERE), although overnight numbers have confirmed that audience figures for Dave’s flagship original (re-) commission went UP for last night’s broadcast on the official home of witty banter, so I’m hoping all new boarders who alighted upon the good ship Red Dwarf stick around for this week’s far superior slice of sci-fi sitcommery.

… Keep Scuttling!

RED DWARF XII.3 – “Timewave” (TV Review)

Red Dwarf.

Dave – 9pm – Thursday 26th October 2017

Available to preview NOW on UKTV Play

Created by: Rob Grant and Doug Naylor

Written and directed by: Doug Naylor


 

THE TROUBLE WITH ST. TREMBLES

At this halfway juncture I don’t think it’s premature for me to declare Red Dwarf XII an extraordinary run of the popular British sci-fi sitcom. In three episodes we have had three very diverse and unpredictably inventive approaches to the formula. “Cured” was a confident mystery with historical guest stars, “Siliconia” a grandiose gem borne out of a gimmick, while this week’s standalone instalment is a blatant satirical swipe at the PC brigade; madness mocking madness.

… Keep Scuttling!

The Handmaid’s Tale (DVD Review)

15 – 90mins – 1990


 

FUNDAMENTALIST FUTURE

27 years before Hulu remade it into a highly-acclaimed and much-discussed, must-see television series, Margaret Atwood’s eye-opening 1985 dystopian novel was adapted to film, courtesy of a Harold Pinter screenplay. Critically commended though it was, an eleventh hour change of director led to rewrites Pinter was “too tired” to work on, so he suggested incoming helmer Volker Schlöndorff return to the author for any “tinkering,” leading the Nobel-Prize winning playwright to all-but disown credit for such a “hodgepodge.”

… 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 Brand New Testament (DVD Review)

15 – 110mins – 2015 – French with English Subtitles


 

GETTING EVEN WITH DAD

“God exists. He lives in Brussels.”

Accompanied by an eclectic soundtrack which aptly oscillates between grandiose ecclesiastic classical suites and absurdist circus music, this Golden Globe-nominated French language satire is as brilliantly brave and barmy as it is scathingly blasphemous.

… Keep Scuttling!

Cell (DVD Review)

Image result for cell film

15 – 87mins – 2016


PHONE PHREAKS

They’re acting like a flock of birds!”

Meshing damning social commentary with bloodthirsty horror like a particularly gruesome instalment of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror (minus the witty satire), this recently released Stephen Creepshow King adaptation (which the horror maestro co-scribed the screenplay for) shows intermittent flashes of promise but ultimately falls flat due to bland execution.

… Keep Scuttling!

RED DWARF XI.4 – “Officer Rimmer” (TV Review)

Image result for red dwarf xi episode 4

Dave – 13th October 2016 – 9pm

Created by: Rob Grant and Doug Naylor

Written and Directed by: Doug Naylor


THE RIMM FROM ANOTHER RANK

“Things are about to get a whole lot more Rimmer-y…”

Fans of Chris Barrie’s jumbo-nostriled chicken soup machine repairman rejoice: this week you get FIFTY times more Arnold Judas Rimmer for your dollar-pounds! Doug Naylor goes uber-topical in “Officer Rimmer”, delivering a stingingly satirical warning to those who abuse their power… and technological advances.

… Keep Scuttling!

Porco Rosso (DVD Review)

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: 3 stars