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Hello once again, listeners! A densely packed shambles this weeks as we eventually manage to cover, in some form or another, Fast 'n' Furious, Dragonball Evolution, I Love You, Man, Fifty Dead Men Walking, Let The Right One In, In The Loop and Crank: High Voltage.
Fast 'n' Furious sees a return to the roots of the franchise, after its little side-trip to Tokyo. Utilising the 'talents' of Paul Walker and Vin Diesel to their fullest, while Fast 'n' Furious isn't massively offensive, the odd decision for a car-chased based franchise to feature less car chases and more iffy revenge plots makes this a somewhat disengaging outing.
Dragonball Evolution updates the long-established anime series, giving the concept an X-Men style black leather makeover, ditching some of the sillier aspects and embracing a few sillier ones. With adequately handled action sequences that might prove new to the intended target audience rather than older film fans and perfectly reasonable performances all-round, the only major tick in the 'against' column is that there's little to nothing for peeps outside of the target pre to early teen audience to enjoy, at least nothing they haven't seen done better many times before.
I Love You, Man sees Paul Gadd attempt to make a new best friend, and hilarity ensues. Kind of. Aiming for an Aptow-esque vibe, it achieves some small success and some small hilarity. If nothing else, it introduces the phrase "Totes McGoats" into theOneliner lexicon causing a five minute giggling fit that I had the joy of editing out.
Fifty Dead Men Walking tells of a police informant taking on the dangerous game of infiltrating the I.R.A. at the height of "The Troubles". Solid performances from Ben Kingsley and Jim Sturgess, decent enough builds of tension make this a likeable enough film that pulls few punches. The only issue I have with it is that in terms of style and execution it's pretty much indistinguishable from every other 'cop infiltrating a dangerous gang' film.
Let The Right One In is a coming-of-age-cum-relationship drama between two young kids, one of whom happens to be a vampire. Nominally this makes it a horror film, but this aspect is somewhat downplayed. Deliberately paced, with the same bleak stylings of 30 Days of Night, it's a reasonably atmospheric and rewarding watch. It's nothing like as good as the hype machine around it would have you believe, but it's probably going to be the best 'horror' film of the year.
In The Loop, a film version of sorts of Armando Iannucci's excellent telly series The Thick Of It provides a fantastic intersection of biting satire, top performances and innovative swearing. A simply brilliant combination of political commentary and language used as the bluntest of weapons, In The Loop is hilarious and essential viewing for anyone with even the most passing of interests in the political process. Or for people who like swearing.
Crank: High Voltage is simply mental. Even more mental than the first of the series, unbelievably enough. Jason Statham re-inhabits Chev Chelios as he runs around trying to track down the git who stole his heart, replacing it with an electrically powered ticker that need frequent recharging from hilariously unlikely sources. Taking 'stupid' as a badge of pride, this cross between action film parody and hallucinogenic nightmare is perhaps the most continuously entertaining film of the year. Jason Statham's big baldy heid provides another hit.
That's enough. More soon, if I survive Armenia.