WHEN I sent Father Christmas my wish list one thing that certainly wasn’t on it was a cross between Bad Santa and Die Hard.
It seems that dreaming up new ideas for festive movies is as tough as thinking of original gifts.
Violent Night begins in the way all Santa ones do.
Everyone thinks the white bearded man in the red suit is just another impersonator.
But then the old guy, jugado por Stranger Things’ David Harbour, says something only the real thing would know.
The only difference this time is that rather than leaving with a ho-ho-ho, he departs with a throw, throw, throw-up having downed one too many beers.
Next we meet the family that must inevitably be saved by the spirit of Christmas, cute kid Trudy, who still believes, and her divorced parents.
Their worlds collide when Santa delivers presents to the mansion of Trudy’s mega-rich granny Gertrude as it’s raided by a bunch of gun-toting thieves.
There we find a cast of characters straight out of the cheapest cracker, including a social media-obsessed brat, Gertrude’s alcoholic daughter and her brainless Z-list actor boyfriend.
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They deliver lines older than a fake tree that’s been in the family for generations.
But then a tiny Christmas miracle happens — Violent Night delivers a handful of fresh tricks.
Having watched tens of thousands of henchmen being bumped off in movies, it’s always a welcome surprise to see a different way of slaying a baddie.
Death by fairy light through the eye is a new one to me and a mini coal shovel slicing through the gullet was also unfamiliar.
But the most “Urgh! I have never seen that before” one involves a chimney.
Going the extra mile to really gross the audience out deserves an extra star.
There is also some fun to be had in Santa’s back story as a reformed marauding Nordic warrior, which explains how he can be so John McClane when faced with highly trained robbers.
The biggest plaudits go to Harbour, who has the charisma to lead a movie, and Beverly D’Angelo, who is great as the potty-mouthed gran.
If you are not after heavenly peace this weekend, Violent Night might just be worth ditching the Christmas shopping for.
AFTER the critical success of his compelling film Marriage Story, writer and director Noah Baumbach has joined forces with Adam Driver again to make his take on the 1985 Don DeLillo novel, White Noise.
Driver is a Hitler studies professor whose strange fourth wife (Greta Gerwig) is addicted to pills called Dylar, and he spends the entire film trying to find out the condition they treat.
The couple have four children and soon the entire family have to evacuate their house to escape toxic fumes from a train crash in their suburban town.
The style is meant to be kooky and quirky, but the rapid-fire, overlapping dialogue becomes frustrating.
Supermarkets are used often in the film to represent consumerism, and while the bright colours and symmetrical aisles make a satisfying backdrop, the sets are overused and often absurd.
The story later spirals into a tale about mortality in a world that can’t bear to face the inevitable path to death. There are some amusing moments, mostly from Driver, but overall this is a bum-numbingly boring, baffling movie that would have been best left in the pages of a book.
- A LEGACY sequel to the 1969 film Easy Rider is in the pipeline.
- LA third and final Magic Mike movie, Magic Mike’s Last Dance, will end with a 30-minute dance sequence.
- ANJELICA HUSTON has joined John Wick spin-off, Ballerina.
TORI AND LOKITA
BROTHERS Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne are the directors behind this bleak and often distressing urban nightmare – continuing an exploration of themes which have fuelled their work.
Here they insist we confront head on the injustices faced by vulnerable migrants to Europe. It’s not an easy watch, but an important one.
Sweet, tipo, stoic Lokita and intelligent, lively Tori (an outstanding Joely Mbundu and Pablo Schils) have both been trafficked from África para Bélgica y, thrown together by their shared experience, they forge a close bond.
Exiled in the city of Liege, the pair are desperate to secure residency papers and for money to pay their debts and to send to family back home.
So the youngsters deliver drugs in pizza boxes to smart businessmen who display expensive African artworks in their hallways.
For more funds, Lokita agrees to work on a cannabis farm for three months, and is taken blindfolded, and imprisoned in a lightless tunnel of plants, her phone removed, and forced to endure violence and sexual abuse.
Harrowing and heart-breaking, there is no happy ending.