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Starring Daniel Radcliffe, James Mc Avoy, Jessica Brown Findlay.For this “reimagining,” Chronicle Screenwriter Max Landis takes Mary Shelley’s novel, chops it up and stitches the bodyparts together with a glut of other references and influences.Meanwhile, bible-thumping DI Turpin (Andrew Scott) is trying to fit Frankenstein to a murder, and there’s something cooking in the basement.Radcliffe is slowly overcoming the burden of growing up in front of the camera.As an actor, he gets better with each role and is by far the best element in this unholy mess. On the other hand, Mc Avoy knows far better than to take any of it seriously and overacts with every fibre in his being (say it, don’t spray it James).Spotting where the various elements have been lifted from – a taste of Tim Burton here, a slice of Guy Richie there, and a healthy dollop of David Cronenberg body horror over the top – is entertaining for a while but eventually becomes distracting. Just like the monster, Victor Frankenstein is not built for longevity. THE NIGHT BEFORE (101 minutes, 16) Directed by Jonathan Levine.
For what it’s worth, I subscribe to the Guillermo del Toro school of my relationship to film (see below).Krampus opens with a nice little montage of store security tasering a mob of feral Black shoppers with Bing Crosby’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” playing over the top.This gleefully dyspeptic attitude towards the festive season runs through writer/director Michael Dougherty’s home invasion monster movie like arsenic icing in a Christmas cake.Hijinks ensue, lessons are learned, values are reassessed, and we all grow up just a little bit. Elsewhere, the jokes amount to lazy riffs on other, better movies and crude pop culture references. In a nutshell, The Night Before is “The Twelve Pubs of Christmas: The Movie.” If bongs, novelty jumpers and al fresco urination crack you up, then you’ll love this.Most miss the mark – even the actors look mortified trying to sell “Wrecking Ball” like it’s something off Pet Sounds, but the penny drops when Miley Cyrus makes a late appearance. TLDR: CHRISTMAS WITH THE COOPERS (106 minutes, 12A) Directed by Jessie Nelson. It’s clear that Christmas with the Coopers started life as a bog standard family melodrama, but at some point the cracks in Steven Rogers’ (P. I Love You) flimsy script were papered over with Christmas wrapping and the film is now being sold as this year’s Love Actually (one was more than enough, actually).
Pick of the week KRAMPUS (97 minutes, 15A) Directed by Michael Dougherty.