It's been a long time since I saw 'Eraserhead', but I remember finding it quite disturbing (in a brilliant way) rather than funny. I guess I'll have to rewatch it at some point.
Have you seen Guy Ritchie's 'Snatch'? That's a good one, too. I heard that this is basically 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' with a bigger budget (and Brad Pitt), so your review has made me curious to check that one out.
Continuing my recapitulation of "what I watched over the Christmas period" (and thank you very much, @balaji, for sorting out the posts - I've lost the overview about which recent movies had their own threads), these are my thoughts on aa few 2016 releases:
Central Intelligence (2016)
Kevin Hart plays a middle-aged accountant, who once was the most popular kid in high school where he was the only one to help a fat, bullied schoolmate. Despite of having married his high school sweetheart and holding a steady job, he is in a midlife crisis, when, on the eve of a high school reunion, he meets the formerly fat kid again, who has turned into The Rock and claims to be a CIA agent needing Hart’s character’s help.
‘Central Intelligence’ is a generic buddy action comedy, which isn’t worth watching unless you really like movies of this genre. Dwayne Johnson’s considerable charisma is just about enough to balance out Kevin Hart, who is annoying instead of funny. The action scenes are perfunctory and there aren’t enough laughs by far. 4/10
Mechanic: Resurrection (2016)
Technically, this is a sequel to a remake, but, this being a Jason Statham vehicle, you don’t need to know anything about prior movies. “The Stath” plays a reformed assassin (who is forced to get back on the job) with the specialty of making his murders look like accidents, although the killings in this film are so preposterous and elaborately staged that this is never evident from the movie. It even starts with an action sequence worthy of a James Bond opening sequence. Indeed, as per usual in Jason Statham films, the action scenes are fun and well-done, which is usually enough for me to rate these movies as average. Unfortunately, the script of ‘Mechanic: Resurrection’ includes a lot of dead wood and unnecessary and boring scenes in order to establish a standard action movie plot. Being boring for stretches of 15 minutes at a time just isn’t good enough for an action movie. 4/10
Now You See Me 2 (2016)
Inexplicably, I really enjoyed the preposterous ‘Now You See Me’, a caper movie about a group of famous stage magicians, who commit daring and elaborate heists under the guise of magical performances. Stage magic hardly ever works on screen, because the movies themselves are a form of illusion and you always suspect that the magical feats on show are the result of cinematic trickery rather than sleight of hand. Also, ‘Now You See Me’ had a convoluted plot and utterly absurd set pieces. Yet, somehow it worked, because it was filmed with panache. The sequel lacks the zing of the first movie, isn’t as funny and overburdens the plot with some half-arsed story about a secret organisation of magicians. As a result, the absurdity of the ridiculously overblown set pieces is more pronounced. While watching ‘Now You See me 2’, I wished it was about some street-level magicians whose sole aim was to perform magic shows without a license and to escape some straight-arrow policeman on their trail, i.e. an altogether different movie. 4/10
Our Kind of Traitor (2016)
This solid adaptation of a John Le Carré novel has a Hitchcock-like plot, in which an unassuming civilian becomes entangled in a web of espionage. Ewan McGregor plays a literature professor, whose marriage to Naomi Harris’s solicitor is a bit rocky. While they are reliving their honeymoon in Marrakesh, she storms out on him in a restaurant. Stellan Skarsgård’s jovial Russian mobster invites McGregor’s character over to his table and on to a party, where he slips him a USB-stick with data to be handed over to Scotland Yard.
The strength of ‘Our Kind of Traitor’ is that its characters are well-written and the actors are all in good shape. Therefore, I was involved in the movie and the predicaments, in which the characters find themselves. The story isn’t quite straightforward and, this being a John Le Carre’ adaptation, there is no black and white and morals are sometimes murky, but the plot isn’t overly complicated and easy to follow. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about the direction or cinematography, but it’s a perfectly well-made film. Solid thrillers are rare enough these days, so I really liked ‘Our Kind of Traitor’ and would recommend it without reservations. 7/10