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Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest has grown into a global event. Primarily judging the best songs from a plethora of European acts, it has seen a colourful array of performers. ABBA, Bucks Fizz and others have used it as a platform for further chart success. ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’ is a satirical look at the camp, glitter and determination of those wanting to win. It’s as outrageous as the event itself with its trashy antics mirroring its namesake.

Lars (Will Ferrell) and his best friend Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) are an Icelandic music duo entering the Eurovision Song Contest. Against the wishes of his disapproving father Erick (Pierce Brosnan), Lars seeks fame and glory. With Sigrit’s equally determined spirit pushing him on, the duo’s path to a golden future is littered with potholes as they chase their lifelong dreams.

‘Eurovision’ is a fun if overlong slice of nonsense. Lars and Sigrit’s earnest self-belief in their minor talents provides most of the comedy. Ferrell is an old hand at doing this type of thing with his ‘loveable loser’ persona given another airing. McAdams is equally good as is Brosnan and Dan Stevens as a flamboyant Russian singer.

Whilst the pacing saps its overall impact, ‘Eurovision’ perfectly captures every facet of the song contest. Trash, treasure and unadulterated decadence is all on display with glee. Eurovision fanatics will have a field day spotting the many references. The songs and musical set pieces are catchy with the cast bringing dynamic energy to the predictable script, making the reheated plot seem fresh.

If you’re in the mood for a ‘no-brain watching’ flick, then ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’ is for you. It shouldn’t be taken seriously for a minute and offers mostly consistent laughs. The real event is just as dazzling and offers a great escape from the often trouble world outside the TV screens.

Rating out of 10: 7

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX.

Spenser Confidential

The ‘cop-buddy’ genre has seen a slew of imitators. ‘Lethal Weapon’, ‘Tango and Cash’ and others have traded in the mis-matched partnership of its characters with varying success. The wayward chemistry is meant to provide the action and comedy in equal measures. ‘Spenser Confidential’ is of the same ilk. Although offering little new, it’s an agreeable time-waster with law-makers you wouldn’t want saving you.

Newly released from prison, ex-cop Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) is eager to start a new life. He swiftly slides into old habits when he’s persuaded to help his old boxing coach and mentor Henry (Alan Arkin). Assisting in mentoring promising boxer Hawk (Winston Duke), Spenser’s life gets worse when two former colleagues are murdered. Recruiting Hawk and his waspish ex-girlfriend Cissy (Iliza Shlesinger) to solve the crimes, explosions and blazing guns become a regular feature of Spenser’s new life.

Directed by Peter Berg, ‘Spenser Confidential’ is a fun ride needing little brain cells to watch. Spenser is very much a genuine hero whose dogged determination in uncovering the truth wins him few friends. He has a strict moral code although can play loose when required. His relationships with Hawk, Henry and Cissy form an almost familial atmosphere within the usual gumshoe detective tropes.

Although Wahlberg hasn’t the greatest acting range, he’s a perfect fit for ‘Spenser Confidential’. In some ways he’s like James Garner in ‘The Rockford Files’, with his smarmy investigator happy to go into the criminal underbelly. Wahlberg’s co-stars are equally fine, effectively adding to the urban atmosphere. The script they’re given is fairly predictable but never outstays its welcome which is a bonus.

‘Spenser Confidential’ is a classic ‘watch on a rainy day’ type movie. It’s forgettable entertainment and easy viewing. It doesn’t disgrace the endless ‘cop-buddy’ genre which is sure to outlast us mere mortals where crime will always face its eternal judgement.

Rating out of 10: 6

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX.