The Grand Budapest Hotel: A review and study

*Author’s note: As always, I have avoided spoilers – so there will be little discussion of the story itself. *   Wes Anderson’s work has a tendency to rub some people the wrong way. I will never understand them. They must see the world weirdly, in a different hue, to a different score. So does Wes,…

Review: Grudge Match

A film called “Grudge Match” starring Stallone and De Niro sounds like it would be dark, gritty, bloody, violent action film. The sucker punch is that it’s actually a comedy with more emphasis on love and family. As an elderly comedic duo, Sylvester Stallone as Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp and Robert De Niro as Billy ‘The…

Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

It’s long – too long by a good hour. And the chroma key (green screen) moments still fly in the face of otherwise sterling production values. Why? Who knows. It deviates from the core story with lumpy stretches of exposition and wholly invents action scenes solely to provide popcorn-chewing moments late in the film. The…

Review: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

The long-awaited return of moustachioed lothario anchorman Ron Burgundy is a disappointment; it’s as forced and puffed up as his hairdo – a series of stitched together gags that form an incoherent story about the perils of manipulative media. It should know; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is all about manipulating old set-ups and leveraging…

Review: ‘Iron Man 3’

When Robert Downey Jr.’s opening monologue kicks in over ‘Iron Man 3’s smartly edited opening sequence, the standard is set for a tonally different Marvel Comics film adaptation. You can thank veteran action film director Shane Black for that. His previous catalogue reads like a how-to guide to crafting smart, sexy action – itself exactly…

Review: ‘Beautiful Creatures’

Many of you will have already discovered, with some dismay, that ‘Paranormal Romance’ now constitutes its own section at your local bookstore. As a genre, it boasts such flagships as the ‘Twilight’ saga, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and, more recently, ‘The Caster Chronicles’ – the first instalment of which is ‘Beautiful Creatures’, the inspiration for a…

Review: ‘The Guilt Trip’

‘The Guilt Trip’ is a bit like a mayonnaise sandwich: it doesn’t take a lot of thought or creativity to put it together, but the result is pretty bland. The problem with this formulaic comedy it that it is neither good nor bad; it’s uninspiring. The characters feel half-drawn and the emotional and narrative points…

Review: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

A decade after Peter Jackson became a household name with his (and partner Fran Walsh’s) screen adaptation of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, the duo are preparing for another trilogy. This time, after years of on-again, off-again production woes and collaboration with one-time confirmed director Guillermo Del Toro, we’ve seen ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’…

Review: ‘ParaNorman’

It has always been a practice of mine to never trust an overly-glowing review of any film; if the critic can’t find fault, they haven’t looked hard enough. So if you therefore choose not to trust the following review of writer/director Chris Butler’s ‘ParaNorman’, I completely understand—but, believe me, I’ve looked hard. High-schooler Norman Babcock…

Review: ‘Shadow Dancer’

Not that things have ever been smooth-sailing for Ireland’s divided religious communities, but apparently the early 1990s were a fairly unpleasant time. ‘Shadow Dancer’, an adaptation of author Tom Bradby’s novel of the same name, follows Colette McVeigh, IRA member and young mother, as she is swept into the inner workings of MI5’s league of…

Review: ‘Lawless’

Nearly as potent and ballsy as the gut-rot moonshine being peddled in the film, ‘Lawless’ is clearly a Nick Cave product. It would take a man of his trademark darkness and viciousness, in partnership with filmmaker John Hillcoat (who also directed the 2005 Cave-written film ‘The Proposition’ and 2009’s bleak ‘The Road’), to craft something…