Live By Night | Spoiler-Free Review

Words: Chris Neill The last 12 months have been rough for Ben Affleck. He’s had to suffer through the embarrassment of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the overwhelming whatever-ness of The Accountant and his new status as a kind of funny Internet meme. While the announcement that he’s helming the new solo Batman movie…

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: ‘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: ‘Skyfall’

After the unsettlingly poor ‘Quantum of Solace’ in 2008, fans found little solace of their own in the prospect of another dud for superspy James Bond. Four years on, ‘Skyfall’ picks up the torch and redeems a franchise that always seems one film away from wearing out its welcome. Sam Mendes (‘American Beauty’) takes the…

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…

Review: ‘Dredd 3D’

Verdict: awesome. You can pretty much stop reading at this point if you want. ‘Dredd 3D’ is undoubtedly one of the strongest action movies of 2012, inventive in ways that will surprise you and pleasingly gritty and violent for fans of the 1970s comic book series on which it’s based. It also shares a plot…