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: 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: ‘Django Unchained’

Quentin Tarantino, a name synonymous with extremely well written, impeccably considered and very provocative filmmaking, returns with yet another revenge tale. This time, Django Unchained tackles slavery and sets it against a ‘western’-genre backdrop. This is a wonderful film – it is, but once in a while someone needed to tap Q on the shoulder…

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: ‘The Master’

When boiled down, every Paul Thomas Anderson movie is about an outsider looking in. ‘Boogie Nights’ is about breaking into a scene. ‘Punch-Drunk Love’ is all about sitting outside normal human relationships and peering in. ‘The Master’ is a search for direction and place to belong. For a filmmaker who thrills at confronting personality flaws…

Retro Review: ‘Pulp Fiction’

Read on as Shotgun Critic explores some gems and turds of cinematic yesteryear. Rediscover a forgotten classic through fresh eyes, or see how time has worn away the polish on your favourite childhood movies. Join us. When it comes to career-defining films, it was Quentin Tarantino’s second work, ‘Pulp Fiction’ that has arguably defined 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: ‘Searching For Sugar Man’

This should really prove to be the ultimate hipster movie. It’s a great case of “Oh, Rodriguez? I’ve known about him for years now.” For the layman, like me, I had no idea. ‘Seaching For Sugar Man’ is a documentary that uncovers the bafflingly improbable career path of 60s-70s musician, Rodriguez – a solo songwriter…

Review: ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’

Two time-travelling movies on big screens at the same time? That just happened—not that I’m complaining, particularly when they’re this good. Joining ‘Looper’ is the tonally opposite comedy with a warm, gooey centre, ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’. It’s a remarkable production, given the limited budget ($750,000 – which is tiny by most Hollywood standards) and the…

Review: ‘On The Road’

Jack Kerouac’s arguably most noteworthy work, ‘On The Road’, is a rambling quasi-autobiographical account of his early-20s life as a beatnik writer in search of …something. Inspiration, hard work, a sexual awakening – perhaps the American Dream, preceding Hunter S. Thompson by a good 20 years. That part’s never really clear—and perhaps that’s why this…