Archive for March, 2014


Muppets Most Wanted (James Bobin, 2014)

March 27, 2014


A musical nod to diminishing returns for sequels opens Muppets Most Wanted, and while this is an overall inferior product compared to its immediate forerunner, as well as other earlier films starring the felt motley crew, there’s enough entertainment here to separate it from nadirs like Muppets from Space and that Wizard of Oz TV movie with Quentin Tarantino.

Click for the full review of The Skinny


Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Anthony Russo/Joe Russo, 2014)

March 26, 2014


As homogeneous as Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe is, the attempts to play up different tones and genres with its recent lot of films have brought welcome flashes of character, even if the success rate is erratic. Half of Iron Man 3 is practically a Lethal Weapon movie, Thor: The Dark World is pure gobbledegook fantasy, while Captain America: The Winter Soldier applies conspiracy thriller leanings to the otherwise standard superhero action formula…

Click for the full review for The Skinny


Seen Your Video #34: Fucking Funny as Fuck

March 21, 2014


On the latest episode of Seen Your Video, Chris Ward and I discuss many notable UK releases from the beginning of 2014, including Inside Llewyn Davis, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Grand Budapest Hotel, her, Nymphomaniac, and Bastards. We also discuss this year’s instalment of the Glasgow Film Festival, as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s collaborations with Paul Thomas Anderson.

Stream the episode here.
Alternatively, you can download the episode or subscribe to the podcast by looking up Seen Your Video on iTunes.


The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)

March 7, 2014


More than perhaps any other director, the work of Ernst Lubitsch has been the most noticeable influence on Wes Anderson’s style. Though the great German-American writer-director, most prolific in the 1930s and 1940s, was never quite so aesthetically bold in the look of his sets, he too was preoccupied with meticulous staging for comedy within his chosen locales, be they the titular Shop Around the Corner or the Parisian hotel of Ninotchka; The Grand Budapest Hotel is set in a fictional European country, the Republic of Zubrowka, another Lubitsch trait from works like The Merry Widow and The Love Parade, though The Shop Around the Corner happens to be set in the city Anderson’s mountaintop lodging house takes its name from. He garnered the descriptor of ‘the Lubitsch touch’ thanks to the moving sincerity that always made itself evident within even his more broad comedic premises, and Anderson’s own best work is that in which a recognisable humanism always makes itself known and potent even within the stylised stiltedness through which most of his characters are written and performed…

Click for the full review at Sound On Sight


GFF 2014: Sorcerer (William Friedkin, 1977)

March 6, 2014


A financial flop lost in the Star Wars summer of 1977, William Friedkin’s Sorcerer, long plagued by legal problems regarding distribution in its complete form, has now undergone a stunning restoration overseen by the director himself. Based on the same novel as the French classic The Wages of Fear, it concerns four fugitives whose desperation has brought them to an oil-drilling work camp in South America, thanks to crimes of assassination, terrorism, bank fraud and robbery. When offered enough money to escape their situation, they take on the life-threatening job of transporting crates of temperamental nitrogylcerin by truck across a nightmarish jungle…

Click for the full review of The Skinny/The CineSkinny


GFF 2014: Mistaken for Strangers (Tom Berninger, 2013)

March 6, 2014


On the surface, Mistaken for Strangers would seem to be a standard tour rockumentary, in this case following Ohio indie outfit The National during the mainstream breakthrough brought about by their 2010 album, High Violet. Under the lead of Tom Berninger, the immature metalhead brother of the band’s frontman Matt, what one actually gets with this hugely entertaining film is a candid look into sibling strife, creative crossroads, responsibility, and the very nature of the artistic process. Basically, don’t expect a film about The National…

Click for the full review of The Skinny/The CineSkinny


GFF 2014: The Zero Theorem (Terry Gilliam, 2013)

March 2, 2014

The Zero Theorem (2)

Though writer Pat Rushin scripted and conceived the story of The Zero Theorem, one can be forgiven for assuming Terry Gilliam came up with the narrative himself, being that it comes across as the work of someone who either saw every film Gilliam’s ever made or just happened to direct them. Indeed, The Zero Theorem sees Gilliam very much in his storytelling and thematic comfort zones, though sadly to diminishing returns. It openly scrounges scraps from earlier efforts, especially Brazil, but has little idea how to develop its ever so slightly different ideas beyond thin sketches…

Click for the full review for Sound On Sight