Django Unchained lets Tarantino loose with a bloody tale of race and revenge in antebellum America

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Is there a more outwardly exciting director at work today than Quentin Tarantino?

It’s been three years since the release of Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino’s revisionist history cum Spaghetti Western account of Nazi killers and vengeful Jews in occupied France, and a further fifteen since he arguably created a whole new type of cinema with Pulp Fiction.…

Gangster Squad assembles all the old cliches to little effect

2 Stars (2 / 5)

 

Post-war L.A. The glitzy and glamorous City of Angels is under the thrall of brutal mob boss Mickey Cohen, with mob slayings on every corner and half the police force on the make.

Or so Gangster Squad, the third feature of director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less), would have us believe.…

Cloud Atlas is a whole lotta movie without quite enough reason for existing

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

“Surely this is one of the most ambitious films ever made.

The little world of film criticism has been alive with interpretations of it, which propose to explain something that lies outside explanation. Any explanation of a work of work must be found in it, not take to it.

Les Miserables: Faith, grace, mercy, and music (and getting a head in Revolutionary France)

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

You know that sometimes you leave the cinema struggling to articulate exactly what it is that you’ve just seen?

Those are my feelings regarding Les Miserables, the adaptation of Cameron Mackintosh’s blockbuster musical, directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech).…

Life of Pi (or, Piscine’s Wager) is a minor miracle of cinema

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

The first time that Ang Lee’s Life of Pi truly seized my attention, it’s protagonist was skittering across the wind and rain-swept of cargo freighter, shouting to the turbulent heavens like some underage, subaltern Lear.

However, what Piscine Molitor Patel – named for a Parisian swimming pool – sees as God putting on a show is nevertheless deadly: we watch as, on the cargo deck below, we an unknown, faceless sailor is swept overboard by the invading sea.…

The Hobbit: An Unremarkable Journey – A Deconstruction

If you haven’t yet seen the first part of Peter Jackson’s new trilogy based on the esteemed fantasy novel/children’s book by JRR Tolkien and don’t wish to have it tainted by misanthropic grumblings and general pedantry, stop here.

There are some very strong and mixed feelings bubbling up within me as I write this and many of them carry with them spoilers.…

End of Watch is a classic of solidity

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

End of Watch is a found-footage style cop drama, directed and written by the writer of Training Day and Street Kings. It’s also markedly better than that sounds.

David Ayers, who also wrote the script for The Fast and the Furious, shoots the majority of the film from the perspective of Officer Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal), who drives a patrol car in South Central LA with his partner Mike Zavala (Michael Peña).…

Seven Psychopaths; or, F**kin’ Hollywood

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

Hans: As Gandhi said…’An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind’. I believe that wholeheartedly.

Billy: No, it doesn’t. There’ll be one guy left with one eye. How’s the last blind guy going to take out the eye of the last guy left whose still got one eye left?

Argo is Alan J. Pakula without the bite

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

The newest film by Chasing Amy* star Ben Affleck is notable for many reasons, not least in that it has broken the director’s run of continuous 94%s on Rotten Tomatoes.

Whether it is an objectively better film that either Gone Baby Gone or The Town is open to debate.…

The Master is a meditation on faith, sex, and the duality of man

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

The Master is a difficult film to unreservedly love.

For one thing, it’s a far trickier beast than Paul Thomas Anderson’s previous world-beater, the relentless and aptly titled There Will Be Blood. There are no oil-rig explosions, no dairy beverage related analogies, though the film is certainly closer to it’s immediate predecessor in style, tone, and content than any other PTA’s directed.…