Hyde Park on Hudson is torn between comedy of manners and Freudian melodrama

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

The last three years have done some interesting things with the legacy of King George VI.

Colin Firth’s sensitive portrayal of the speech-impaired monarch who led Britain through the Second World War rightfully won the Oscar (though the film that showcased it, The King’s Speech, was something of a “worthy” choice for the Best Picture of 2010).…

Hitchcock has too much makeup and not enough blood

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

 

“My name is Alfred Hitchcock…”

Thus begins both Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the anthology TV series hosted by The Master of Suspense, which ran from 1955 to 1965, and Hitchcock, the biopic of his life, directed by Sacha Gervasi (Anvil!

Lincoln is showcase cinema at its best

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

One hundred and fifty years since the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into existence, slavery has once again become a hot-button topic in American cinema.

Arguably two of the biggest cinematic releases on show at the moment are Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.…

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).…