The Butler is content to carry water

 3 Stars (3 / 5)

2013 has been a year for many things.

Hostage crises in Algeria and North Korean nuclear tests, 3D printers and a meteor explosion over Russia. Meanwhile, the NSA’s been spying on everyone and Justin Bieber has been taking up the headlines in “Teenage-Boy-With-Unlimited-Power-Behaves-Like-Dickhead Shock”.…

Dead Man Down is promising but falls back on genre trappings

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

Genre can be a double-edged sword for even the most talented and versatile filmmaker: hew too close to convention and you risk falling into cliche, stray too far and you risk alienating your core audience.

I think it’s revealing that two of my favorite genre films of recent years – Shane Black’s vaguely satirical crime thriller Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Drew Goddard’s postmodern slasher horror The Cabin in the Woods – both deconstruct their respective genres.…