comedy

Life of Crime

October 4, 2014
Jennifer Aniston in 'Life of Crime' (2013)

Comparisons may be odious, but they can hardly be avoided when it comes to Daniel Schechter’s Life of Crime and David O. Russell’s hit of last year, American Hustle. Both are slick crime-comedies set in a detail-perfect reconstruction of 1970s America – an ere that now looks as if it were designed specifically for comic … More


The Skeleton Twins

September 27, 2014
Kristen Wiig & Bill Hader in 'The Skeleton Twins' (2014)

Craig Johnson’s comedy-drama, The Skeleton Twins would have us believe that non-identical twins, Milo and Maggie, have not seen each other for ten years. As most twins of my acquaintance are virtually joined at the hip, this seems a trifle implausible. Such a rift would require a trauma of major proportions, and – although there … More


Italian Film Festival 2014 & Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

September 20, 2014
Eva Green in Sin City: A Dame to Kill for (2014)

Masterpieces are by definition rare, and from what I’ve seen so far, this year’s Lavazza Italian Film Festival has nothing to match Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, which launched last year’s festivities. Aside from that significant absence the mix of films is remarkably similar. Last year we saw Mr. Volare, a feel-good bio-pic of the … More


Magic in the Moonlight

August 30, 2014
Colin Firth in 'Magic in the Moonlight' (2014)

Either the films are getting better or I’m becoming one of those critics who find redeeming features in unlikely places. Most reviewers seem to lose it after about 300 superhero flicks, when they finally begin to believe that someone in coloured leotards may have a rich inner life. My particular Waterloo might be Woody Allen. … More


The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

August 23, 2014
Robert Gustafsson in'The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared' (2013)

Forrest Gump never made it to Sweden, or else the Swedes loved the film so much they still haven’t gotten over it. Felix Herngren’s The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, takes elements familiar from Forrest Gump (1994), Zelig (1983), and Being There (1979), and adds an extra dose of … More


The Volcano

July 12, 2014
Dany Boon & Valérie Bonneton in 'The Volcano' (2013)

For the second review I’d hoped to be writing about Beatriz’s War, the first ever feature from Timor-Leste. Unfortunately, circumstances conspired to prevent me seeing the film last week, so I’m falling back on a new French farce, The Volcano. One always goes to see a comedy with a sense of anticipation. It should be … More


Frank

June 21, 2014
Michael Fassbender & Domhnall Gleeson in 'Frank' (2014)

Frank is a movie that makes a fiction out of a difficult truth. The model for the lead character, who spends almost the entire movie walking around with a large papier-maché head lodged on his shoulders, was Frank Sidebottom, the creation of Chris Sievey (1955-2010), a wannabee rock star who found that wearing a different … More


The Trip to Italy

June 7, 2014
Rob Brydon & Steve Coogan in 'The Trip to Italy' (2014)

Four years ago, Michael Winterbottom had a hit with The Trip, a six-part television series, in which British comedians, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon drove around the Lake District, supposedly writing a series of restaurant reviews for the Observer. The series was condensed into a feature film that seduced audiences around the world. The Trip … More


Fading Gigolo

May 10, 2014
John Turturro in 'Fading Gigolo' (2014)

New York is a city that has dealt with the problem of difference by dividing itself into tribes and villages. That tribalism is gently satirised in John Turturro’s Fading Gigolo, which is not a sex comedy but a comedy of ethnicity. Turturro plays Fioravante, a laid-back New Yorker of Italian extraction who scrapes a living … More


The Grand Budapest Hotel

April 12, 2014
Ralph Fiennes in 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' (2014)

Walking into a preview of The Grand Budapest Hotel, a colleague wondered aloud if this was the film in which Wes Anderson would overcome his penchant for symmetry. In fact, The Grand Budapest Hotel must be the most maddeningly symmetrical movie ever produced! Frames are composed with a neatness and correctness that feels obsessive-compulsive. The … More


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