Sunday, February 23, 2014

Movie Review ... The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

grand-budapest-hotel-pstr02Director Wes Anderson is a comedic maverick.  Overseeing films of high quality such as ‘Rushmore’ and ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, you never know what to expect.  This ability to provide surprises is what has kept his works fresh and keenly anticipated.  ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is the latest to benefit from his masterful touch.  Packed with his usual all-star cast and zingy one-liners, it’s another classic production in his pantheon of fine movies.

Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) is a popular concierge at the busy Grand Budapest Hotel. Assisted by lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori), he ensures the hotel runs like clock-work.  His high ideals become unstuck when he is involved in an art theft and a battle over a family fortune.  Under suspicion, Gustave tries to clear his good name.  This is easier said than done when a cavalcade of characters make his time at the hotel one of constant irritation than relaxation.

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ lives up to its name by being a grand and quirky ride.  A character-driven film, its ensemble of peculiar personalities ensures the witty comedy always lingers.  From Gustave’s many foibles to those he meets, it’s easy comparing them to everyday people.  Gustave endures a wild time and one that’s enjoyable to witness.  Anderson knows how a comedy should move with ‘Budapest’ gliding a mile a minute with its frantic humour.

He also enables you to be fully consumed in this odd world with some amazing production design.  It sparkles just as much as the droll dialogue as colour bursts in technicolour glory.  Sometimes threatening to over-whelm the story but the plot is strong enough to continually grip.  The all-star cast are clearly having a great time bringing ‘Budapest’ to dazzling life with some perfectly pitched performances.

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is a lot of fun and one of Anderson’s best works.  His consistency in providing authentic laughs is always welcome with a stay at this strange hotel one anyone should make time for.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  8

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.

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Movie Review ... Wolf Creek 2

 

WOLF CREEK 2 POSTERYou can’t keep a good horror villain down with ‘Wolf Creek 2’s inhumane monster one of the nastiest.  The long delayed sequel to the 2005 local hit ‘Wolf Creek 2’ is just as intense and scary as its predecessor.  Once again directed by Greg McLean and featuring a mesmerising performance from John Jarratt. This wicked duo serves up another slice of Australian horror.  Time hasn’t diluted their skills with their latest having a deadly edge other movies could only hope to emulate.

Rutger (Phillipe Klaus), Katarina (Shannon Ashlyn) and Paul (Ryan Corr) are young explorers excited about travelling through Australia’s harsh lands.  When visiting Wolf Creek crater they soon discover how foreboding it can be.  They meet Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) a strange person protecting his turf with force.  The unsuspecting trio discover how evil Mick can be as they fight to survive the bloody carnage he unleashes.

The first sequel to a local horror film made, ‘Wolf Creek 2’ delivers.  Whilst the original’s thumping impact is missing, its successor effectively expands its horizons.  This is clearly evident in the superb cinematography with the vast landscape becoming Mick’s bloody playground.  His knowledge of the various vistas gives him an advantage against the poor souls he meets.  It would be wrong to say one ‘admires’ his grisly abilities but how he traps his prey sets him apart from his fellow horrific brethren.

Director McLean has clearly copied from the horror franchise template perfected by Hollywood.  A cross between the ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘Halloween’ series, the ‘Wolf Creek’ films aim to conjure scares at minimal costs.  It succeeds due to some decent characterisation and avoiding becoming yet another dull ‘slice and dice’ yarn.  Jarratt makes his role truly repulsive and yet instantly recognisable making him scarier.  The small cast imbue some personality with their potentially doomed characters as they try to out-wit the outback psychopath.

As bloody and gory as you’d expect ‘Wolf Creek 2’ manages not to be a simple re-tread of its forebear.  Adding to its growing mythology it’s a shocking ride for horror fans even if it may not do much for the local tourism industry.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.

Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.

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Movie Review ... Are We Officially Dating?

 

Also Known As That Awkward Moment

AWOD_A4poster‘Are We Officially Dating?’ tries to be an antidote to relationship movies.  Discarding the sweeping violins, lingering looks and melodrama, it stokes the romantic fires with a comedic sheen.  It has much of the complexities relationships conjure with various entanglements ripe for humour.  ‘Are We Officially Dating?’ only partially succeeds despite a solid cast.

Jason (Zac Efron) is afraid of lasting relationships.  A dedicated ‘commitment-phobe’, his carefree existence occasionally irks his close friends Daniel (Miles Teller) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan).  Both with significant others and whose lives are changed when their long-term partners suddenly dump them.  Now a single trio, they make a pact to remain so.  This is easier said than done with new ladies weakening their resolve ensuring their days of single-dom are potentially short ones.

Spinning another variation on the ‘boys behaving badly’ concept ‘Are We Officially Dating?’ never finds its own identity.  It’s very derivative of other films and turns into the type of relationship film it attempts to mock.  There are few moments offering genuine surprises with various romantic clich├ęs swiftly surfacing. Tom Gormican directs with little flair with the comedy and drama awkwardly mixed.

‘Are We Officially Dating?’ isn’t a total write-off as it has some appealing qualities.  The performances are better than the generally sub-standard material which frequently slips into crudity for laughs.  Efron and his co-stars display genuine chemistry ensuring you believe in their character’s friendship.  How their search for love changes their bond and their reaction to the new women in their lives provides interest.

Whilst largely forgettable, ‘Are We Officially Dating?’ is reasonably amiable viewing.  Had it differentiated itself from similar films it may have worked better with the search for the definitive ‘romantic-comedy’ still as elusive as the love for which the characters search.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  5

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.

Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.

Official HomePage click HERE

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