Category Archives: Reviews

Camille Claudel 1915 (Bruno Dumont, 2013)

The contemporary king of grim French cinema, director Bruno Dumont’s latest, the stark Camille Claudel 1915, is based on personal letters and medical records regarding the lengthy institutionalisation of Camille Claudel (Binoche), the former sculptor who developed schizophrenia…

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Godzilla (Gareth Edwards, 2014)

Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla revival is a beautifully directed, perfectly paced blockbuster that effortlessly veers between enormity and quieter, almost transcendental, moments. It inherits more than a trick or two from prime Spielberg and fully earns favourable comparisons to the likes of Jurassic Park and Close Encounters of the Third Kind in its balancing of awe-inspiring spectacle and the accompanying terror induced by its world-altering premise…

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The Raid 2 (Gareth Evans, 2014)

Gareth Evans’ The Raid took place over one day in a single locale; its narrative had an economy akin to old-school John Carpenter. For the sequel, written, edited and directed by Evans, the filmmaker’s vision expands to the infiltration of a criminal network over several years. It is a sprawling, convoluted 150-minute saga built on a story framework that’s simultaneously simple and impenetrable, wherein most of its kinetic choreography is transformed into arduous onslaughts that numb rather than thrill…

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Muppets Most Wanted (James Bobin, 2014)

A musical nod to diminishing returns for sequels opens Muppets Most Wanted, and while this is an overall inferior product compared to its immediate forerunner, as well as other earlier films starring the felt motley crew, there’s enough entertainment here to separate it from nadirs like Muppets from Space and that Wizard of Oz TV movie with Quentin Tarantino.

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Though still brimming with some narrative bloat, the second Hobbit feature is overall a considerable improvement on its meandering, tonally scattered predecessor. Less shapeless, though not free of venturing down uninteresting tangents (Hi, Legolas), it feels much more confident and moves with a greater sense of urgency…

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Elysium (Neill Blomkamp, 2013)

South Africa-set District 9 had a clear apartheid allegory built into its hyper-violent sci-fi stylings, and writer-director Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up film is similarly concerned with social commentary, this time to do with accessible healthcare and immigration. District 9 wasn’t subtle, but the solemn Elysium is even more thinly veiled and oppressive with its socialist slant; it also proves a much weaker film overall…

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Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, 2013)

Fantasy man Guillermo del Toro’s latest, Pacific Rim, is a large-scale love letter to Japanese sci-fi, but also an accessible blockbuster imbued with delightful eccentricities amid its broad elements…

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