We use cookies. By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies.

    Accept this cookie Find out more






Movie Reviews – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Movie Reviews – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Movie Reviews this week looks at the dark comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel, starring the stalwart Ralph Fiennes (The Constant Gardener), and the little known Tony Revolori as M. Gustave and Zero respectively.
It tells the story of the older Zero now Mr Moustafa, played by the impeccable F. Murray Abraham (Homeland), as he tells his story to Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes), as to how he came the owner of the Grand Budapest Hotel.

It tells his story from his start as a bellboy, who comes into contact with the eccentric owner of the hotel Monsier Gustave M. played charmingly by Ralph Fiennes. He is immediately given an impromptu interview, and there on becomes Monsier Gustave’s trusted confidante.
It seems Monsier Gustave is all about satisfying his financially well off guests, and according to Gustave the requirements must that they must be rich, blond and old.
Matters take a sudden twist when one of Monsieur Gustave’s regularly arrivals to the hotel takes a turn for the worse, and Monsieur Gustave is fingered as the prime suspect, by none other than the woman’s family.
What ensures is a darkly hilarious journey as Zero and Monsieur Gustave try to prove his innocence, inbetween meeting characters from the world of hoteliers played by some famous faces, notably Bill Murray, Harvey Kietel, Jeff Goldblum and Adrien Brody.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is an oddly charming movie that initially gives the impression that it might be a comedy drama, but it is so much more darker, and takes the viewer on a convoluted journey of ignorant bliss. It tells the tale of a world long gone through oddity and mirth. The cinematography in the Grand Budapest Hotel is what makes it stand out, from its comparisons with cold war era espionage mixed with the bright effervescent colors of a Swiss chocolate, it certainly serves up a treat.

Gustave M. (Ralph Fiennes) with Zero (Tony Revolori)

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with good reviews of great movies you don’t want to miss.

Narcos Season 1 – Review

Narcos Season 1 – Review

Movie Reviews this week looks at the very well made narcotics true crime series Narcos Season 1.
It tells the story of notorious Colombian drugs kingpin Pablo Escobar played impressively by Wagner Moura (Spider in Elysium). It isn’t quite a biography as it picks up his story with Escobar already a well known drugs smuggler having progressed from smuggling marijuana with his network of smuggling routes.
The story of the Colombian drug wars is told from the point of view of a local U.S. DEA(Drug and Enforcement Agency) officer Steve Murphy, played by Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl).

We start his story with Agent Murphy arresting hippies for smoking marijuana in the U.S. but having seen the devastative effects of cocaine on the human brain (there’s a very drastic comparison at the beginning that sheds light on this), he is propelled to do something about it, and moves to Colombia, with his wife Connie, played by the gorgeous Joanna Christie (Misfits).
In Colombia he is assisted by Horacio Carrillo played by Maurice Compte (Breaking Bad), and his American partner in the DEA, Javier Pena played by Pedro Pascal (more familiar as the Scorpion in Game of Thrones). The fact that Agent Murphy doesn’t speak the language presents him a barrier when dealing with informants and criminals. That however is the least of his problem, as trying to take down a Colombian drug lord, he meets the inevitable wall of corruption, that seeps right into the government, that gives him and his agency a level of frustration rarely encountered before; not knowing who to trust.

Some of the scenes were done for dramatic content, but regardless the known true parts of the story will leave viewers unfamilar with the Pablo Escobar story shocked as to how one man could single handedly cause so much chaos in a country.

In light of what is known about his activities, Escobar is presented at all times neither a hero nor a villain, his story is simply told along with true events at the time. In his relationship with his wife, and mother, and children, and close cousin Gustavo Gaviria played by Juan Pablo Raba, he is presented favourably, and his constant donations to the poor did help him ingrain himself to many of the poor and disenfranchised of Colombia. We get little insights as to how many of the population viewed him, even with pictures in certain areas of him being presented as a saint. Giving hard cash to people to encourage them to vote by proxy for him did go a great deal to entrench him with many of the people.

The shocking body count and ease of loss of life during this “Narcotics war” is neither shied from nor hidden, and surprisingly actual footage and pictures are intertwined with the story line, giving it that realistic touch, almost like a docu-drama.

Although the end result is well known, how that was achieved, and the tussle between Escobar, the Colombian government, the police, the DEA, the US government and many other organisations is intriguing to watch, which makes this series compelling.

Narcos Season 1 is an intriguing insight into one of the most violent eras during the last 30-40 years in the drugs war, and emphasizes how power corrupts.

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with great reviews of good movies you don’t want to miss.

Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura) stares at a load of cash

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with good reviews of great movies you don’t want to miss.

Movie Reviews – Creed

Movie Reviews – Creed

Movie Reviews this week looks at the Rocky spinoff movie Creed starring the very impressive Michael B. Johnson (The Fantastic Four) as Adonis Johnson, son of the legendary Apollo Creed (played by Carl Weathers, we only get to see flashbacks of the original Creed), no genuine Rocky fan needs an introduction on, and ofcourse Sylvester Stallone as the iconic Rocky passing the flame to his younger incumbent.
We join the movie as Adonis is in a foster home; actually in detention for getting into one of his regular fights, whereupon he gets a visit from Mary Anne Creed, played by Phylicia Rashad, we know her better as Mrs Huxtable from the Cosby show, who takes him away from the foster care life and he lives with her in a life of luxury. We would assume that most people would be happy to settle with such a life having had such a disruptive upbringing.
We find Adonis years later in a cosy business job, but true to form he is not satified or getting any pleasure from. He clandestinely fights in underground boxing tournaments in Mexico, where he is so far undefeated. He prompty hands in his notice to his cosy office job, much to the dismay of his mother, he goes to Philadelphia in search of the legendary Rocky to train him as a professional boxer. It turns out Adonis is no stranger to boxing after having fought in Mexico with a record of 15 fights and 15 wins, but he wants the world stage something underground boxing tournaments cannot give him. Rocky on the other hand is more content running his restaurant business and seems to have left his old boxing life behind (which came as a little bit of a surprise, as it wasn’t that long ago that he stepped into the ring). Rocky initially refuses to train Adonis, but knowing that Adonis is his great friend’s son, the desire to make him a better fighter, and to continue something of legacy with his friend’s son is just too great an opportunity to pass by.
The theme in Creed is similar in many of the Rocky themes, the personal struggle to be the best regardless of what life throws at you. Romantic interest for Adonis is the gorgeous Tessa Thompson (Selma, who looks very similar to one of the Huxtable’s daughters) who plays Bianca, an alternative pop musician.
The fight scenes are realistic, and even genuine boxing fans would be hard pressed to dismiss the boxing scenes as made for tv, as the trainers and routines they go through looks like the real thing. Creed is a fantastic movie along the themes of the Rocky saga, that will ring a bell with any Rocky or boxing fan.

Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) with Adonis (Michael B. Jordan)

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with good reviews of great movies you don’t want to miss.

Movie Reviews – Birdman: Or(The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Movie Reviews – Birdman: Or(The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Movie Reviews this week looks at the odd mix of comedy and drama aka dramedy Bird Man or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, starring the always impressive Michael Keaton (Beetlejuice), and Edward Norton (American History X).

It stars Keaton as Riggan a former tv super hero of the titular name, who is now considerably older, and now a washed up actor. He invests everything he has into a play about love, aided by his daughter Sam, played by the gorgeous Emma Stone (The Amazing Spiderman), and helped by a charismatic stage veteran Mike played by Edward Norton.

We get to see the action from a documentary style angle, and it is charming to see the actors move from one room to the next and continue their impromptu conversations, and those conversations are what makes this movie stand out, not only are those conversations relevant they are also hilarious.

Matters get complicated as the teaser for the show begins to run into all manner of troubles, notably Riggan getting irritated with Mike as he doesn’t seem to follow the rules, and would rather have things authentic so as to be believable for the audience. Riggan also has unresolved issues with his long suffering ex Sylvia played by Amy Ryan (Escape Plan).

Riggan has risked everything into the play, and having squandered his fortune from the Birdman movies, this is all he has left, and despite pleas from Sam that he is no longer relevant and should move on, Riggan is determined to see the play through, even against an outwardly hostile critic, Tabitha played by Lindsay Duncan (Alice in Wonderland).

Added to all this, he is hearing voices that remind him of his old super hero life, but alarmingly we the audience are unable to figure out if he is still sane, or whether the voices and what he does are real or he is going delusional.

Bird Man is one of the oddest movies you will see all year, in terms of improvisations, oddity and tongue in cheek diagloue it has it all, and you can see why it did so well at the oscars, it’s self deprecriating humor trying to be relevant in a world that has passed you by is not lost on the audience and more importantly its stars; and the acting from the theatre point of view is top notch all through.

Riggan (Michael Keaton) has a conversation with his younger alter-ego

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with good reviews of great movies you don’t want to miss.

Movie Reviews – Nightcrawler

Movie Reviews – Nightcrawler

Movie reviews this week looks at the dark thriller Nightcrawler starring the always dependable Jake Gyllenhall (Prince of Persia: Sands of time), as a down on his luck loner, seeking to get into a business that will earn him an income.

Contrary to the name of the movie, this is not related to a comic superhero, but the name given to on the scene videographers that film incidences of homicide, and accidents for local nightly news.

We join the movie with Louis Bloom played by Jake Gyllenhaal, actively looking for a job, he finds himself some construction materials, and without hesitation pockets them, and proceeds to sell them to any one who is willing to pay for them. The audience is left a void as to how Louis became this desperate but doesn’t get in the way of the story. He makes a good pitch as to why he should be hired, after obtaining the construction materials to a local construction firm, to which he is bluntly put down, despite his best effort, the prospective employer tells him that he will not hire a thief, which Louis nor the audience can argue with.

At this stage you are wondering if you can possibly side with our protagonist and his moral centre is certainly whatever works in getting him where he wants to be.

By some off chance he happens to come across Joe Loder played by the stalwart Bill Paxton (Big Love), filming a car crash for the local news, and queries how to get into that line of work.

Eventually he ends up meeting with Nina Romina played by the gorgeous Renee Russo(Thor, Lethal Weapon 3), and you can tell immediately there is some kind of romantic interest, albeit initially it is all from Louis. His attempts to flirt with her are met with “I am twice your age”.

Louis luckily finds some footage that Nina would like to air, and with an eye for what sells, he focuses on this line of work, competing with Joe in the process, to be the first to get to any macabre story.

Nina and Louis have a somewhat platonic relationship, and the audience is taken through Louis’s obession to initially filming items that are news worthy to bordering on creating the news, which could become problematic for all concerned.

Nightcrawler is a fascinating insight into a world most of us have never seen; a paparazzi obsession with gore and violence, and Jake Gyllenhaal gives an Oscar worthy performance in this dark thriller.

Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) in the newsroom

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with good reviews of good movies you don’t want to miss.

Movie Reviews – Ex-Machina Film

Movie Reviews – Ex-Machina Film

Movie Reviews this week looks at the fascinating sci-fi dark drama Ex-Machina.

It stars Domnhall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2) as Caleb a young programmer who has won a prize to work on a project along with his employer Nathan; played charmingly by Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year, something about his intense stare reminds me of a young Al Pacino), the owner of the largest search engine in the world (the equivalent of Google in this fictional piece).

We join the movie as Caleb is flown to meet his employer on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere; we get an idea of just how well off Nathan is, as Caleb asks the pilot; as they have been flying over expanse greenery for some time, when they will reach Nathan’s property, and he mentions matter-of-fact that they are already there. The helicopter pilots drops him off a good distance away from the house, and tells him “that this is the closest he is allowed to the house”, which signals curiosity as to what Caleb has let himself in on.

Like many aspiring programmers and indeed employees in awe of being invited into their employer’s home, Caleb is eager to impress his employer having been picked miraculously for this once in a life time opportunity. He tries his best to engage on an intellectual level with Nathan, once he is told the purpose of his visit is to conduct a “Turing test” on an A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), called Ava, played by the gorgeous Alicia Vikander (Seventh Son). As explained in the movie the Turing test is to determine if an A.I. can fool a human into believing he/she is not dealing with an A.I.

Nathan gives the impression that these are just two guys hanging out, while Caleb gets hooked in by Ava, and the audience themselves are not quite sure if Ava is genuinely conscious or part of her programming. This theme may have been visited numerous times in other movies, but not quite like this, and the audience will be spellbound, as the lines of antagonist or protagonist are not clearly defined.

This is a fascinating look into A.I. from a different standpoint that has been delved into in other movies, and the audience is drawn in trying to figue out if it will all end well for any party.
Calum(Domnhall Gleeson) discusses with Nathan (Oscar Isaac)

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with good reviews of great movies you don’t want to miss.

Movie Reviews – Homeland Season 1

Movie Reviews – Homeland Season 1

Movie Reviews this week looks at the fascinating terrorist thriller, Homeland starring the gorgeous Claire Danes (forever immortalised as Juliet opposite Leonard DiCaprio’s Romeo) as Carrie Mathison, an analyst for Homeland Security following the aftermath of 9/11.
This differs from many crime thrillers, in that our protagonist is not quite as well adjusted as we are used to seeing, notably being that Carrie is bipolar, something she has hidden from her superiors at Homeland Security, the main reason being she would lose her security clearance, and the trust of all who have heeded her suggestions over the years, notably Saul Berenson, played magnificently as a father figure by Mandy Patinkin (something about him is extremely familiar but I can’t seem to pinpoint where I saw him).

The series follows the miraculous capture and return of an American POW held in Iraq for 8 years, but not before Carrie’s source tells her that an American POW (Prisoner of War), Nicholas Brody played amazing well complete with an American accent, by Damian Lewis; has been turned, i.e. has defected for the most wanted terrorist post Osama Bin Laden, Abu Nazir played by Navid Negahban.

Carrie takes this information as gospel, and her disorder coupled with the firm belief that Brody is her guy, causes her to scrutinise every bit of information she obtains, to the point that the audience is beginning to wonder if she is going over the edge in pursuit of someone that could well be innocent.

The beauty of this series is that it keeps you at the edge of your seat, we are never quite sure if Carrie, acting purely from her desire to prevent another 9/11 or is acting out as a result of her disorder is unravelling before our eyes, in between the strain on Brody’s relationship with his wife Jessica played by the gorgeous Morena Baccarin (Stargagte SG-1), who had a fling with Mike Faber played by Diego Klattenhoff; one of his best friends while they all assumed he was dead, either way the buildup through Homeland Season One, although slow at first makes for mesmerising viewing towards the finale.
Homeland Season 1
Movie Reviews is constantly updated with great reviews of good movies you don’t want to miss.

The Ides of March

The Ides of March

Movie Reviews this week looks at the George Clooney produced and directed The Ides of March, starring George Clooney (Ocean’s 11) and Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) as Stephen Meyers and Governor Mike Morris respectively.

It tells the story of the Democratic primaries to find out who will lead the Democratic party in the soon to be held presidential elections, but as the William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar inspired title hints at, the focus of the movie is on the background incidents involving the media spin doctors, who mainly represent Governor Morris, Stephen Meyers and Paul Zara played by the always impressive Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War).

We join the story as Stephen tests out the microphone and surroundings ahead of a much anticipated debate between Senator Morris and his main rival for the Democratic Presidential Nominee. Not much is focused on the other candidate, in fact we hardly hear a word from him during the entire movie, instead the focus of the movie surrounds the backroom shenanigans in the world of political spin doctors, which Stephen and Paul are well adapt at; as they try to give Senator Morris every advantage in the race to the Democratic Presidential Nominee, against the opposition’s spin doctor, Tom Duffy brilliantly played by Paul Giamati (Shoot Em’ Up).
It also stars the gorgeous Evan Rachel Wood (almost unrecognisable from The Wrestler) playing Molly Stearns, an intern who has joined Senator Morris’s team, and immediately sets her eyes on Stephen, there is an amusing scene where Molly asks Stephen how old he is, he asks her, how old does he look like, she says questioningly “30”? To which he replies “You think I’m 30”? Just as she is about to apologetically guess again, he tells her he is 30, when asked to guess her age, he says 20, she replies that he is correct, and the conversation moves into the morality of such a young girl being with “such an old man”.

It turns out that Senator Morris’s campaign has hit something of a cul de sac, as they require the 356 delegates of a Senator Thompson played charmingly by Jeffrey Wright (fantastic as Colin Powell in W); or else they might lose the Primary, Tom Duffy is also eager on the task of getting Senator Thompson on board, as his vote is the difference that can decide the winner.

As political movies goes, The Ides of March is a fantastic movie with some brilliant acting, dealing with a plethora of political issues such as loyalty, integrity and the things that some are willing to do for what they believe is right. It comes as no surprise that The Ides Of March is touted as being a firm favourite for several Oscar nominations.

Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) with his political adviser Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) in The Ides of March
Movie Reviews is constantly updated with good movies and recommended releases like the The Ides of March

Warrior Movie

Warrior Movie

Movie Reviews this week looks at the highly acclaimed martial arts drama Warrior.
It stars the very impressive Tom Hardy (Bronson) as Tommy Conlon complete with an American accent, as a war vet, who happens to arrive at the door step of his estranged father Paddy Conlon played by the always dependable Nick Nolte (The Fisher King).
It turns out the reason for the estrangement is that Paddy was a violent husband, and his wife took one of her sons Tommy to get away from him.
Even though Paddy tells his son he has been sober now for a 1000 days, Tommy is not impressed, and it turns out that Tommy is here for the main reason of a MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) tournament with a prize money of $5 million, and is as detached from his father emotionally as you can get.
We find out Paddy has another son Brendan played by Joel Edgerton (Smokin’ Aces), who he is also detached from, a physics teacher who spices up the lessons in class to gain the attention (and it must be mentioned he does it very successfully, there is a memorable moment where he tries to get the class to understand Newton’s first law, Mass equals acceleration with a baseball bat). Brendan’s has a lovely wife Tess played by the gorgeous Jennifer Morrison (House) and two lovely daughters. It turns out Brendan is behind on the mortgage and is facing foreclosure. Telling his wife that he is bouncing at a local club, he enters into a MMA competition at a parking lot, that is caught on Youtube, much to the surprise of his students in his Physics class. Although he wins the bout, his wife isn’t neither is his faculty head at the school, and he is given a leave of absence.
With Brendan facing certain foreclosure he explains to his wife that entering the MMA competition with the five million prize money is their only way out, she reluctantly agrees but not before putting up a fight as she recalled the last time he was in a bout and she had to pick him up from the hospital. Brendan turns to his friend and long time trainer Frank Campana played by Frank Grillo (Minority Report)to get him in shape for the tournament, while Tommy turns to his father, although they are at loggerheads most of the time, Tommy knows his father is a very good trainer, and Tommy intends to use the money for an army comrade’s family. With some of the biggest names in MMA coming to the tournament you wonder if Brendan especially has made a fatal mistake.

Warrior is a very intriguing movie, and you feel for the characters as their desperate fight for survival physically and emotionally takes its toil.
Tommy (Tom Hardy) and Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) in Warior

Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Subscribe to our RSS Feed

How would you like to get updates on our movie reviews delivered directly to your email address?
We now offer email delivery of our great movie reviews directly to your inbox, subscribe and confirm your email address below and never miss a review against
Subscribe to our RSS Feed