Tag Archives: Steve Buscemi

Hotel Transylvania 3 Review

When in doubt, take the team on tour or holiday. That is the inevitable sign of a flagging franchise when characters must leave the backdrop that accompanied them for the previous instalments in the hopes of finding fresh faces and feature-length antics abroad. Genndy Tartakovsky is sellotaped to the director’s chair for his third and final time, like a lengthy S.A.W. trap. His release is an elevation to producer for the fourth feature. That is either a blessing or a curse, but for his work on Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, he has outdone himself. The bar is pushed higher and higher, not because the ensemble grows frighteningly large but because boats and cruises offer the series a change of pace.

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Hotel Transylvania 2 Review

Nice it is that it all worked out for the caricature horror characters in the first Hotel Transylvania, they did not need to drag Mel Brooks, kicking and screaming, into this series. That is just foul play. Genndy Tartakovsky returns to the chair behind the camera for another antic-filled outing for these characters turned brand. Where it is hard to argue with the quality of animation found in the character designs and the bright and sparkly monsters that appear throughout Hotel Transylvania 2, it is easy to knock its dull story and exasperated ensemble striking out once again. The “old-school” vampire coming to knock out the new age of monsters accepting humans into their ranks with a sequel that clutches at straws.

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Hotel Transylvania Review

Monster houses and the trivial adaptation of once frightening literature classics is the inevitable outcome and prospect of working to hit references and deadlines of a Hollywood machine that is penetrated by consumerism. If it works for Illumination Entertainment and those sickly yellow Minions then it can work for the once-revolutionary staples of the Universal Monsters franchise. They have been tossed around from studio to studio with remarkable frequency. Bram Stoker, had he lived long enough to see the revolutionary state of feature filmmaking, would no doubt be turning in his grave. It would be another century before his original vision of a monster haunting Whitby would be given the Adam Sandler treatment, which is what Hotel Transylvania does, among other horrors.

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The Boss Baby Review

The odds of Alec Baldwin being cast as the eponymous role in this just for a pun on his bit-part brilliance in Glengarry Glen Ross is rather the coincidence. Cookies, as The Boss Baby himself puts it, “are for closers.” Closers of what, though? Closers of the browser that hosts this horridly animated piece of filth and terror? The Boss Baby garnered attention more because of its application to meme culture and meandering children than it ever did for its style or its substance. “What adventure lies in wait for you today?” asks an alarm clock. Who knows? Who cares? The Boss Baby certainly has adventure at its heart, but one that does not quite grip the mettle of its meaning or story, instead focusing on some destitute desire of being both funny and sentimental at the same time. It is one or the other. Take it or leave it. 

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Big Fish Review

Why must Englishmen be told they can do a convincing American accent? It leads only to disaster. Ewan McGregor finds this out with his leading role in Big Fish, the oddball family drama from Tim Burton. His hick-like accent is an odd approach to the role of Edward Bloom, a man whose passions are huge. Bloom has the material of a larger-than-life man, so larger-than-life performers are necessary to bring him to life. Albert Finney and McGregor are the men responsible for this, and under the direction of Burton, are capable of drawing on their own desires to live a free and famed lifestyle. That is the goal of many, is it not? Big Fish understands that, somewhat anyway.  

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Miller’s Crossing Review

As the worried man is guided through the forest, there is a striking conviction in the emotion Joel Coen displays that makes not just for remarkable viewing, but an uncomfortably real and vivid experience. It is a moment that has stuck with me, not for any artistic or technical reason, but one of overwhelming emotion. Captured within is the fear of death and the identification of life led poorly. Antagonist or protagonist, the characters found within Miller’s Crossing live life as though they were already dead. Doomed and disgraced, they shuffle themselves from location to location, violence in their hands and anger in their hearts. Coen captures that magnificently, and it forms one of the many great angles taken by this prohibition-era crime thriller blend.

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Armageddon Review

Asteroids are always threatening Earth. Just today, there were two that skittered on by like bowling balls rolling along the gutter. There’ll be five more in just as many days over the first week of May. We have nothing to worry about. Armageddon thinks not. Instilling within its audience is a fear founded by the dinosaurs. It happened to them; it will happen to us. Michael Bay tends not to disappoint when blockbuster blowouts are concerned. As he opens with the immediate destruction of Earth, narration rolling on saying “…it will happen again, it’s just a question of when,” you get the feeling this is not just a threat from the sentient powers beyond the stars, but from Bay too.  

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Trees Lounge Review

Where do the losers and lost souls convene? Bars, apparently. They do so in Barfly, and Trees Lounge too. The likely story for these losers is that they are unhappy. Even films that do not centre themselves on sipping life away one swig at a time are finding themselves coupled with the dispassionate meaningless so many people cling to. Shaun of the Dead envisioned this well, with the slacker lifestyle crushing any hope of escapism or dream of life beyond the pint. Trees Lounge does this too. It shows pubs not as places of joy or place of social watering hole, but of a void that swallows up the down-on-their-luck and the misfits.  

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Reservoir Dogs Review

There’s something about the suits. Reservoir Dogs sticks out not just for its hypermasculinity and love of violence, its rich character studies and intertextual relations, but for its costume design. It helps that the freshman efforts of Quentin Tarantino provide such magnificent variety, even when struck with such a small budget for a project that, in an ideal world, would be flashier and deadlier. Less is more, though. As a writer, his script feels pulpy. As a director, his film feels professional. Blending the two is something that, as a creative, he strives for with every film he creates. The results do not always work, and in most cases, they are never better than his fast-paced, almost one-room crime thriller, which draws the obvious inspirations and influences of B-Movie brutality, harsh dialogue and simplicity in its story. Reservoir Dogs is the response to a lull in the market, a reaction that would catapult the genre, cast, and crew, to greatness. 

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Fargo Review

Straight and narrow roads coated with snow, the scenes depicted by Joel Coen in Fargo present an opportunity to admire the white coat of icy grimness, and the buried deceit hiding underneath. No person is sacred. They each battle their demons either privately and conspicuously or with public bravado and an uncaring glance at those around them. A tangled web presents itself almost immediately, as a collection of characters find themselves in over their heads in a series of events that destroy any sense or semblance of clarity. Fargo adapts this well, this collation of horrible moments and slimy characters comes to life, a spark is thrown into the torrential horrors of ignitable crimes and condescending, self-interested demons. 

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