Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson’s skills have been so finely honed that with The Grand Budapest Hotel, even audiences who aren’t fond of the quirks and tropes of Anderson’s films will find something to enjoy. Ralph Fiennes steals every scene he is in as the wrongfully accused concierge M. Gustave, who, along with his loyal lobby boy Zero (played by newcomer Tony Revolori) dash from caper to caper, stealing art, escaping prison, and avoiding the treacherous dealings of Adrien Brody and his thug, played by Willem Dafoe at his most ghoulish. The Grand Budapest Hotel has a lot to offer, as it is at once a comedy, a romance, a murder mystery and a nostalgia trip. Anderson is using everything in his bag of tricks, parading his impressive cast of regulars before the camera, using things like hotels and old books to evote a sense of the wonders of the past, and measuring the doses of comedy, tragedy and blood with true artistic precision. This film is a triumph for Wes Anderson, and will go down as one of his best. Whether you like Anderson’s films or not, you’ll have a damn good time.
4.5 out of 5

Knights of Badassdom
After years of stalled development, Knights of Badassdom was finally released, long after its stars had risen to fame on shows such as True Blood, Community and Game of Thrones. While the premise of a group of Live Action Roleplayers accidentally summoning a succubus that they have to kill is solid, and many of the LARPing jokes land well, the film feels slapdash, especially in its final act. After the giant roleplaying game begins, things quickly run out of steam and move into more traditional “monster at a summer camp” movie fare. It’s not bad, but things start feeling uninspired, which is a shame for a property with so much potential. The ending, in particular, lands with a thud, but perhaps the greatest crime this movie commits is under-using Peter Dinklage, in what could have been another iconic role. It’s too bad this wasn’t better.
2.5 out of 5

The Visitor
Hailed as the Holy Grail of insane psychedelic Italian movies, The Visitor is a must-see for fans of midnight movies and cult films. For starters, it doesn’t make any sense. The film opens with Jesus telling a group of kids with shaven heads about how God and the Devil were aliens, and God banished the Devil to earth using an army of birds. The Devil then changed into a human and impregnated a woman, so now, into every generation, a new incarnation of the Antichrist is born. In The Visitor, the Antichrist has taken the form of a young girl. The Visitor is extremely schizophrenic, with loads of dangling plot threads, characters who are introduced and then killed with no impact to the larger plot, and several cutaways to surreal stuff that come out of nowhere and leave just as quickly. Another curiosity that the movie offers is its strangely impressive cast, with a pre-fame Lance Henriksen in a lead role, Glenn Ford, Mel Ferrer and Shelly Winters in supporting roles, and featuring acting turns from film directors John Huston and Sam Peckinpah. Upon its initial release, The Visitor was decried as a mashup ripoff of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Omen 2, and I guess I can kinda see it. But really, this is just a trippy, bizarre film from the 70’s, and if you like weird b-movies, then don’t pass this one up.
3.5 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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