“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” directed by Adam McKay

Movie, 2013 Crass, disjointed, ridiculous but funny reprise of a gang of newsreaders and their resurrection following their appointment to the fledgling world of ‘rolling news.’ A film which doesn’t take itself in any way seriously and doesn’t really invite much in the way of comment or critique either, but which delivers some high octane, daft action, plenty of throwbacks to the original film and … Continue reading “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” directed by Adam McKay

‘Asunder,’ by Chloe Aridjis

Novel, 2013 Story of a long-time gallery attendant, who exists on the edge of London’s creative and Bohemian sets, and whose routines are distorted, firstly by the death of a colleague, then by people from her past and present. Marie’s adventures and trips to an unidentified Northern city, then Paris, suggest a voyage of self-discovery and self-reflection, with the journey mapped out and related back … Continue reading ‘Asunder,’ by Chloe Aridjis

“Red Two,” directed by Dean Parisot

Movie, 2013 Flash, forgettable and largely unremarkable dirge, in which a team of crack somebodies, played by A-list screen presences, swan through death, brutality and one tired scene rammed into another, globetrotting and collecting an increasingly wearying body count as they go. While some of the humour may have been wasted on me, what I did pick up was disagreeable and unpleasant and did nothing … Continue reading “Red Two,” directed by Dean Parisot

“The Heat”, directed by Paul Feig

Movie, 2013 Buddy cop-movie, which follows most of the formulae and tropes of the genre, with the two chalk and cheese protagonists played be female leads. Which, in itself, gives a little edge, and just about gives it some interest for a viewer who might otherwise tire of the set pieces, or pull up a little at the blasé attitudes towards police brutality which is … Continue reading “The Heat”, directed by Paul Feig

“Prince Avalanche”, directed by David Gordon Green

Movie, 2013 Buddy movie set in Texas, in which a couple of road repairers help each other through a few trials and tribulations of their interconnected lives. A film with echoes of Beckett and Magnus Mills, which drifts along but holds the viewers’ attention. One of those independent productions when everything that happens does so off camera, and the very most is made of the … Continue reading “Prince Avalanche”, directed by David Gordon Green

"Now You See Me," directed by Louis Leterrier

Movie, 2013 Clever and tricksy blockbuster about four magicians – the Four Horsemen – who plot and counter-plot against legal and corporate agencies, keeping one step ahead with some outrageous, elaborate pranks and tricks. A film which puts a little too much emphasis on action and atmosphere, meaning that none of its characters are both lovable or believable. Entertaining yes, although everything’s driven home with … Continue reading "Now You See Me," directed by Louis Leterrier

"The Borderlands", directed by Elliot Goldner

Movie, 2013 Blair Witch influenced film about three Vatican-employed paranormal investigators sent to a desolate church and the home of a slightly deranged priest. A slow build-up means we learn a good deal about two of the main protagonists, although the characterisations – particularly Gray – aren’t wholly engaging or likable. There are some effective set pieces, with the unseen flashes of activity and sound … Continue reading "The Borderlands", directed by Elliot Goldner

"The Shadow of the Crescent Moon", by Fatima Bhutto

Novel, 2013 Riveting story of three brothers in Pakistan and, more strikingly, two of the women in the family. Everyday life is shown, from three different perspectives and responses to a harsh environment. While the bombs and terror give a very visceral backdrop, it’s really the domestic strains which give the book its real tension. A really well constructed and well told narrative which skillfully … Continue reading "The Shadow of the Crescent Moon", by Fatima Bhutto

"American Hustle", directed by David O Russell

Movie, 2013 One of those films, of high quality and excellent production values, which looks like a number of other similar films and whose plot is overly fiendish and involved. Let these twists and turns wash over you and it’s still  visual treat, with a hard hitting cast and period visuals and soundtrack helping make this film enjoyable. A few curious features, such as the … Continue reading "American Hustle", directed by David O Russell

"Identity Thief", directed by Gordon Seth

Movie, 2013 Undemanding road comedy which follows many genre rules, including the happy ending and the goo around family, and yet does so successfully. This is an entertaining, funny film, with well worked set pieces and some interesting characters. The dark elements of the plot are neither shirked or taken with any sense of gravity, so there’s a balance of sorts. The ending’s never in … Continue reading "Identity Thief", directed by Gordon Seth