The Grand Budapest Hotel - A quintessential Wes Anderson film, Grand Budapest brings beautiful handmade production design alongside an eclectic ensemble cast. The central relationship between hotel manager M. Gustave (a hilarious Ralph Feinnes) and lobby boy Zero Mustafa (newcomer Tony Revoloni) is funny, offbeat and surprising.
Bad Words - Jason Bateman directs and stars in this modestly-scaled black comedy, about a scoundrel competes against grade-schoolers in a national spelling tournament. Bateman’s self-loathing and disdain for everyone around him feels bitterly honest, and is often hilarious to watch.
Enemy - A dense and fascinating mood piece from Canadian director Denis Villeneuve. Enemy stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a history professor who becomes obsessed with finding his exact double. Or is he? Enemy raises more questions than it ultimately dares to answer, but Gyllenhaal’s evocative central performance and Villeneuve’s imposing, hypnotic mood will keep adventurous moviegoers caught in its dark spell.
Divergent - A future society separates people into different factions based on personality traits. As silly YA adaptations go, this is more watchable than Twilight, thanks largely to a credible and commanding performance by Shailene Woodley.
Noah - Writer/director Darren Aronofsky portrays the biblical hero as a brooding, violent and unreasonable threat to those around him. The first half of Noah is awash in unconvincing pixelated effects, while the second half is a raw and stripped down existential drama. Neither half fully works on it s own, making Noah the movie something of a spectacular disaster.
Cheap Thrills - A sick and often shocking “dark comedy” that delights in the disturbing and transgressive. It’s a game of “dare” taken to its most unwholesome extremes. The character logic doesn’t always hold up, and there are misogynistic undertones throughout in this male-centric movie, but at least give Cheap Thrills credit for firmly living up to its title.