christoph waltz

‘Big Eyes’ is a fairy tale in disguise

At first glance, Tim Burton’s latest, Big Eyes, appears to be a departure from the filmmaker’s general proclivities towards the grotesque and fantastical. Scissor-handed youths, murderous barbers, and obnoxious ghouls are nowhere to be found in this deceptively straightforward biopic of kitsch-master Walter Keane and his wife, Margaret. A cursory glance at the film might lead one to question just what Burton thinks he’s doing in the realm of realism.

‘Horrible Bosses 2’ holds comedy hostage

There’s nothing more depressing than a lazy comedy, and Horrible Bosses 2 suffers from a terminal case of laziness. Instead of gleefully diving into its richly-black premise, it settles for obvious sight gags and uninspired improvisations. A talented comedic cast is wasted on material that aims for mediocrity and hits the target over and over again. There simply aren’t enough laughs here to justify this film’s existence.

‘The Zero Theorem’ sees Terry Gilliam in his comfort zone, for worse rather than better

Rather than the political surveillance looked at in Brazil, corporate surveillance is the primary focus, though the film’s weak digs at both that and the impersonal nature of our online modern age lack any of the bite of the earlier film. Exploration of the latter idea certainly isn’t helped by the writing of Bainsley, a character lacking in any agency of her own. Thierry is victim to an uncomfortable amount of fetishistic objectification, present even outside of the few scenes in which it contextually makes a little sense. Kim Griest’s well-rounded, independent heroine is just one of the ways in which Brazil still has punch today as a key science fiction work; The Zero Theorem, an effort that never excels, is a light shove at best.

GFF 2014: ‘The Zero Theorem’ sees Terry Gilliam in his comfort zone, for worse rather than better

Though writer Pat Rushin scripted and conceived the story of The Zero Theorem, one can be forgiven for assuming Terry Gilliam came up with the narrative himself, being that it comes across as the work of someone who either saw every film Gilliam’s ever made or just happened to direct them. Indeed, The Zero Theorem sees Gilliam very much in his storytelling and thematic comfort zones, though sadly to diminishing returns. It openly scrounges scraps from earlier efforts, especially Brazil, but has little idea how to develop its ever so slightly different ideas beyond thin sketches.

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