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  • Live by Night

    Live by Night

    ★★

    ooft, what went wrong? Ben Affleck the director can't salvage the plodding, meandering script he's been served up by Ben Affleck the scriptwriter, and can't compensate for it by rousing a sufficiently exciting performance out of Ben Affleck the actor.

    There are so many unnecessary subplots here. I guess Affleck set out to make his gangster epic but aside from the KKK section, none of the threads or characters are interesting enough for it to pay off. What we're left with is a series of meetings, a smattering of briefly really good scenes, but overall a disappointing sense of what might have been.

  • Sausage Party

    Sausage Party

    ★★★★

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but somewhere within this ludicrously puerile, offensive comedy that obeys every Pixar plot point and is stuffed to the gills with ethnic stereotypes and lame puns, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have secretly hidden the most politically prescient film of the year.

    Of course, even without that subtext, it’s still absolutely, constantly screaming-with-laughter hilarious. Every time you think “they won’t cross that line”, they not only cross it but thrust two fingers at it.…

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  • Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange

    ★★★

    A mixed bag.

    In terms of set pieces and visuals, this might be the most spectacular thing I've seen at the cinema since The Matrix.

    In terms of storyline and characterisation, this might be the first time Marvel have really gotten it wrong. Cumberbatch is nondescript with a poor accent in an underwritten origin and Mads Mikkelsen the most criminal waste of a villain yet. Everything from Strange's introduction up to his arrival in Nepal is a mess, and although…

  • The Revenant

    The Revenant

    ★★★★

    Harsh, brutal, uncompromising, beautiful.

    I'm not interested in the Oscar talk for Leo (truth be told, the best performances in this are Tom Hardy and Domnhall Gleeson. Leo is definitely due one but in this he is basically just reacting to being hurled around) but Inarritu has taken the flash and technical brilliance of Birdman and added some actual substance and a proper theme to it, resulting in a much more satisfying picture.