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  • Django Unchained

    Django Unchained 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 22 Jan, 2013

    Fast, furious and vastly entertaining with a majestic performance from Christoph Waltz. It is long and although does not seem too long in the cinema, does on reflection have scenes, like the carriage ride through the plantation, that might have been trimmed or indeed the KKK scene that reminds of Blazing Saddles that could have been chopped altogether. Leonardo DiCaprio is also very good, as is Samuel l Jackson in the most creepy of roles. For me there seemed to…

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    Mad Max: Fury Road 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 20 May, 2015

    This is a mighty achievement. In a time when film after film comes along with loads of hype and then fizzles out in the theatre, this is a most welcome success. Clearly miller has a clear vision and goes to great lengths to create just what he wants. For me the relentless opening escape sequence was too long and without proper introduction of characters, I felt lost and alienated, as if watching someone else play a computer game. But then…

  • Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 07 Nov, 2014

    Really good, tight thriller from writer/director, Dan Gilroy. He gets a great performance from Jake Gyllenhaal and from all concerned though I think this must be because the script is so fine that the actors probably didn't need that extra coaxing into their roles. In any event this is very engaging, if unpleasant and even amusing, if most tasteless. A point was reached some two thirds of the way through where I began to wonder if this was not going…

  • Drive

    Drive 2011

    ★★★★½ Watched 09 Apr, 2012

    Near perfect piece of cinema from Danish born Nicolas Refn, although this is a US film, so unlike the earlier Pusher films has no subtitles. Actually, doesn't have too much dialogue at all. No wasted frame and no wasted words. Succinct, fast moving, very believable and extremely violent. I think the violence seems so extreme because it comes so suddenly and without big build up. Gosling plays cool very well and makes it look so easy, but then so does Refn. Very stylish and deceptively simple. Something of the neo noir about this and also dare I say 'spaghetti western'!? Essential viewing.

  • The Shining

    The Shining 1980

    ★★★★ Rewatched 12 Nov, 2012

    Watched this again at the BFI Southbank, London in the longer version and have to say that at almost two and a half hours it is too long. The last third from when Crothers embarks on his rescue mission is brilliant and powerful images combine with terrifying music to make it very scary indeed. The fist part where we have the interview and the introduction to the hotel are more or less superfluous and especially disappointing coming after the amazingly…

  • Ex Machina

    Ex Machina 2015

    ★★★★★ Watched 23 Jan, 2015

    A wonderful film, just as I like them, always looking good, great dialogue and completely engrossing. This looks wonderful at the start, the colour, the reflections, all helping to create a sense of mystery and drawing the viewer in. As often is the case I felt the rich, exciting visuals would lapse after the opening but not a bit of it and so engaging is the dialogue that although this is, at least at first, only two people talking to…

  • Under the Skin

    Under the Skin 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 18 Mar, 2014

    Even though I had read the book this is, very loosely, based upon, I was bemused yet transfixed from the very start. Absolutely mesmerising stuff. In film you can have a strong narrative or barely any narrative at all and all can be good. Here we have a narrative but we are somehow outside of the curve. Something is going on, something momentous, but we don't know what it is. Scarlett Johansson is stunning in the central role. She is…

  • Vertigo

    Vertigo 1958

    ★★★★★ Added

    Surely Hitchcock’s finest film, this sophisticated, dream like swirling concoction grabs you from the start of the hypnotic titles and the opening frantic roof top chase. That slight distance that can seem apparent sometimes between Hitchcock and his actors works in his favour here as we struggle to see our way through this nightmare. For me Barbara Del Geddes’ ‘Midge’ is less satisfactory than the rest because her character seems to not have the same depth or historic connection. She…

  • Hot Fuzz

    Hot Fuzz 2007

    ★★★★½ Added

    Seemingly one of the very few who did not think ‘Shaun of the Dead’ particularly funny, I was not expecting too much from this. How wrong can you be? I won’t go into my reservations about the earlier film but it struck me as a bit juvenile at times, whereas this, despite its slightly off putting title is a very fine piece of comic cinema. It barely puts a flat foot wrong, with its witty and effective soundtrack, its fine…

  • Nebraska

    Nebraska 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 09 Dec, 2013

    Alexander Payne undoubtedly has his fans and I feel that his films turn out pretty much the way he intended. It's just that I either prefer my films a little more eventful or challenging or, on the other hand, more thoughtful and meaningful. Payne is clearly fascinated with the 'taken for granted' things in life. Not big on philosophy or exploitation he is more interested in character studies of the ordinary. Unfortunately I think he sometimes tends towards cliche and…

  • Only Lovers Left Alive

    Only Lovers Left Alive 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 25 Feb, 2014

    Up off the sofa and out to see a film at the cinema. It's been a while and it's the latest from Jim Jarmusch that gets me off and out. Actually, I'm not sure i would have known this was a Jarmusch film if I hadn't known. Not his usual cool minimalism. But I guess his personal passions are on display and the movie gets off to a brilliant start with the two main protagonists plus John Hurt's character, quickly…

  • Casablanca

    Casablanca 1942

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 24 Apr, 2012

    I shall not try and write a review of this classic movie but just to record another viewing, this time of a brand new print at my local cinema.
    It is curious that a film that made so little impact originally has gained such acclaim. Indeed there is something about this film that makes it more enjoyable the more it is seen. Simple and contrived it remains magical. Yet another lesson for big budget boys with pretentious notions - keep it simple, involving people and even the slightest, noir, giallo or spaghetti western can resonate so effectively.