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  • Rocky V

    Rocky V 1990

    Rewatched 28 Nov, 2015

    There's value, I suppose, in returning to the roots. But this wasn't the time for it, and it definitely wasn't the right approach.

    The first problem is the Rocky "saga" had already gone to cartoonish extremes, and Stallone was anything but an underdog by the time this thing got greenlit... So scaling things back just wasn't going to cut it. Rocky V should have been Rocky in Space or something, if it absolutely had to exist (it didn't). But, instead,…

  • Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith 2005

    ★★ Rewatched 27 Nov, 2015

    And so... This dreadful trilogy finally reaches its grim conclusion. With a film that is widely celebrated as being the best of the crop, which may be true, but it might not be for the right reasons.

    Objectively speaking, this movie is just not very good. It's overlong, often tedious and almost aggressively mean spirited... So concerned with delivering on its dark story turns and tragic ironies, it forgets to have any fun. It's easily one of the most depressing…

  • Rocky IV

    Rocky IV 1985

    ★★★ Rewatched 22 Nov, 2015

    The sports film as pure propaganda... In every sense of that word. Stallone's answer to Triumph of the Will? Sure, why not...

    After all, this is mainstream filmmaking at the service of delivering a superficial message... Of what? Of peace? The perseverance of the human spirit?

    Or is it just a beefcake revenge movie? A standard, comic book action flick? Rocky taking on the big bad guy to avenge the death of a friend?

    Yes. It is all those things.…

  • Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones 2002

    ★★ Rewatched 21 Nov, 2015

    It's fair to say this film is an improvement on Episode I.

    But I don't know to what degree that really matters. Because the story is still a dreary and uninteresting mess...weighted down by boring intergalactic political intrigue about which we don't give a shit.

    And these are still unappealing characters brought to life with all the energy and verve of wooden mannequins by a cast unable to really sell you on the artificial world they're inhabiting.

    Oh that isn't…

  • Rocky III

    Rocky III 1982

    ★★★ Rewatched 19 Nov, 2015

    There may have been a time when this popular sequel was taken seriously as drama, but that time is long gone.

    As it stands, it's a cheerfully ridiculous and extremely gay (in every sense of that word) cartoon of a movie.

    It brings Rocky Balboa into the eighties with appropriate bombast and mass appeal. And, because of this, the film is undeniably entertaining from beginning to end.

    Existing somewhere between sports fantasy and B-grade action spectacular, it turns the title…

  • Rocky II

    Rocky II 1979

    ★★★ Rewatched 17 Nov, 2015

    Whether or not there actually was more story to tell is irrelevant. The point is Sly Stallone found a way to do it that made sense. And the result is a slightly overcooked but nonetheless entertaining movie.

    It all comes down to the fact we like Rocky. And we really like Stallone in the role. This movie was made at a different, early stage of his career. Back when he had been the toast of the town before a pair…

  • Rocky

    Rocky 1976

    ★★★★ Rewatched 15 Nov, 2015

    This ballooned into a massive, iconic franchise, and the most popular and familiar aspects probably exist in its later entries. That's why it's sometimes easy to forget that it all started with this: A rather minuscule character piece that capitalized on America's need for a rush of optimism -- some post Viet Nam emotional healing, while also serving as Sylvester Stallone's launching pad.

    And that's probably why it worked so well and continues to resonate. There are few films that…

  • Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

    Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 1999

    ★★ Rewatched 13 Nov, 2015

    Removed from whatever initial enthusiasm there may have been for George Lucas returning to his very popular world after a 16 year hiatus, this movie is honestly pretty dreadful.

    Oh, sure... There are some good things here. Liam Neeson is perfectly cast as an enigmatic, larger than life Jedi master and, even as it comes off just a little bit like cosplay, Ewan McGregor does a more than serviceable job of playing a young Obi Wan...right down to doing his…

  • Spectre

    Spectre 2015

    ★★★ Watched 12 Nov, 2015

    It's not as good as Skyfall... And the theme song is - there's no way around this, really - the theme song is horrible.

    Apart from that, though, this movie offers up quite a bit of entertainment value...bang for the buck. It is definitely the most "fun" of Daniel Craig's run - we find a much looser Bond here, with the quips and goofy humor that will evoke the Roger Moore era. For some, this may be a problem. But…

  • The Babadook

    The Babadook 2014

    ★★★ Watched 09 Nov, 2015

    Horror films tend to be metaphors and allegories for our everyday ills. The best ones are that, anyway. And the best ones are those that achieve their results without too heavy a hand.

    And, to that effect, Jennifer Kent's powerful directorial debut has found a very engaging way to illustrate the crippling reality of grief - as manifested through a very unique sort of boogeyman come to life.

    For the most part, The Babadook works very well. It's a strong…

  • Back in Time

    Back in Time 2015

    ★★★ Watched 07 Nov, 2015

    Your mileage may vary. For the most part, though, I guess this is a heartfelt celebration of Back to the Future that is likely to appeal to the very popular film's many fans.

    Someone hoping for an in-depth look at the franchise as a whole (which spans three films, a Saturday morning cartoon show and a video game) might be disappointed to find that the main focus here is the first film. And, more than any kind of behind the…

  • Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

    Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back 1980

    ★★★★ Rewatched 05 Nov, 2015

    And this is why it endures... Because George Lucas had the good sense (at the time) to take a back seat and allow more capable hands to actually steer the ship.

    As is typically stated, this is a vast improvement to its predecessor in just about every way. The established concepts are built upon very well and the scope is widened... Comic book silliness abounds, yes, but the pathos feels genuine and so it is more convincing.

    Because there is…