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  • Gravity 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 03 Oct, 2013

    Relentlessly stressful, but very beautiful, Gravity is a simple and very human story. It's got near-future sci-fi trappings, but it's really just a story about people in a crisis. You could see it as an allegory for anything from overcoming depression to bootstrapping your own tech start-up. It's such a universal story, you could apply it successfully to any stressful challenge.

    The cinematographer is the same guy that made The Tree of Life moderately watchable, despite the vapid content. With…

  • The Wolf of Wall Street 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 11 Mar, 2014 1

    The soundtrack's pretty good. The acting's really good (Jonah Hill is particularly great). Apart from that, this is a pretty dull watch. It ends more often than Return of the King, and actually feels longer.

    The debauchery is pretty full on, and that's a fun ride to start with, but after about an hour I felt saturated in the excesses of capitalism, which completely de-fanged the next two hours of relentlessly escalating depravity.

    Well made, and deserving of the accolades it's received, but really pretty boring, monotonous and pointless, except as a satirical cautionary allegory of organised religion.

  • The Dark Knight Rises 2012

    ★★ Watched 19 Jul, 2012 3

    This film has some of the laziest and most awkard exposition scenes I've seen outside of 80s porn. After the first half hour, I realised I could ease my pain by substituting the word "Macguffin" wherever appropriate. Try it, it's fun.

    There's too much wrong with The Dark Knight Rises to even begin, so I'm going to spin this review to list the positives:

    1) Catwoman was not just an out-and-out villain. There's complexity in her characterisation, if not too…

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 04 Jul, 2014

    Wes Anderson makes films like a fine chocolatier makes chocolates. Sady, I watched a badly encoded rip of this beautiful film while I was succumbing to a head cold. It was pretty, but I didn't really follow it that well. I need to see it again, and I think it may gain another star on my second viewing.

    I feel like there is a layer of complexity or allegory that should have been obvious but it sailed over my drowsy head.

  • Pacific Rim 2013

    ★★★ Watched 14 Aug, 2013

    Big, dumb and fun. Not much fun, though. So thoroughly unsubtle, it's like being punched in the face repeatedly by a giant robot with bad expositional dialogue. Who wouldn't enjoy that?

  • The Lego Movie 2014

    ★★★ Watched 07 Sep, 2014

    Frenetic.

  • The Cabin in the Woods 2012

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 11 Nov, 2012

    The thinking man's horror movie? This is a clever take on an old formula, and is the first film to approach the cleverness of the inimitable Scream.

    I saw CITW a few months back, and immediately decided I'd be watching it again soon. It's just as good the second time around, but I picked up a bunch more of the "meta" dialogue.

    Definitely watch this one with friends. They'll see things you don't, and vice-versa. I kind of want to…

  • The World's End 2013

    ★★★ Watched 18 Jul, 2013

    Great soundtrack. Stone Roses/Primal Scream/The Doors/etc. Very nostalgic.

    Very shouty in the last half hour.

    The same team brought us Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the dead. Both of those are far more worthy of your time.

    This is basically a British Superbad with fewer subplots, and the plot from Bad Taste jammed in. Both of those are far more worthy of your time.

  • No Country for Old Men 2007

    ★★★★★ Watched 24 Feb, 2014 2

    A staggering work of genius from the Coen brothers. Every image, every frame and every word is crafted to perfection. On the surface, this is a gloriously tense thriller with nods to films like The Terminator, but if you dig a little, there's a subliminal allegory in every moment.

    You can enjoy it without thinking about it, and the beautiful land- and sound-scapes are hauntingly beautiful. Javier Bardem is breathtaking as the cold-as-ice, bat-shit-insane killer. Tommy Lee Jones' small-town lawman…

  • Batman Begins 2005

    ★★★★½ Watched 08 Nov, 2006

    Easily the best of this trilogy. The other two films were increasingly flawed and overlong, with broken narrative promises and offensive assaults on my suspension of disbelief.

    Batman Begins is as solid and coherent as a superhero movie can be. It packs an unbelievable amount of story in with near perfect pacing, and solidly sets up the next two movies while still being complete in itself. An astounding work of art.

  • Captain Phillips 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 17 Mar, 2014 1

    Wow.

    Tense.

    This is a movie with some bad guys and some good guys, but the bad guys are unusually well played. They're not sympathetic characters at all, but you can sit there with your mouth open in horror and really understand where they're coming from. They're the heroes of their own stories, not generic Villains. Rare for an American Hero movie to allow the baddies some humanity. Classy.

    Tom Hanks is there too, and holy heck, what a performance.…

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 2003

    ★★★½ Rewatched 15 Jul, 2012

    I watched the so-called Director's cut, but I suspect that Sir Pete didn't actually cut anything from this version. It's SOOO long. I love that the trilogy exists and is of such stunning quality, but I really have a hard time watching this episode. It's truly a labour of love.

    After the third hour of high tension, I just needed a rest. I started screaming at the screen "End it! End it! End it! End it! End it! End it!…