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  • Penthouse North 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 20 Aug, 2014

    Very watchable if understated old fashioned thriller which avoids (and in some cases subtly subverts) the old "blind girl terrorised by bad guys" schtick from nicked from Wait Until Dark by countless TV movies 30 odd years ago.

    Solid casting helps with Michelle Monaghan again demonstrating how good she is given a decent part, and the always watchable Michael Keaton managing a nicely measured chief baddie role.

    Undemanding, gripping in parts and doesn't outstay its welcome.

  • Before the Devil Knows You're Dead 2007

    ★★★½ Watched 02 Aug, 2014

    Brilliant acted and directed, but over long and really one of the most depressing movies I've seen in a while.

  • Whiteout 2009

    ★½ Watched 29 Jul, 2014

    Truly dreadful slasher-thriller with the intruiging concept of being set in an Antarctic base which is closing before the winter.

    Beckinsale is joyfully wooden, Skerritt looks like he's bored to tears and Gabriel Macht seems to have all his dialogue re-looped afterwards.
    There's a distinct whiff of post-production tinkering too as the mood changes almost scene by scene, from drama, slasher, standard thriller, disaster movie, heist movie... none of which add up to anything remotely interesting. The big twist you can see coming practically from the opening credits.

    A shame, as I'm a fan of Sena's big dumb action movies. This is just dumb.

  • The Beast Within 1982

    ★★ Watched 18 Jul, 2014

    Good example of what happens when a big studio tries to make a 'serious' film cashing on an exploitation trend, in this case the prosthetic werewolf effects of The Howling/American Werewolf. (see also The Prophecy).

    Despite a relatively large budget and a good cast, it's a dull and very silly tale of a 17 year old boy who is the result of an earlier beastly rape by a half man/half cicada (a kind of locust) for reasons the film never…

  • Mission: Impossible 1996

    ★★★★ Rewatched 06 Jul, 2014

    Still the best in the series, it's tech has sadly dated it somewhat (though I always found the "emailing every Bible newsgroup" ridiculous) but it's action scenes still remain a benchmark almost 20 years on.

    How refreshing to see a SFX-filled fight on top of a train, that looked brilliantly innovative in its day, but still holds up now. And no one except dePalma could create so much tension from a man dangling from a cable while a drop of sweat drips down his specs.

    Cracking entertainment.

  • Theatre of Blood 1973

    ★★★★ Rewatched 29 Jun, 2014

    I seem to be the only person not utterly blown away by Arrow's new bluray.

    The film of course is great, but the new transfer leaves a lot to be desired, with no attempt to clean up the print (from an American source, judging by spelling of THEATRE in the opening credits; and new studio idents?), and a very soft soundtrack which makes a lot of dialogue inaudible. The image is good however despite a lot of print damage

  • Stalker 2010

    ★½ Watched 20 Jun, 2014 1

    Not very good remake of the also not very good Expose.
    Some interesting visuals and ideas are swamped by bad acting and a dreadful script.
    An attempt to pull the rug from those familiar with the source perks the interest for the final act but ultimately it fails.
    Martin Kemp does fairly well for his debut but I'd be interested to see what does with something a bit meatier though.

  • X2: X-Men United 2003

    ★★★½ Rewatched 05 Jun, 2014

    Much bigger and a lot more confident than its predecessor, X2 feels like the Empire Strikes Back of the X-Men movies, with the mutants thrown to the wind, a darker tone and a downer (ish) ending.

    It still properly fails to handle all the plot points satisfactorily but the set pieces really zing this time, with the prologue in the White House and Magneto's prison escape highlights of the series.

  • Double Jeopardy 1999

    ★★★ Rewatched 02 Jun, 2014

    Standard, enjoyable thriller which I've seen far too often.

    I think the reason I enjoy it is because the studios don't make these kind of glossy, mid-budget R-rated thrillers anymore. And I miss them.

  • Gravity 2013

    ★★★ Watched 23 May, 2014

    Stunning technical achievement, but found it unengaging.
    I may not have been in the best frame of mind to watch and probably need to give it another go.

  • Godzilla 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 27 May, 2014

    Given the critical pant-wetting given to Pacific Rim last year, I'm surprised this is generating such mixed responses. This is clearly a far superior movie. That's a "movie" with plot, characters, good acting, engaging twists and turns. That's opposed to a filmed computer game, with terrible acting, no plot and a head crushing noise and effects cacophony.

    If that's what you want, then Godzilla is not for you. It takes a sombre slant and for large parts doesn't feel like…

  • X-Men: First Class 2011

    ★★★★ Rewatched 25 May, 2014

    2nd watch in preparation for Days of Future Past, and the joins showed a lot more where the compact production schedule led to problems.
    BUT this is still my favourite film of the series because it manages to balance the serious issues with being a fun superhero movie better than Singer's pair, and is obviously far superior to Ratner's Last Stand (not quite so hard).