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  • Neighbors 2014

    ★½ Watched 14 Sep, 2014

    Pity those of us who are not fans of Seth Rogen; we didn't stand a chance with this one. The film staked out its humour—when not flat-out on a cult of personality around Rogen—on that intersection of a slightly geeky, slightly out-of-shape but nonetheless very, very cool guy, and the awkwardness that can attend those contradictions.

    If we non-Rogen-fans were in on the joke, for instance, we would understand why it was funny for a middle-aged man to wear a…

  • A Million Ways to Die in the West 2014

    ★½ Watched 11 Sep, 2014

    Grant it this far to Seth MacFarlane: this wasn't as bad as it looked as if it was going to be, both before it started and after the first half-hour or so.

    Set in the American West during the 1880s, the very best dialogue parts of it are when MacFarlane's character alights on the various ways—shooting, the Indians, disease, big cuts, little cuts, the doctor—that can get one killed, and the general bleakness and savagery of existence on the frontier.…

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  • Avatar 2009

    ★★ Watched 16 Jun, 2013 3

    It is simply impossible to see what the fuss was about. Was it the visuals perhaps—surely surpassed now by Life of Pi (reviewed here)? It can't be the acting—I like Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver as much as anybody, but reality is still reality. My impression is that the supposed wondrousness of the thing was political: this is a film that presents a vision of what idiots believe the Iraq War was about—and indeed what people now commonly take to…

  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 2014

    ★★★★★ Watched 16 Apr, 2014 4

    It is quite simply brilliant. Trying to explain why without giving anything away is tricky but here goes ...

    It is perhaps to be expected in 2014 that visually a film will pass muster but the manner of the passing here is quite exceptional. Better still, there is none of the pretentiousness about it that occasioned Avatar (reviewed here) or—much worse—Life of Pi (see here).

    The acting is sensational. It is impossible to overpraise Andrew Garfield. As someone who actually…