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  • The Expendables 3 2014

    Watched 27 Aug, 2014

    It's just dreadful, from start to finish. At once too soft and saccharine and too reliant on gun battles and blowing stuff up.

    Father Time has not been kind to Sylvester Stallone. He reminds me faintly of a Supernatural monster these days, his skin discoloured and not really under his own control. Whatever the speech impediment is it's not getting better. And in this film he seems to have just given himself over to a complete ego-trip. The rest of…

  • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes 1972

    ★★★ Watched 05 Aug, 2014

    It picks up twenty years after the last film (reviewed here), in 1991. In the last film the ape parents left their baby at a circus, switching it with the ordinary chimpanzee, before they were all killed. The circus owner, Armando (Ricardo Montalbán), has took care of the ape-baby and it is now fully grown and named Caesar (Roddy McDowall). Armando narrates for us the events of the intervening years: in 1983, a virus erased dogs and cats, so people…

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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…