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  • The Missing Picture 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 16 Apr, 2014 8

    Rithy Panh’s stunning documentary of childhood remembrance is a unique and captivating work of genuine power. Panh contrasts archival footage with diorama clay-figure reconstructions to explore the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge’s revolution in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. The film’s title refers to the missing culture, lives and artifacts destroyed by the communist dictatorship in the name of social solidarity as Panh attempts to explore his very personal history.

    Panh was just 13-years old when the Khmer Rouge…

  • The Garden of Words 2013

    ★½ Watched 16 Apr, 2014 2

    Whilst Garden of Words ditches the sci-fi background that has characterised Makoto Shinkai’s earlier films it still retains the same cheesy melodrama, romantic longing and waffling philosophical voice overs. Shinkai’s films have achieved a level of critical acclaim that I frankly find baffling. His animated movies are undoubtedly beautiful to look at but he’s a terrible storyteller who stretches for the profound but ends up wallowing in mawkish sentimentality.

    Sadly, Garden of Words is guilty of this problem as it…

  • Homefront 2013

    ★★ Watched 15 Apr, 2014 9

    The most memorable thing about this action throwback is Jason Statham sporting lustrous flowing locks. Naturally his retro mullet doesn’t make it beyond the opening act but it is quite a look for the Cockney tough man glowering and punching his way through Louisiana rednecks. Directed by Gary Fleder (Runaway Jury) and written by none other than Sylvester Stallone, Home Front does very little new, or even well.

    The Stath stars as a former DEA agent who moves to a…

  • Legend of the Sacred Stone 2000

    ★★½ Watched 15 Apr, 2014 5

    Legend of the Sacred Stone is a Taiwanese wuxia epic acted with puppets and every bit as ridiculous as that description suggests. Chris Huang’s film is certainly ambitious with a twisting plot, sweeping vistas and elaborate action but it is also unintentionally hilarious with a frankly baffling script, dubious voice work and dated special effects.

    The story centres on two martial artists who battle the Unfriendlies, a group of hooded demons, as they try and stop them claiming the Heaven’s…

  • Beauty and the Beast 1991

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 14 Apr, 2014 18

    The Little Mermaid may have kickstarted Disney’s resurgence but it was the enchanting Beauty and the Beast that cemented their renaissance in the 1990s. Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise’s film perfectly captures the magic and romance of the studio’s classics whilst bringing it up to date for a modern audience.

    Belle, a provincial girl wanting more from life, finds herself trapped, first by the unwanted attention of the egotistical Gaston, and then by a beast in an enchanted castle. It’s…

  • The Music Teacher 1988

    ★★ Watched 14 Apr, 2014

    The film features stunning music it is just a shame that the story is such melodramatic piffle.

  • The Smurfs 2 2013

    Watched 13 Apr, 2014 11

    Maybe it is because I watched this directly after the insufferable Super Buddies but I actually found this marginally more entertaining than the first Smurfs movie. It is obviously still a terrible excuse for family entertainment but this one stars Brendan Gleeson (unfortunately not on sweary form) and features far less Smurf-based puns than the previous installment.

    I doubt anybody cares about the plot as the five(!) writers certainly didn’t, but this latest movie centres on Gargamel’s attempts to harness…

  • In Absentia 2000

    ★★★½ Watched 13 Apr, 2014

    In Absentia is a beautiful yet troubling short film from The Brothers Quay. Collaborating with musician, Karlheinz Stockhausen, it tells the story of Emma Hauck, a real life patient at the Heidelberg's psychiatric clinic in 1909 who wrote continually to her absent husband, often illegibly as she constantly scrawled and rewrote over her love letters.

    As with most of the brothers’ work this is a dark film that evocatively captures the fractured psyche of its subject and the mournful longing…

  • The Girl from Hunan 1987

    ★★★½ Watched 12 Apr, 2014

    A Girl from Hunan tells the story of a young teenage girl who is arranged to marry to a two-year old boy and must serve as his nanny until he comes of age. Set in a small provincial mountain village in China at the turn of the last century she finds herself bound by tradition until she falls in love with another man and rebels against the ancient customs.

    Directed by U Lan and Fei Xie, the film is a…

  • What Became of Jack and Jill? 1972

    ★★½ Watched 12 Apr, 2014 4

    What Became of Jack and Jill? is a rather average effort from the Amicus studio. A young Paul Nicholas stars as an opportunistic grandson who tries to get his hands on his grandmother’s inheritance. With the help of his scheming girlfriend (Vanessa Howard) he convinces his gran that a youth rebellion is sweeping across the country and killing old people. However, their plot doesn’t go as smoothly as planned.

    It isn’t too surprising this film has been forgotten over time.…

  • Foodfight! 2012

    ½ Watched 11 Apr, 2014 34

    Well this is sure to give you nightmares.

    Curiosity got the better of me and I just had to check out a film some were claiming the worst animated film of all time. To be honest I didn’t really believe the hype, after all it could hardly top the offensively awful Titanic: the Animated Movie could it? Yes, yes it could.

    Foodfight! initially appears quite impressive if an eight-year old with a Playstation 2 made it. Unfortunately, $65m was spent…

  • In the Pines

    ★★★½ Watched 11 Apr, 2014

    I found the debut short film from filmmakers, Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell, far more successful than their recent follow-up, Prospect. In the Pines possesses a contemplative beauty as a young woman leaves her mother a voicemail message as she sets out into the woods to re-establish contact with extra-terrestrial beings.

    Beautifully scored and shot, particularly the macrophotography of insects, the film is a triumphant mood piece. Unlike Prospect it also doesn’t waste a second and develops a central character…