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  • The Grand Budapest Hotel

    The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

    ★★ Watched 10 Jul, 2014

    I was assured that this was the one that would convince me that I was wrong about Wes Anderson's films - that the arch, over-designed, vacuous world of his films was not hermetically sealed off from any kind of recognisable human behaviour or emotion. It did not do that, although it was prettier and more entertaining than any of Anderson's earlier films.

  • Django Unchained

    Django Unchained 2012

    ★★★ Watched 12 Dec, 2012

    Baggy, overlong, indulgent re-hash of the ideas originally essayed in Inglourious Basterds, this time set during the slave plantation era of the antebelllum South. Salty dialogue from Tarantino, terrific performances by Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel Jackson, and a soundtrack that steals wholesale form earlier, better Spaghetti Westerns can't disguise the threadbare ideas and flawed execution. Not to mention the privileging of male movie myths over historical reality. (c.f Inglourious Basterds)

  • Her

    Her 2013

    ★★★ Watched 24 Feb, 2014

    Factoid: The role of Samantha (now played by Scarlett Johansson) was originally voiced by Samantha Morton, who 'acted' and reacted to lead actor Joaquin Phoenix in real time. The female voice-over heard in the finished film was recorded and added after the event. How much, if at all, should this affect our responses to the film?

    I found the first half of the film captivating and interesting, but the second half was dull and increasingly frustrating.

  • The Wolf of Wall Street

    The Wolf of Wall Street 2013

    ★★½ Watched 13 Jan, 2014

    Self-indulgent, over-long and boringly repetitive. Can't be bothered to write any more, I've already wasted three hours of my life watching it.

  • Gravity

    Gravity 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 10 Oct, 2013

    Alfonso Cuaron's film reminds us of something that much modern cinema lacks, a sense of wonder.

  • Gone Girl

    Gone Girl 2014

    ★★★ Watched 26 Sep, 2014

    David Fincher's solid but involving adaptation of Gillian Flynn's cleverly structured, best-selling novel.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy

    Guardians of the Galaxy 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 02 Dec, 2014

    Zoe Saldana, who plays Gamora:

    “It’s like the anti-hero hero movie … The characters are misfits: insecure, abandoned, hurt, scared, conniving but good-hearted people. They become heroes without losing their street cred."

    A film that succeeds by foregrounding and affectionately subverting the inherent silliness of conventional superhero movies.

  • Interstellar

    Interstellar 2014

    ★★½ Watched 30 Oct, 2014 3

    If this is the best we can hope for, I need to find a new job.

    "There is only one Stanley Kubrick . . ." Christopher Nolan


  • The Avengers

    The Avengers 2012

    ★★★ Rewatched 17 Sep, 2012 5

    Watching this again on Bluray I was struck by its cluttered storyline, over abundance of sketched in characters, and typical super-hero movie structure: i.e.spend more than half the film setting up the plot and explaining the origins of the characters, before staging an over-extended climactic punch-up, in the hope that the sheer scale and bravura of the spectacle will erase the viewer's memory of the dull first hour. While it's leavened by Joss Whedon's characteristic wit, this is just more…

  • The Avengers

    The Avengers 2012

    ★★★ Watched 13 Apr, 2012

    aka Avengers Assemble (UK only|).

  • The Dark Knight Rises

    The Dark Knight Rises 2012

    ★★★ Watched 19 Jul, 2012

    An adequate conclusion to the trilogy, but too long, too thin, and has too many endings. Adult themes toned down for 12A .

  • 12 Years a Slave

    12 Years a Slave 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 19 Dec, 2013

    If Chewitel Ejiofor is not awarded this year's Oscar for best leading actor, for this subtly nuanced portrayal of Solomon Northup - a free man torn from his family and tricked into a dozen years of cruel bondage - then the members of the Academy should hang their heads in shame.

    I have had problems with Steve McQueen's previous films (Hunger and Shame), but his confident visuals are matched here by his storytelling. There are only a couple of scenes…