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  • The Nut Job 2014

    ★★½ Watched 13 Apr, 2014

    An entirely average animated feature, The Nut Job has a handsome exterior: it's well animated, has fine character design, and just flat out looks pretty good. It is, however, let down by a generic script that consistenly fails to capitalize on its central premise, or to build up fully rounded characters, and in the end it amounts to little more than a diverting, but ultimately forgettable 90 minutes. Unfortunately.

  • The Protector 2 2013

    ★½ Watched 08 Apr, 2014

    Cgi and green screens are truly the death of real action cinema.

    Tony Jaa's elephant is kidnapped again, and he sets off to get it back. Unfortunately, what follows is little but a chronicle of Jaa's sad decline, from the crazy stunt heights of Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong, to the current cgi-festooned abomination.

    The digital safety net effectively neuters any sense of danger, and pretty much kills Tom Yum Goong 2 stone dead. A single fight, about 40…

  • Noah 2014

    ★★½ Watched 31 Mar, 2014

    The first half is actually a pretty cool, intensely apocalyptic, dark fantasy epic (oddly enough presented in a claustrophobic flat ratio). The second half is much less so, with Russell Crowe going almost full Mel Gibson-nuts while shut-in on his ark. Too bad it didn't end halfway.

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 23 Mar, 2014 3

    Having battled with poor projection throughout - I guess that's the risk you run when going to a cinema other than your own - I'm unable to give this an entirely fair assessment. But I did enjoy myself, in spite of the presentational shortcomings. Not Wes Anderson's best, but certainly a step up from the downwards slope he has been on ever since The Darjeeling Limited.

    I look forward to giving this another look sometime in the future, in a more controlled and adequate environment.

    PS: You will have a tough time with this movie if you know and care about the correct pronunciation of Budapest!

  • Snowpiercer 2013

    ★★ Watched 22 Mar, 2014 10

    Okay, I'm officially giving up on Bong Joon-ho. His manic inability to maintain a tone once again derails a movie. Pun intended, or whatever.

    Ostensibly a dystopic fable, Snowpiercer begins on a strong note, and proceeds to wither along with the protagonists' progress toward the front of the train. By the halfway point, the movie's downward spiral, from dystopic thriller to absurdist comedy, had taken all of my interest with it, and things certainly did not improve from there.

    Needless…

  • 47 Ronin 2013

    ★★½ Watched 21 Mar, 2014

    I went in fully expecting to hate this movie. The trailers practically reeked of Zack Snyderisms, and just the very idea of a Westernized take on the classic 47 ronin tale had me grinding my teeth to dust. In other words, my expections for Carl Rinsch's first movie couldn't possibly be any lower. A really terrible and unproductive way to approach and consider anything, of course

    I didn't hate 47 Ronin.

    Now, that's not to say that it's a very…

  • Mood Indigo 2013

    ★★★ Watched 16 Mar, 2014

    Gondry's latest is not quite the movie one might expect. What begins as a typically whimsical tale of romance, grows increasingly bleak, dark and bitter - quite literally leaching the colors off the screen along the way, until only shades of grey remain - and ends up somewhere far away from the usual third act.

    At 130 minutes it overstays its welcome, and although Gondry's fiercely analog creativity is never boring, the human element ultimately suffocates under all the bric-a-brac…

  • All Is Lost 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 28 Feb, 2014 4

    "Fffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccckkkkkkkkk!"

    That single, drawn out, frustrated expletive is, with the exception of his voiceover reading of a farewell note in the film's opening minutes, and a few failed SOS calls later, the entirety of star Robert Redford's dialog in All is Lost. Stripped down and fiercely minimalist, it is the sumi-e of survival thrillers, a haiku character portrait. Having pared away everything non-essential, only the important bits are left onscreen, or implied inbetween the lines.

    Redford plays a solitary sailor,…

  • In the Aftermath 1989

    ★★½ Watched 24 Feb, 2014

    Oh, I've been in the odd part of the Internet again! And what I found there was In the Aftermath: Angels Never Sleep – a moody and presumably low budget entry in the post apocalyptic genre.

    Set some time in the future, the Earth's atmosphere has been so polluted that it's no longer breathable, forcing any survivors to wander the barren landscape in gas masks and protective suits. The scarcity of such gear inspires desperate survivors to kill for it,…

  • Iblard Jikan 2007

    ★★★½ Watched 23 Feb, 2014

    Iblard jikan, literally "Iblard time", is quite simply a glorified slideshow. That may sound dismissive, but it's not intended as such - calling it a slideshow is merely entirely descriptive. Iblard is the name of the imaginary world fantasy painter Naohisa Inoue sets his imaginative landscape paintings in, and Iblard jikan is, as you might expect, a half hour long journey through this imagined world.

    Inoue is perhaps not a household name per se, but many will have seen examples…

  • Malibu Shark Attack 2009

    Watched 22 Feb, 2014

    Shark movies mostly have their very own, peculiar quality scale, ranging from "so bad it's good" at the top, to "please, just kill me now" at the bottom. Malibu Shark Attack sits unmemorably at the lower end of the scale, but not low enough to stand out in any way.

    A made-for-tv production, substituting Australia for Southern California, Malibu Shark Attack has a subaquatic earthquake unleash giant goblin sharks upon the unsuspecting beach community, to mostly boring effect.

    Points, I…

  • Her 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 16 Feb, 2014 2

    Spike Jonze’s latest cinematic outing is not revolutionary in any way – artificial intelligence developing self-awareness, and emotions stirring between man and machine, are staples of science fiction. Electric Dreams trawled the same waters for primarily comedic reasons back in ’84, Spielberg and Kubrick’s A.I. for dramatic effect decades later, just to mention two vastly different examples.

    Set in an indeterminate but close future, Her is a bittersweet drama, with touches of comedy, about loneliness on a thematic level, and…