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  • Paths of Glory 1957

    ★★★★★ Watched 14 Sep, 2014 3

    If Dr. Strangelove beats us over the head with absurdity to get its anti-war message across, Paths of Glory takes a deeply human approach.

    It's the tale of three French soldiers selected to be executed as an example to the rest of the troops after a regiment refused to leave the trenches on a suicide mission to storm 'The Anthill'; a heavily fortified armament across No-Man's Land.

    Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) volunteers to defend the men at their court martial.…

  • The Man Who Fell to Earth 1976

    ★★★★ Watched 10 Sep, 2014

    It's a quirk of human experience that finds you unable to watch a film without it bringing to mind another made more than thirty-five years later. This was the disconnect I felt during The Man Who Fell to Earth.

    Nicolas Roeg's film makes the perfect double bill with Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin. Glazer's film is undoubtedly heavily influenced by the earlier film, yet that work left such an indelible mark on my psyche that few other films have ever…

  • Warrior 2011

    ★★★ Watched 01 Sep, 2014 2

    As fantastically shot and performed as the MMA fight scenes are, I fail to feel the love for Warrior that so many people do. It just smacks so hard of a blatant attempt to update the Rocky template. Throw in the money travails of modern blue-collar America and it's not so much a new take but a complete retread of the same themes as Sylvester Stallone's Oscar-botherer.

    And I don't even like that film (ducks and covers)!

    That said, the…

  • Thor: The Dark World 2013

    ★★½ Watched 01 Sep, 2014

    In all honesty I think they should just dispense with any semblance of plot when it comes to Thor and just have two hours of Thor and Loki bickering as that is far more interesting than the action that first Kenneth Branagh and now Alan Taylor has been able to put on screen over two films.

    The quieter moments were by far and away the best thing about the first film and it is certainly true about the second one,…

  • The Keeper of Lost Causes 2013

    ★★★ Watched 29 Aug, 2014

    Apparently the biggest box-office hit in Denmark last year, The Keeper of Lost Causes is based on the popular 'Department Q' crime novels of Jussi Adler-Olsen.

    It stars Nikolaj Lie Kaas as Carl Mørck, assigned to an essential archive post closing cold cases. One case interests him and along with his new partner Assad (Fares Fares) he goes above and beyond his remit and begins to investigate it afresh.

    The film is handsomely shot and nicely acted, but at a…

  • We Are the Best! 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 24 Aug, 2014

    I had vague reservations about Lukas Moodyson’s latest, based as it is upon a graphic novel penned by his wife Coco. Fortunately, any concerns that We Are the Best might suffer from a case of spousal nepotism are instantly dispelled.

    Like Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In, Moodyson’s film feels like it captures early ‘80s Sweden immaculately. Tonally it is closer to the likes of Together than the coruscating Lilya-4-Ever or the experimental extremity of A Hole in My…

  • The Invisible Woman 2013

    ★★½ Watched 17 Aug, 2014

    Charles Dickens was undoubtedly an interesting man, to put it mildly. Ralph Fiennes knows that, and with a screenwriter on board of the pedigree of Abi Morgan this should have been something pretty great. Particularly when the source is a novel by Claire Tomalin, who is very much an authority on the man himself.

    Fiennes as both director and performer is impeccable, and his decision to focus on the strictures of society and the impositions which meant he had to…

  • Martyrs 2008

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 23 Aug, 2014 6

    Like no film before or since, Martyrs made me question the reasons I have for watching and loving horror as a genre.

    That it's a film I have returned to time and again and recommend to anyone who has the least interest in horror is bewildering to most of my friends. Many of them wonder why I willingly sit through such a dark, harrowing and unremittingly bleak film. Even among the pungent charms of the other films in the 'New…

  • Wings of Desire 1987

    ★★★★★ Watched 20 Aug, 2014

    Imagine being omnipotent, to float above the city. Doors and walls are no obstacle. The random thoughts and insights of the city's inhabitants flit through your head like odd snatches of radio frequencies. Some are mundane in the extreme. Others stretch towards profundity, existential in the purest sense of the term.

    'Why am I am me?'

    You can share vicariously in their joy and, unbeknownst to them, you can lean in, place a benevolent hand on their shoulder, whisper an…

  • Amélie 2001

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 17 Aug, 2014 6

    Ah, it never gets old. Still my favourite film of all time.

    Audrey Tautou as Amelie is the loveliest thing possibly ever to grace the planet, and I still laughed along afresh despite this being about the 25th time I've seen it.

    It's a tonic for what ails you, a life-affirming shot of sweetness with just a hint of darkness to stop it from veering towards the saccharine.

    Quirky needn't be a dirty word - Amelie is quirky sure, but…

  • The Railway Man 2013

    ★★★ Watched 17 Aug, 2014

    The Railway Man transcends its 'dull-but-worthy' roots purely down to the quietly intense chemistry between Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. Their charming first flirtation on a train is pretty much the finest scene in the film.

    it is only after they are married that Patti (Kidman) realises the trauma that Eric Lomax (Firth) suffered during the war at the hands of the Japanese who used the forced labour of POW's for the building of the Thai-Burma railway. The film switches…

  • The Raid 2 2014

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 14 Aug, 2014 2

    The continuing adventures of film-watching with my Dad.

    After his enjoyment of The Raid I was quick to buy this on its DVD release, having been somewhat enamoured by it at the cinema myself.

    What I realised while watching it for a second time is that the first viewing had seared it into my brain indelibly. I could recall every single second, scene, punch, kick and hammer-to-the-spine. I can't remember the last time a film did that to me -…