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  • In Bruges 2008

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 25 Oct, 2014 2

    "It's like a fucking fairy tale or something"

    Rarely has a place being so denigrated on screen made me want to visit it so much. I'm not sure how the Belgian tourist board (I'm sure such an institution must exist) or the good people of Bruges reacted to it being constantly referred to as a 'shithole' by Colin Farrell's cynical hitman Ray, but it isn't hard to see it ruffling a few Flemish feathers.

    Fortunately, the lush cinematography allows the…

  • Only Lovers Left Alive 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 21 Oct, 2014 2

    We all know how difficult it can be to maintain a relationship once the first ecstatic flush has ended. Imagine then, the travails of maintaining that relationship over centuries.

    Only Lovers Left Alive is a vampire film that is only peripherally concerned with the logistics of vampirism; focusing instead on the mundanity and ennui of the immortality that comes with it.

    Adam and Eve (Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton) are centuries-old lovers who recently been living apart. Eve is living…

  • The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou 2004

    ★★★★ Watched 19 Oct, 2014

    Bill Murray portrays melancholia better than just about anyone I can think of. Perhaps Paul Giammatti could run him close; but Murray just has a natural careworn cynicism that was observable as far back as Ghostbusters - he maintains a jaded ‘seen-it-all-before’ air even as the events he gets caught up in get increasingly strange.
    Having hit his late middle age he started excelling in the likes of Broken Flowers and playing on his own reputation in Zombieland, some distance…

  • The Prestige 2006

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 16 Oct, 2014

    In a way, telling the story of rival magicians seems like a very apt thing for Christopher Nolan to do, as a writer/ director known for his own visual sleight-of-hand and misdirection.

    The Prestige follows Robert Angier and Alfred Borden (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale), former stage hands of a famous magician who become lifelong enemies after Angier's wife is drowned during a water escape trick. He blames Borden for using an experimental that she couldn't slip. They set up…

  • Tracks 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 15 Oct, 2014

    In 1977 Robyn Davidson set out from Alice Springs. Her aim was to cross the Australian outback to the Indian Ocean on foot. A trek of some 1700 miles. She was accompanied by three camels and a dog named Diggity.

    She published her story in 1980 but it has taken until now for it to make it to the screen, dispute numerous people interested in making it over the last 30-odd years. John Curran is the man that has finally…

  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 11 Oct, 2014

    Finally, Marvel knock it out of the park!

    This could well be one of the most outright fun films I've seen in a long time. Hopefully it will make director James Gunn into a major player. I loved Slither to bits and it's really pleasing to see that he can handle a major property.

    I'm not familiar with the comic books this is based on so I just really enjoyed the film on its own terms with absolutely zero fanboy…

  • Locke 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 07 Oct, 2014 2

    This was a beautiful little idea that I think only just fails to sustain itself for its duration. Whether it would have worked without an actor of Tom Hardy's effortless charisma is debatable. I've also no idea why a Welsh accent was decided upon. I presume that was an artistic choice made between Hardy and writer/director Steven Knight.

    The basic plot entails Ivan Locke making the drive from Birmingham to London via motorway in order to fulfill a commitment he…

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 28 Sep, 2014 2

    I thought Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a definite improvement over its predecessor. That film started well with a surprisingly cynical take on American militarism but became sadly subpar when Steve Rogers becomes Captain America.

    The follow-up throws us straight into action that is smoother, more exciting, and better choreographed than anything in the original. That set piece is the first of many. For the first time really in the Marvel treadmill, I found the action genuinely exciting. Even…

  • Odd Thomas 2013

    ★★ Watched 27 Sep, 2014

    Now, Odd Thomas is a brilliant concept, and I found the novel by Dean Koontz to be a clever, engaging and really emotionally fulfilling read. It is packed full of endearing, strange characters - and Odd himself is a wry, witty narrative voice that accentuates the mundane and clings to as much normality as he can in his otherwise extraordinary life.

    In a novel of course, we need the narrator to let us know what is happening and offer their…

  • I Saw the Devil 2010

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 25 Sep, 2014 2

    Complaining about a lack of originality in a revenge drama is a pretty pointless exercise. What is worth considering is why South Korea is such a hotbed for this particular sub-genre. As far as I'm aware South Korea is a politically stable country, rebuilt in astonishing fashion almost from the ground up after a bloody history with its Northern neighbour. It seems to have a buoyant economy and is booming in the tourism stakes. So why do its film-makers seem…

  • Under the Skin 2013

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 26 Sep, 2014 6

    I don’t always go back and review films that I’ve previously seen. In most cases after a rewatch I’ll let my thoughts from that time stand and I’ll turn my attentions to something new. In the case of another viewing of Under the Skin, I think another attempt at evaluation is worthwhile, or at least an update of my thoughts is.

    In my original review I had been unsure after seeing it at the cinema that I had even liked…

  • I Am Love 2009

    ★★★ Watched 24 Sep, 2014

    In which Tilda Swinton pulls a Kristen Scott Thomas and dazzles in another language. Developed over a period of eleven years with collaborator and drector Luca Guadagnino, I Am Love is the type of film that really only gets made in Europe.

    I may have made this observation before, possibly relating to Francois Ozon's In the House, but I can see why Swinton developed this in Italy. European cinema has been replete with films about the middle to upper-middle classes…