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  • Deadpool

    Deadpool 2016

    ★★★ Watched 10 Feb, 2016

    I had a pretty decent time with this, albeit with several caveats. Deadpool is a pacy, profane romp that acknowledges all the conventions of the comic book genre. The gags come thick and fast and a pleasing proportion of them land.

    However, it's all very well to point out genre conventions, yet Deadpool does nothing about them. For all its postmodern fourth-wall breaking, and snark and sneer, there is nothing subversive about it. It is a rather safe origin story…

  • Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

    Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans 1927

    ★★★★ Watched 13 Jan, 2016

    In some ways, F.W. Murnau, that relentless innovator, was fighting something of a Luddite rearguard action with Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. Even as he pushed the boundaries of what was then possible from a technical aspect, the silent films he was such a masterful exponent of were beginning to be eclipsed by the exotic 'talkies'. The release of Sunrise came a few days before that of The Jazz Singer, which swamped Murnau’s film at the box office. By…

  • The Town that Dreaded Sundown

    The Town that Dreaded Sundown 2014

    ★★½ Watched 15 Jan, 2016

    Full review Scream Horror Magazine

    Here

  • The Revenant

    The Revenant 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 15 Jan, 2016

    Equal parts beauty and brutality, The Revenant is an epic tale of revenge that doesn't quite have enough depth beyond its stunning surface to make it an all-time classic.

    Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu's western shines with the input of ace cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, and few would bet against the Mexican picking up a third successive Academy Award for this work. His swooping, all-seeing camera gets up-close and personal as the motley band of fur trappers suffer an attack my Native Americans…

  • Love

    Love 2015

    ★½ Watched 13 Jan, 2016

    The only love that comes across to the viewer from Gaspar Noe's latest piece of provocative transgression is for himself. Love is defiantly solipsistic; all 135 minutes strewn with fragments of his ego like confetti at a wedding. It's relentlessly self-absorbed, self-referential, and ultimately rather tedious.

    The story is about Murphy (Karl Glusman), an American living in Paris who spends a day reminiscing about his life with his ex-lover Electra (Aomi Muyock) after her mother leaves a voicemail in which…

  • Force Majeure

    Force Majeure 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 12 Jan, 2016

    A chilly, icily smart comedy-drama that couldn't have a more apt setting, Force Majeure is a merciless examination of masculinity in crisis, and how one moment of instinct can bring a relationship to its knees.

    A well-to-do Swedish family are on holiday at a plush skiing resort in the Alps. We see their togetherness as a domestic unit in an early scene: Dad Tomas, Mum Ebba, daughter Vera and younger son Harry all brushing their teeth together, grinning into the…

  • Cub

    Cub 2014

    ★★★ Watched 07 Jan, 2016

    Belgian horror that sets up its premise incredibly well, but nearly undoes itself with a listless last act. Fortunately, the central dynamic between two boys damaged in different ways remains interesting enough to save it.

    Full review here:
    Scream Horror Magazine

  • The Hateful Eight

    The Hateful Eight 2015

    ★★★½ Watched 08 Jan, 2016

    Whatever you think of Quentin Tarantino's recent output, it remains event cinema. After Django Unchained felt like some return to form after the bloated, sketchy Inglourious Basterds, it was with some eagerness I sat down to see what that great magpie of cultural kitsch and exploitation had come up with. Tarantino and the western genre feels like a perfect fit. That most self-mythologising of directors loose on America's most mythologised period. He's always been drawn to the outlaw.

    There is…

  • The Danish Girl

    The Danish Girl 2015

    ★½ Watched 06 Jan, 2016

    Just about misconceived on every single level, The Danish Girl is a spectacularly ham-fisted biopic of Lili Elbe, one of the first recipients of gender-reassignment surgery in the the early 1930s. Director Tom Hooper bring boxing gloves when the subject requires ballet shoes, and despite the best efforts of the brilliant Alicia Vikander, the insistence on making the film as populist as possible surgically extracts any real insight and genuine emotion from the story.

    At the film's beginning, there was…

  • Wild

    Wild 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 03 Jan, 2016 2

    Wild really is a happy convergence of some truly first-class elements. Not least, it’s a gripping true story that can elicit empathy from anyone who has ever known grief, and its evil, insidious cousin, despair. Beyond this, there’s a deft and sinuous non-linear screenplay from Nick Hornby; some breath-taking cinematography by Yves Bélanger that inspires both awe with the vistas of the Pacific Crest Trail, and an uncomfortable intimacy in its jittery focus on its protagonist; a director proving again…

  • While We're Young

    While We're Young 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 01 Jan, 2016

    To paraphrase Ben Stiller’s co-star Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, ‘you never go full hipster.’ Unfortunately Stiller’s frustrated documentarian Josh does just that in Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young.

    Fortunately, this is Stiller’s best role in a long time. He’s excellent at playing disappointed characters with an undercurrent of bubbling rage, but here he does it with a restraint that keeps him a sympathetic protagonist even as he visibly swells with self-righteousness. This being a Noah Baumbach film, even…

  • It's a Wonderful Life

    It's a Wonderful Life 1946

    ★★★★ Watched 28 Dec, 2015 2

    I've come to the conclusion that It's a Wonderful Life could be the opening film in a triptych that would end with Pixar's Up. George Bailey could almost be seen as a slightly tragic figure. His life is marked by sacrifice and perceived duty. Even at the formative age of eleven he loses his hearing in one ear as a result of the instinctive heroism he demonstrates in saving his younger brother (an act that foreshadows his later plunge when…