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  • Marebito 2004

    ★★½ Watched 11 Mar, 2014

    The poster for this film is really quite misleading. It looks like standard lank-haired Japanese girl fare, and as it is from Takeshi Shimizu, the director of The Grudge that is probably a fair assumption.

    Instead Marebito is a strange concoction that takes us below the streets of Tokyo to catacombs that teem with the dead and other, stranger denizens. This is seen through the eyes and camera of Masuoka (Shinya Tsukamoto) as he seeks to discover the terror that…

  • Toy Story 3 2010

    ★★★★★ Watched 09 Mar, 2014

    About as pleasurable a viewing experience as it is possible to get. Toy Story 3 could have been a lazy cash-in pandering to the nostalgia and good-will towards its legendary, groundbreaking predecessors. Instead, it takes the characters we all know and love and brings their story full-circle providing a coda to the series that is both incredibly poignant and dramatically satisfying.

    Thematically it is perhaps even richer than the first two. Very few adults won't be able to relate to…

  • Dallas Buyers Club 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 06 Mar, 2014

    I spent the beginning of Dallas Buyers Club suppressing the odd giggle at the sight of all the aggressively macho Texan men riding their rodeo bulls and getting beer foam in their enormous and manly moustaches. It was like the entire cast turned up to a Village People party dressed as the same one.

    When uber-hick Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is diagnosed with HIV, it begins a crusade that leads to him setting up the 'Dallas Buyers Club', in which…

  • The Conjuring 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 05 Mar, 2014

    For the best part of an hour, The Conjuring is pretty damn scary. As done to death as it may be, there is always something about a haunted house tale that will resonate with me if they're done well. It's not that I believe in ghosts per se, but I do have a really over-active imagination.

    James Wan knows his stuff and for the larger part of the film it mainly hits. It throws every staple of the genre at…

  • Prisoners 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 04 Mar, 2014

    While I had seen some positive ratings for Prisoners, I didn't know an awful lot about the story, and decided to watch it based on the excellent cast and my liking for director Denis Villeneuve's previous film Incendies.

    At first, it seemed like it was another police procedural, albeit one with a distinctly dark sensibility, lensed with somber skill by the wonderful Roger Deakins. Then it took a much darker turn and I was pretty transfixed from that point on.…

  • Pieta 2012

    ★★½ Watched 04 Mar, 2014 5

    Kim Ki-Duk has an affinity for outsiders. His films are full of the dispossessed, downtrodden and the depressed. I believe he also battles with quite severe depression, and again this is something that comes across in the mood of his film quite often. While they are often bleak I felt that they always fell short of outright nihilism.

    Until now.

    Pieta is not an easy film to sit through. It features ones of the most unlikable protagonists put on screen…

  • Only God Forgives 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 02 Mar, 2014 14

    There are some films that are created, I'm sure, entirely to polarise their viewing audience. I have the distinct that when Drive found its niche in the mainstream Nicolas Winding Refn was as surprised as anyone, and recoiled in a similar way that Kurt Cobain did when Nevermind went stratospheric. Am I saying that Only God Forgives is Refn's In Utero?

    Erm, not really (Christ, this is what happens when you don't pre-plan your reviews!), In Utero was a fuzz-drenched…

  • Elysium 2013

    ★★★ Watched 28 Feb, 2014

    Despite some negative reviews, my hopes were still fairly high for Neill Blomkamp's follow up to District 9. And it's... pretty decent. But really, I wanted more from this.

    Firstly, the political commentary is pretty obvious and ham-fisted. Okay, District 9 Apartheid parable wasn't particularly subtle, but it was at least below the surface. Elysium wears its heart on its bionically-enhanced sleeve. The Earth, where... ooh let's see... 99%..? of humanity resides is a poisonous over-crowded hellhole. The wealthy 1%…

  • Serpico 1973

    ★★★½ Watched 28 Feb, 2014

    Finally, twenty-seven years after I started watching this film, I've seen it to the end. I started watching it in 1987 at my grandma's house after I sneaked downstairs to turn the TV on just as it was beginning. I was enjoying myself until I felt a parental hand on my shoulder and I was dispatched back to bed with a ticking off for watching stuff meant for adults.

    After my fully licit viewing today, I'm not sure what must…

  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie 1972

    ★★★★½ Watched 28 Feb, 2014

    A stunning skewering of middle/upper class mores that is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

    Of Luis Buñuel's feature length work I had only seen the dreamy, insouciant Belle du Jour so I wasn't expecting the seemingly straight narrative that I was initially presented with. It is only as the film progresses that the surreal nature of the film really unfolds, the strangeness presented as jarringly at odds with the quotidian, almost stagy scenarios. In this it reminded more of Rene Magritte's use of…

  • Welcome to the Dollhouse 1995

    ★★★★½ Watched 26 Feb, 2014

    For some reason I had never got around to watching Todd Solondz's highly regarded debut. This was a wrong duly righted, for it is pretty damn magnificent.

    Rarely will you see such a savage and surgical portrayal of adolescence. Heather Matarazzo is amazing as the put-upon twelve year-old Dawn Wiener. She is subjected to relentless cruelty and abuse at school, and a parental attitude that veers between indifference to outright neglect. It's a comedy, sure; but it's also a deeply…

  • Heretic 2012

    ★★½ Watched 27 Feb, 2014

    Low-budget indie chiller that I watched simply because a friend of my girlfriend composed the music.

    I was actually quite pleasantly surprised. Forget what it says on the poster - it bears no relation to either The Exorcist or Carrie. Instead it's a very slow-burn character study with a nice creepy edge. It certainly what I was expecting, and was better for it.

    It's let down by dodgy dialogue and some iffy acting, but looks quite accomplished and has some decent cinematography. The music's good too!