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  • The Avengers 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 16 Mar, 2014

    After being unimpressed by the few Marvel productions I had seen previously, Iron Man and Thor, I wasn't sure how I would feel about The Avengers. There was just something really rather bland about those films. I suppose not too many risks are going to be taken with such a mega-bucks franchise.

    I guess those movies were merely Hors d'oeuvre as The Avengers feels far more substantial fare. This is purely down to the excellent cast and the interaction of…

  • Lore 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 16 Mar, 2014

    Germany is obviously rich in folklore. Cate Shortland is clearly aware of this, and as numerous other Letterboxders (hello chaps!) have pointed out, the title of her second full-length film is as much a nod to the Gothic tales of der Bruder-Grimm as it is the name of the eponymous heroine.

    In my experience, films set in during the Second World War don't tend to deal in ambiguities. The narrative has been long-established, and there is something about Shortland's work…

  • The Wolf of Wall Street 2013

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 15 Mar, 2014

    This held up amazingly well to a second viewing, particularly with some friends who were watching it for the first time. There is certain joy in watching your chums get as much of a kick out of something as you did.

    For a three hour movie as well, this absolutely rattles past. It's big and bloated and a little ramshackle in its structure, sure. And it is undoubtedly guilty of character stasis. It could be argued that the satirical side…

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

    ★★★★★ Watched 12 Mar, 2014 8

    I will admit to being somewhat ambivalent about Wes Anderson's work in the past. While I admire the idiosyncrasies and the impeccable composition of a master stylist, I have often found his films raise a wry smile of appreciation rather than a great belly laugh of connection.

    He produces comedies of disillusion and disappointment that have failed to really strike a chord with me so far. That's not to say that I don't appreciate melancholy with my mirth, but the…

  • 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%…