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  • 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 -…

  • The Borderlands 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 10 Aug, 2014

    A little imagination can breathe some life into a stale genre, and while The Borderlands isn't going to completely revitalise the found-footage movie on its own, it's certainly at the side charging the defibrillator.

    Gordon Kennedy is Deacon, a Vatican investigator tasked with solving (or disproving) reports of paranormal activity at a remote reconsecrated church in the West Country. Robin Hill plays Gray, the technical whizz who supplies the cameras, which their employers insist they wear at all times. Why…

  • Solomon Kane 2009

    ★★★½ Watched 09 Aug, 2014

    Evil and witches abound in a perfectly decent adaptation of Robert E. Howard's pulp puritan avenger.

    After escaping a messenger from Hell come to collect his soul, privateer Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) retreats to a monastery and renounces all violence, hoping he can redeem himself from damnation. This being from the writer of Conan the Barbarian though, it's obvious that pacifism isn't going to quite do the trick, and sure enough our West Country crusader is soon on the vengeance…

  • Chinese Puzzle 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 07 Aug, 2014

    I had no idea that a third film in Cédric Klapisch's series was in the offing until a few weeks ago. I fell in love heavily with Pot Luck and Russian Dolls about nine years ago. I was already hopelessly in love with Audrey Tautou thanks to Amelie, and the first two films also set up an abiding crush on Kelly Reilly which has survived the years.

    The film ostensibly centres on the continuing life and loves of Xavier (Romain…

  • Beginners 2010

    ★★★½ Watched 06 Aug, 2014

    If you're looking for true depth and a real insight into real human relationships then Beginners probably isn't that film. It's flighty, twee wish-fulfillment. I also found it very likable - perhaps I've become more expansive and romantic in my old age. This is a movie I would have found vomit-inducing at 24. At 34 though; I'm on board.

    Beginners is told in flashback over three time frames.
    Oliver (Ewan McGregor) spends time with his father Hal (Christopher Plummer) after…

  • The Good, The Bad, The Weird 2008

    ★★★★ Watched 03 Aug, 2014 6

    I'm listing The Good, The Bad, The Weird as a first-time watch as I was monumentally drunk the last time I attempted it and couldn't remember anything about it.

    It is yet another stellar entry in the canon of the genre-straddling Kim Jee-woon. It's a manic Western that references (obviously) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Raiders of the Lost Ark and has the frenetic pace of a Loony Tunes cartoon.

    The plot follows the attempts of the titular…

  • Enough Said 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 04 Aug, 2014

    Love is a many splendored thing; so we are told. It is also sharp and vicious and rare is the person who can traverse it without leaving scraps of their soul behind like hanks of cloth on a barbed wire fence. It doesn’t stop us from throwing ourselves at it again, but maybe with our expectations a little dimmed and the emotional baggage a little heavier.

    This is the take on the romantic comedy of Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said. In…

  • Contempt 1963

    ★★★½ Watched 03 Aug, 2014 2

    I'm not at all sure that I'm fully on board with Godard. I found A bout de souflle somewhat interminable, despite the elfin beauty of Jean Seberg, and I found le Mepris somewhat maddening at the same time as I admired its structure, the self-reflexive film-within-a-film, and Bardot's arse.

    I liked the opening scene where Bardot is reeling off her perfect body parts for Michel Piccoli's delectation. I took Godard's decision to shoot this scene in alternately red, natural, and…

  • Quatermass and the Pit 1967

    ★★★ Watched 03 Aug, 2014

    A tight Nigel Kneale script is slightly hamstrung by some hilariously wobbly special effects in Quatermass and the Pit. Roy Ward Baker could certainly direct an action scene on a tight budget but the creepy and paranoid tone of the film is just undermined by the effects.

    In all honesty however it makes it all the more fun when the actors keep their impeccable gravitas among the various bits of stuff being wobbled about on strings. The ‘Martian massacre’ scene…

  • Belle 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 01 Aug, 2014

    As much as I enjoyed Belle, I came away thinking that it is an unconventional story told in the most conventional way possible.

    It is a relentlessly manipulative film in that there isn't a single moment that you aren't being led through it like an old lady being helped across the street. Every shot and every note of music is choreographed to tell you exactly how to feel at the risk of being every bit as constraining as the myriad…

  • The Raid 2011

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 31 Jul, 2014

    My dad is best described as a passive viewer of films. He will sit and watch any film that's on without taking any of it in. He's one of those, 'Oh, that's that fella from that thing who was in that thing with her from that other thing,' kind of people.

    'What are you putting on now?' he asked last night.
    'The Raid,' I said.

    I think it was a bonding experience.

  • Barton Fink 1991

    ★★★★½ Watched 31 Jul, 2014

    Well if this is what happens when the Coens get writers' block, then I want some of that. Barton Fink was written during a period of struggle during the creation of Miller's Crossing and is a darkly funny and densely symbolic critique of the creative process and the blurred boundary between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art.

    John Turturro plays Barton Fink, a Jewish playwright who has some success on Broadway in 1941 with his first play, Bare Ruined Choirs. His agent…