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  • Django Unchained

    Django Unchained 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 21 Jan, 2013 1

    Tarantino is one of those filmmakers where you either enjoy his schtick or you don't, and he's nothing if not self-indulgent here, dragging every scene out and milking each moment for all it's worth. Yes, it's ill-disciplined and probably a good hour longer than it needed to be (the original DJANGO runs for only 90 minutes, lest we forget), but by the same token, some of the film's most enjoyable moments are the parts that would have been left on…

  • The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight 2008

    ★★½ Rewatched 19 Nov, 2012 4

    I'd hoped, after seeing and genuinely enjoying BATMAN BEGINS, that its sequel would go up in my estimation on a rewatch. Sadly, it wasn't to be. While there are a couple of great action set-pieces and Heath Ledger's Joker is hugely entertaining to watch, the overall effect is muddled, over-long and poorly paced. The moral centrepiece, involving two groups of people each given the means to damn the other while saving themselves, is interesting in theory but botched in its…

  • Inception

    Inception 2010

    ★★ Watched 02 Jan, 2011 7

    Time for me to get my hard hat on and prepare for a barrage of dissenting viewpoints: I didn't like INCEPTION. No, I can't say I'm entirely surprised, given my reactions to the other Christopher Nolan films I've seen: his monotonous THE DARK KNIGHT, his bland remake of INSOMNIA and the uneven MEMENTO (the only one I have any real time for). Still, I was prepared to give it a chance and was even, to an extent, cautiously optimistic, particularly…

  • The Avengers

    The Avengers 2012

    Watched 08 Jan, 2013 7

    Snark, snark, snark. Boring CGI action scene. Snark, snark, snark. Boring CGI action scene. Repeat ad nauseam.

    Full disclosure: I didn't finish this film. I couldn't. It's the first film of 2012 I've seen where I was so disengaged that I had to give up before the finish line.

    I know I'm not in this film's target audience. I've never read any of the Marvel comics. I haven't seen any of the recent Marvel superhero films of which this is…

  • Alien

    Alien 1979

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 15 Mar, 2015

    Watched with Half in the Bag audio commentary by Mike Stoklasa, Jay Bauman and Rich Evans -

  • The Social Network

    The Social Network 2010

    ★★★★★ Watched 11 Jan, 2011

    I purposefully avoided writing this post until after the release of Movie Matters Episode 5, because otherwise it would have been blatantly obvious what my personal number one film of 2010 was. That film is indeed THE SOCIAL NETWORK, pipping TOY STORY 3 to the post at the last minute and a welcome return to form for David Fincher after the toe-curling THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON.

    Someone (I forget who) recently wrote (I forget where) that Fincher is…

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001

    ★★★★ Rewatched 08 Jul, 2011

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I first read J.R.R. Tolkien's THE LORD OF THE RINGS when I was in primary school. If you asked me a decade ago, I would probably have described it as my favourite book, and although I've become more aware of its flaws as the years have passed, I still maintain considerable affection for it. I saw the Ralph Bakshi 1978 animation/live action hybrid film while I was still making my way through the book, and even at the time was…

  • No Country for Old Men

    No Country for Old Men 2007

    ★★★★ Watched 03 Sep, 2012 7

    Brilliant until the final twenty minutes, at which point it completely runs out of steam and meanders towards an unsatisfying (non-)conclusion. A real shame, because the first hour and forty minutes are solid gold.

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 2012

    ★★★½ Watched 18 Dec, 2012 3

    Over-long and self-indulgent, THE HOBBIT (Part 1) is confirmation in my mind that Peter Jackson has become a director too big to edit. The source material is a slim 250 pages, and yet Jackson and his co-writers have somehow managed to make it span three instalments, each of which will no doubt rest somewhere on either side of the three-hour line. Let's put it this way: if THE LORD OF THE RINGS had been adapted with this little efficiency, Tom…

  • Argo

    Argo 2012

    ★★★★½ Watched 19 Nov, 2012 1

    If you can tolerate the historical inaccuracies, which blatantly short-change certain participants in this dramatisation of a rescue mission that really was stranger than anything a writer could have dreamt up, then this is easily the most gripping and engaging thriller of the year. The last 45 minutes in particular are edge-of-your-seat material, and I suspect it helped that I didn't know the outcome of the mission going in. I wasn't too impressed by Ben Affleck's GONE BABY GONE (haven't…

  • Big Hero 6

    Big Hero 6 2014

    ★★★★ Rewatched 10 Jan, 2016

    I definitely liked this better a second time round. The storyline is pretty generic (there's a massive amount of reliance on both THE IRON GIANT and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON for a number of set-pieces) and the final act is the weakest part of it (long, drawn-out battle sequences involving people flying around screaming "Projectile laser cannon!" is one of the reasons I don't tend to get into superhero films), but it looks incredible, and Baymax is easily one of my favourite movie characters of the past year.

  • Black Swan

    Black Swan 2010

    ★★★★ Rewatched 14 May, 2011

    As Mike Sutton says in his review of BLACK SWAN at, Darren Aronofsky's latest movie is essentially "high-trash melodrama". It's frequently over the top and absurd, and revels in all sorts of daft clichés about mental illness - particularly the A/B white/black personality split from which its heroine suffers... and yet despite all this it's a dazzling, visceral piece of work if you accept it on its own terms. I don't personally think Natalie Portman deserves quite the degree…