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  • The Witch

    The Witch

    ★★★½

    The Witch is set in the Plymouth Colony, what is now the U.S. state of Massachusetts, in the 1630s. There are a few hundred people at most in the colony, which is essentially a religious commune run by Puritans. The film opens in a court room, with a verdict handed down to banish an Englishman named William, who will not admit error in a religious dispute with the town leaders. William, his wife Katherine, their eldest daughter Thomasin, son Caleb,…

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    ★½

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

    Have slept on this to allow things to settle and here goes. WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS JUST ALL OVER THIS.

    So, The Rise of Skywalker was not totally, absolutely, completely unwatchable in the way The Last Jedi was; this was a start. And some explanation and acknowledgement was given to the return-to-life of Emperor Palpatine, unlike the reappearance of Darth Maul in Solo. Again, a start.

    The use of the Emperor is a massive problem, though, in itself, and around…

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  • Avatar

    Avatar

    ★★

    It is simply impossible to see what the fuss was about. Was it the visuals perhaps—surely surpassed now by Life of Pi (reviewed here)? It can't be the acting—I like Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver as much as anybody, but reality is still reality. My impression is that the supposed wondrousness of the thing was political: this is a film that presents a vision of what idiots believe the Iraq War was about—and indeed what people now commonly take to…

  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2

    ★★★★★

    It is quite simply brilliant. Trying to explain why without giving anything away is tricky but here goes ...

    It is perhaps to be expected in 2014 that visually a film will pass muster but the manner of the passing here is quite exceptional. Better still, there is none of the pretentiousness about it that occasioned Avatar (reviewed here) or—much worse—Life of Pi.

    The acting is sensational. It is impossible to overpraise Andrew Garfield. As someone who actually liked Tobey…