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  • Diving Into the Unknown

    Diving Into the Unknown

    ★★

    This is an inspiring tale of brotherhood, but for a story that relies entirely upon understanding the logistics of what went wrong, and the subsequent actions of the survivors, there is a catastrophic lack of insight or explanation offered to anyone unfamiliar with how events unfolded. Why were the two teams separated by 20 minutes on the first dive, why were there divers at both entrances, was the timing a contributing factor to the mishaps, were the mishaps related, what…

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

    Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

    ★★★

    It somehow took me till the fourth instalment to realise just what a debt these films owe to Indiana Jones, notwithstanding Depp’s campier (and now paunchier) take on the wisecracking, swashbuckling hero. This is the franchise’s Last Crusade (lost chalices, old flames, father figures and a race to discover the secrets of eternal youth) with a little Temple of Doom for good measure, and Hans Zimmer doing a passable John Williams. With the Kon-Tiki directors at the helm for number five—and Javier Bardem pulling on his pirate boots as Captain Salazar—I’m not planning to disembark just yet.

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  • Drive

    Drive

    ★★★★★

    The tech writer John Gruber is fond of a Kubrick quote about the truth of a thing being in the feel of it rather than the think of it, a phrase that for me perfectly explains the appeal of Nicolas Winding Refn’s noirish adaptation of the James Sallis novel. Right from the first hotel room scene, through a near wordless 15-minute opening stanza, the foreboding atmosphere of an after-hours, back-streets Los Angeles takes hold. The ambient, minimal score by Cliff…

  • Les Misérables

    Les Misérables

    ★★★

    Golden boy director, hot off earnest 2011 Oscar winner The King’s Speech, cashes in open-slather offer for next project by committing to film universally adored hit musical about love at first sight and the redemptive power of student uprisings.

    Loses drunken bet over which member of the Master and Commander cast will play the pivotal role of Javert, and is forced to cast vocally-challenged Aussie rocker, only to have him murder ‘Stars’ and be thoroughly upstaged by pint-sized unknown Daniel…