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  • 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.

  • Supersonic

    Supersonic

    ★★★

    A well-assembled collection of mainly concert and home-video footage that charts the band during the five-year stint from its formation and signing to performing for 250,000 at the Knebworth concerts in 1996. The fact that most of Oasis’s output arrived fully formed courtesy of songwriter Noel Gallagher means there isn’t much in the way of studio collaboration on show, and the film is weaker for it—save for a great anecdote about the recording session for ‘Champagne Supernova’. Producer Asif Kapadia’s influence presumably extended to (wisely) keeping the participants’ commentary to the audio track only, as he did with his own films Amy and Senna.

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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…