Mike has written 68 reviews for films during 2011.

  • Drive

    Drive

    ★★★★½

    Born of Shane and Clint Eastwood and Heat and Ghost Dog, a beautiful modern-day fairy-tale told with a lullaby feel and hints of extreme violence. Gosling is resplendent as the superhuman hero, raging in suppressed savagery against the comic book villains to save the damsel in distress. Stunning.

  • We Bought a Zoo

    We Bought a Zoo

    ★★★½

    Whoever got Jónsi on board to do the soundtrack knew what they were doing. The centre-piece, and Sigur Rós back-catalogue, track Hoppípolla is stone-cold cinematic.

    But music alone cannot make this movie: it's made because it has story, characters and a bit of the old emotion. So it gets twee occasionally; it's a feel-good movie. If any movie can find your heart strings in amongst your cold, cold interior, this one can.

  • Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

    Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

    ★★★½

    A film that explores the underlying condition inherent in all films of such type: setting the physical plane, our time-and-space Cartesian experience, against the higher reaches of our cerebral artifices. Wefting its tendrils of dichotomy around our combined psyche, lending themsel...ah crap it.

    It's Mission Impossible, FFS. It's what it says on the box. Action. More action. Even more impractical, impossible action. Ridiculously exotic locations. Insane, mad-genius villain. A full-on blast from go to whoa. For all that, it has a crafted touch with just enough, but not too much, humour.

    I was entertained.

  • Thor

    Thor

    ★★½

    What really gets me is the town in the middle of nowhere full of shops and cafés with wi-fi and nightclubs and a superbly equipped hospital and its own little traffic light on its solitary four-way intersection and NO HOUSES. It loses a little when the sole grounding in our world is so fake, especially when we're supposed to care for an artificial invincible video-game Valhalla. Earnest performances and a solid, basic and predictable plot can't make it more than a yeah but nah but yeah but nah. But yeah. But...nyah.

  • Real Steel

    Real Steel

    ★★★

    You've got your standard washed-up hero. There's a child. A wizard; a tech-wizard, but nonetheless. Who's also the love interest. There's triumph over adversity. There's baddies and an invincible monster. It's the new definition of the word formulaic. A predictable flight-of-fancy as finely tuned as one of the outlandish robots it depicts, the perfect product of a Hollywood that bangs two things together — boxing and robots this time — and hopes they stick. And dang it all, they kind of do here.

  • Independence Day

    Independence Day

    ★★★★

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

    I bet the alien IT guy whose job it was to keep the anti-virus definitions up-to-date felt prrretty stupid.

  • The Insider

    The Insider

    ★★★★½

    Love him or hate him — OK, hate him, haters — but Russell Crowe powers this film. The man may like to foight, but he's got serious acting chops. Cross that with Michael Mann and Al Pacino and it's far more interesting than a film about a guy talking to a reporter has any right to be.

  • Heist

    Heist

    ★★★½

    OK, I think I've got this: A gets B, C, D and E to rob a plane, but C double-crosses D, hooks up with F, but he's been triple-crossed by D, who with B and E perform a quadruple-cross and D and F, no, G and H, hitmen for A…um, and they quintuple-cross D, but I and B or D…no, C sells out, no, that's F, and the gold…no, E, no, G. No, B. No, A…no, B…fdssajlkasdf…excuse me while I take an aspirin.

  • Gosford Park

    Gosford Park

    ★★★★

    A masterclass in ensemble filmmaking. Nobody, but nobody, does it like Robert Altman.

    Despite the myriad faces and frequent cutting between storylines, this motion picture is a marvel at focussing on exactly the right things. You know what's going on, who's snogging who, who's got the fake Scottish accent, where your place would be in such a society, how a table should be set, the difference between a footman, valet and butler and just how much repression one person should be allowed to take.

  • 300

    300

    ★★★★

    Question 15 (20 marks)

    Use the following equations to prove that 300 was actually pretty damn good. Show all working.

    (Eq.1)
    Content ^ ( 1 / True_Story * Warped_Imagination ) / ABS ( Torsos - Breasts ^ 2 ) * Bad_Freaks / Good_Freaks = 300 * Spectacle

    (Eq.2)
    ( Style * Slow_Motion_Frames / SQRT ( CGI_Monsters - 1 / Outside_Locations ) ) / ( 1 + Beards / This! * Is! * Sparta! ) = 10,000

  • The Rite

    The Rite

    ★★★

    Not a horror, unless you count the horrors your own imagination conjures as you wait in vain for the vaguely disturbing to turn full-blown. The Exorcist is still king of the frights by some distance. But this film does have atmosphere, Anthony Hopkins in fine form, finally getting to play someone Welsh after years of cannibals and Kiwis, and a solid basis in an increasingly irrelevant, but still rich, Christian mythology.

  • Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

    Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

    ★★★

    Yessir, I done seen this and done think it okay. The gruesome deaths was funny.