Mike has written 16 reviews for films rated ★★★½ .

  • Micmacs

    Micmacs

    ★★★½

    One of the few directors that commands the right to be known as his own genre, Jean-Pierre Jeunet has come up with another vision of our world that is ever-so-slightly off-set from the real, just enough to be fantastical, but perhaps not enough to be a fantasy. Micmacs is not up to the standard of his greater works, but it whiles away the time nicely.

  • Who's Camus Anyway?

    Who's Camus Anyway?

    ★★★½

    Stay till the end, do. If the entire film was only that ending, a sublime film-within-a-film (or is it? dum-dum-dummmmm), then I would have given it five stars. Pure genius.

  • Four Lions

    Four Lions

    ★★★½

    No-one comes out of this movie well: neither the bumbling, idiotic would-be martyrs, nor the just-as-bumbling and only-vaguely-less-idiotic authorities.

    Do not, under any circumstances, show this film to any extraterrestrial civilisation we're trying to make a good impression on. Especially if they are Wookie or vaguely bear-ish. It would only give our extraterrestrial visitors a good laugh as they fence off our planet with "DANGER! Do Not Approach: Seriously Fucked Up Lifeforms" signs and about-face at Warp Factor Can't-get-out-of-here-fast-enough.

  • Back to the Future Part III

    Back to the Future Part III

    ★★★½

    Slick and fun, and more entertaining than Part II, but still fanfic.

  • The Thin Red Line

    The Thin Red Line

    ★★★½

    Beautifully shot, philosophy in pictures. We see the horrors of war, the soldiers fighting more and more for themselves and the man next to them, less and less for king — well president — and country. We see death, destruction, desecration. We see this.

    But we are told it too. The literate, lingering voice-overs on life and death, war and peace and everything in between are elegant, but I can't help feeling they are redundant. I can already see the great evil. I don't really need to have the great evil exposited for me too, however poetically.

  • The Chronicles of Riddick

    The Chronicles of Riddick

    ★★★½

    Feels like a cut-down Dune and an extension of Arthur C Clarke's famous dictum that alien (or future) technology will be indistinguishable from magic: sci-fi mysticism subsumes science. As usual, Vin Diesel is improbably cool, conveyed through assuming one expression for the entire movie — set jaw, steely eyes — but the story is dense enough to stand up to more than one viewing. Indeed, after my first viewing I hated it; subsequent viewings mellowed me.

  • Pitch Black

    Pitch Black

    ★★★½

    Vin Diesel's Riddick treads a fine line in assuming a too-cool-for-school persona one hundred percent of the time: sometimes you marvel at his abilities, other times you think he's a twat. Consequently, he's on my list of also-ran anti-heroes. (Well, actually, he's the only one on that list, because I've never thought about it until now). It must be said, though, that the film benefits from his portrayal: the locale, the other characters and the baddie monsters demand a bad-ass anti-hero.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Braindead

    Braindead

    ★★★½

    The first movie I ever saw where I laughed and threw up at the same time. It is also the only movie I have ever seen where I laughed and threw up at the same time.

  • True Grit

    True Grit

    ★★★½

    Havin' taken the time to consider, I find all the players concerned to be at the top of their crafts. It is but a simple story, straight told, admirably gritty in demeanour and the characters' fix. Though, like a fiddle tune played with scant notes discordant, there is an unfortunate lack, maybe the fault of the tale itself, maybe somethin' else. It is to my mind, that this be not counted amongst the greatest works of the Brothers Coen.