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  • Once Upon a Time in Venice

    Once Upon a Time in Venice

    ★★★

    Perhaps it's the low expectations I had to this – Bruce Willis coasting through yet another glorified cameo for an inflated paycheck probably – but Once Upon a Time in Venice turned out to be a pleasant little surprise. Everyone involved appear to have dropped any kind of pretensions, and just decided to have a laidback, good time. The result is a movie that's never in any danger of lifting the art form of cinema to new heights, or even…

  • The Circle

    The Circle

    ★★½

    Not entirely worthless, but The Circle struggles to suspend disbelief, and is essentially a Black Mirror episode with all the biting satire taken out, and a whole lot of meandering padding stuffed in instead.

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  • From Up on Poppy Hill

    From Up on Poppy Hill

    ★★★★

    The world was very unkind to Goro Miyazaki when he took the unexpected leap from landscape architect and museum manager to director in 2006. Tales from Earthsea had its fair share of weaknesses and outright faults, but the yardstick by which the younger Miyazaki was measured and found lacking was downright unfair and cruel. The recent documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi contains a musing from a food critic that's strikingly relevant: 86 year old Jiro is still in charge of…

  • The Hunger Games

    The Hunger Games

    ★★★★

    Essentially Battle Royale for the Twilight crowd, The Hunger Games makes the leap from the pages to the big screen with the majority of the details intact. Sticking so closely to the source material means that the movie also shares the novel's strengths and weaknesses.

    First and foremost, Katniss remains an interesting, reluctant rebel character (Jennifer Lawrence, excellent), while the rest of the cast of characters veer more towards simple archetypes, sometimes wrapped in colorful costumes, sometimes not. The dystopic…