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  • The Martian

    The Martian

    ★★★★

    Competence porn of the highest order, with Matt Damon's astronaut surviving his being abandoned on the surface of Mars and surviving until his shipmates can return to pick him up.

    I did like a couple of the in-jokes (most notably, Sean Bean's character being involved in a Council of Elrond when he joined his NASA colleagues to discuss a particular change of plan and Jeff Daniels' character announcing that he wanted to be Glorfindel, and Watney's line about his being…

  • The Devil Wears Prada

    The Devil Wears Prada

    ★★★½

    I somehow missed this over the years before catching up with it on TV this afternoon. Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci and Anne Hathaway are all fine here, but it's really all about Meryl Streep's performance as the editor whose life their characters all revolve around.

    As a male I think I'm somewhat inoculated against the film's take on fashion's importance, but there's no denying that the cast sell the notion for a couple of hours before the whole thing ends on what's basically a note of happy endings all round (or at any rate, partings on good terms.) A solid piece of work all round.

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  • Loving Leah

    Loving Leah

    ★★★½

    Undemanding but surprisingly engaging fare. Yes, the ending can be predicted some fifteen minutes in, but it's the path the characters take to get there that makes it worth a watch.

    This whole story depends hugely upon Lauren Ambrose's performance to sell it. Happily, she's more than up to the task.

    [It probably helps that I have absolutely no knowledge of whether the combination of Jewish custom and personal circumstances that resulted in the lead characters coming together counts as completely outlandish or merely ridiculous. It's easier to suspend disbelief that way.]

  • The Chronicles of Riddick

    The Chronicles of Riddick

    ★★★★½

    This is one of those films I just can't stop myself from watching if I'm flipping between channels and it shows up. It's utterly batty in places, but somehow the cast sells it. It's a huge, ambitious B movie, and I adore how it took a few characters who survived Pitch Black and decided to take a huge left turn and plug them into a wildly different storyline that the film was determined to pursue without stopping to explain anything.…