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Snowden

September 22, 2016
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 'Snowden' (2016)

Snowden belongs to a peculiar new genre: the fictionalised re-make of the successful documentary – in this case, Laura Poitras’s award-winning Citizenfour (2014). The question for viewers is whether director, Oliver Stone, has brought anything new and vital to the mix that was not canvassed in the real-life film. The answer is ‘no’, unless we … More


The Nice Guys

May 26, 2016
Ryan Gosling & Russell Crowe in 'The Nice Guys' (2016)

Take Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, a sassy blonde teenager, and a salacious story that revolves around the Los Angeles porn industry circa 1977, and you have The Nice Guys. It’s not so much a formula film as half a dozen formulas that director, Shane Black, has mixed together to create a surprisingly fizzy cocktail. … More


X-Men Apocalypse

May 19, 2016
Tye Sheridan in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' (2016)

Not having bothered to watch the past seven – or is it eight? – X-Men films, I feel at a disadvantage when it comes to reviewing this latest installment in a long-running franchise. I didn’t avoid the previous films for any special reason, merely a lack of interest in the overblown superhero genre that has … More


Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice

March 31, 2016
Henry Cavill in 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' (2016)

At the age of twelve I read Marvel comics with religious dedication. As a fan one made a clear choice between the Marvel universe and that of its great rival, DC comics. While DC may have had those two archetypal superheroes, Batman and Superman, Marvel had a whole raft of characters that seemed more imaginatively … More


Point Break

January 7, 2016
Edgar Ramirez & Luke Bracey in 'Point Break' (2015)

There is no shortage of extraordinary nature cinematography in Point Break, but after watching The Revenant, it felt as artificial as a cartoon. The heavy imprint of CGI is all over this film, which is barely more than two hours of eye candy arranged over the flimsiest of plots. Before seeing this movie I would … More


Star Wars: The Force Awakens

December 17, 2015
John Boyega & Daisy Ridley in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' (2015)

In preparation for the new Star Wars movie I planned to work my way through the six previous installments in this never-ending saga. At the end of the of year there is virtually nothing to write about until Boxing Day brings a swag of new releases, so I had time to do my homework. It … More


In the Heart of the Sea

December 4, 2015
Chris Hemsworth in 'In the Heart of the Sea' (2015)

Ron Howard is the kind of old-fashioned director Hollywood loves. He is happy to work with trash such as The Da Vinci Code (2006), but able to rise to the occasion when given a more challenging assignment such as Apollo 13 (1995) or Frost/Nixon (2008). The skill is to make the trash seem a little … More


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

November 26, 2015
Jennifer Lawrence in 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2' (2015)

After four gruelling installments the lucrative Hunger Games franchise has finally ground to a halt. Just as The Hobbit had to be extruded into a trilogy, with the entire third part based on only a few pages of the actual book, so too has Suzanne Collins’s young adult series been stretched beyond the point of … More


Spectre

November 12, 2015
Daniel Craig in 'Spectre' (2015)

Each new James Bond movie arrives like a cinematic tsunami. You know it’s coming, and that it’s completely unstoppable. If all the critics in the world decided that Spectre was rubbish it would make very little impression on the box office. A Bond film, regardless of its merits and demerits, is a ‘Must See’. I … More


The Martian

October 2, 2015
Matt Damon in 'The Martian' (2015)

In 1964 Paramount released a movie called Robinson Crusoe on Mars, which may be viewed on YouTube. It tells the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars who must learn to survive in a hostile environment. Sound familiar? This is roughly the plot of Ridley Scott’s The Martian, based on a best-selling novel by science … More