Recent Viewing

The Illusionist

3starFirst 30 minutes, great.  Last 30 minutes, great.  Unfortunately in between it all got a little rambly, slow and repetitive.  The animation was impressive and it was fun seeing my home city in animated form, but if I hadn’t had that novelty aspect of seeing places I recognised every few minutes (including inside the very screen where I was watching the film) the middle section would have felt even flatter.  I have to admit though it did make me choke up when it was supposed to, and the last 5-10 minutes were very powerful.  The final shot of the lights literally going out on dancehall, was perfect.

p.s this is the Sylvain Chomet animated illusionist from this year, not  Ed Norton getting one over Austrian  royalty.

The Social Network

4.5starI’m sure there were plenty of groans when it was announced that a film about the rise of Facebook was being released… but what a film it is.   David Fincher is back to his best after a mare with Benjamin Button.  Strong performances all round, a great script  and surprisingly funny.   The scene depicting Mark Zuckerberg and Sean Parker in the nightclub sticks in my mind as being particularly impressive.  I have this down as the best new release (and the best trailer) I’ve seen this year.


4 starMore than just a throwaway teen comedy.  The film strikes a great balance between comedy and drama throughout and at no point does it lose its way.  Eisenberg (doing his usual)  is perfect for the lead role and no matter what you think about Twilight, given a bit of decent script Kristen Stewart does play the troubled teenager role very well here.  This could so easily have been just a silly teen comedy set in a theme park, but it’s much more.   In fact I would even go as far as to say there was something a bit special about it, the way it perfectly captures what a pre university summer spent working any old job is like.   I’m only 25 but this is the first film that has ever made me feel nostalgic….An interesting story, good performances and plenty of comedy.

“Yet he still retains his chapeau!”

The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford


4.5starWell I’m not entirely sure how this one crept under my radar for so long.  I’ve never heard anyone I know recommend this film or even mention it in passing.  The best collection of performances in a single film I’ve seen for quite a while.  Brad Pitt is better than I’ve ever seen before and Sam Rockwell along with the rest of the cast is superb, but it’s Casey Affleck who steals the show as the thoroughly pathetic and unpleasant Robert Ford in one of the best performances of recent years.  Totally underrated.

District 9

2.5starI don’t think I’ve ever been so out of kilter with the general public feeling about a film before.  I thought it was at best average.  The political messages were too obvious to have any punch, the main character seriously grated and the CGI prawns really didn’t look particularly impressive to me.  The most disappointing cinema visit of the year.  Having said that it was certainly an original take on the alien genre and was fairly well thought out.

Sin Nombre

2.5starNot a bad film by any stretch, just very, very grim.  Almost everyone dies and i’m struggling to remember a single moment of hapiness.  Now i’m all for sad films, but even something like Requiem for a Dream has moments of hapiness within it, it kind of helps you connect with the characters. It’s a good basis for a story but it felt slightly simple, shallow and was just too downbeat.  Forgettable, I was expecting more.


2.5starYes, yes I’ve been on a bit of an Eisenberg binge.  Some funny moments and plenty of enjoyable zombie bashing, but no Shaun of the Dead.

“wow, you almost knocked over your alcohol with your knife”

Mr Nice

2 starBleh… With such an extraordinary life to dramatize this really should have been much, much better.  I really have almost nothing to say about it…. hmm… The ‘stylish’ shots of a superimposed Rhys Ifans walking about on 70s streets were awful. The rest was very average.



  1. Completely agree with you on AOJJ. It’s so good and yet so under-rated. Special mention should also go to Roger Deakins, who invented a whole new shooting style just to make the film look as good as it does.

    I’m also completely in love with The Social Network, so agree with your review. I can imagine no greater film team than Fincher directing a Sorking script.

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