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Jigsaw (I) (2017)
6/10
A return to form... sort of anyway
26 October 2017
Saw is back and Jigsaw has returned to reclaim Halloween. But, you'll immediately find yourself confused. After all, Jigsaw has been dead for many years. As soon as you start watching a lot of things just don't make even a hint of sense. Everything seems jumbled up... until the film's many twists and turns become clear and, with yet another rising crescendo of the iconic theme tune, a series of flashbacks, big reveals and gory images, a Saw film once more concludes seemingly laughing at its audience and said audience will once more leave feeling sick to the stomach and very confused. Yep, Saw is back... for better or for worse? In this case, for better. Kind of. After the horrendous last installment, the only good part of Jigsaw's legacy was the roller coaster at Thorpe Park. Now... maybe things could be back on track. It hasn't redeemed the franchise; the usual bad acting, logic gaps and lack of genuine scares still applies. But at the same time, this installment prioritizes thought provoking moral themes and tension over gore and flashbacks and it is an intense, unsettling experience. With memorable death scenes, a reasonable amount of tension and a relatively solid plot, this should be satisfying enough to most. It doesn't entirely feel like Saw since virtually no-one, not even those still alive, returns from the previous films and the grimy, unclean atmosphere of the old films is replaced by a cleaner, more high-tech vibe, but many will like the various nods to the past movies.

6/10
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The Snowman (2017)
4/10
Oh dear
13 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
What went wrong? That's what I want to know. What happened? This movie had everything going for it. It had an amazing book (I'm a massive Jo Nesbo fan; he must be furious about this movie) as the source material, a talented director and a seriously strong cast. It had all the ingredients to be an awesome Nordic-Noir thriller. How couldn't it be? Now, I'll start by saying that this is a watchable film for the most part. It's got plenty of lovely shots of Norway, one of the most beautiful countries out there in my opinion, and the requisite thrills, shocks and turns throughout most of the film. Don't get me wrong; the characters are cold and it's never scary, but at least it's interesting. All of the mostly English and American actors do fine (Well, mostly anyway) and speak with convincing Scandinavian accents, which was very helpful in getting us to accept that everyone in Norway suddenly speaks English the whole time. Then, then- then- comes, honestly, the worst finale of a film of this kind I've ever seen. No, I'm serious. The villain's reveal makes no sense, his psychology isn't explored, there's no tension, action or anything really resembling a stand-off and then one short scene later the film ends out of nowhere. Seriously, what were they thinking? The book had an awesome finale on the Oslo ski jump for crying out loud! By the looks of it, judging by all the unresolved subplots, terrible editing and complete lack of coherence, the causes of this failure must be either studio interference or 3 different people with different ideas writing the script. Seriously though, what happened? Also, this is the first time I've ever been bored by Michael Fassbender... and Harry Hole is such a great characters in the books! Poor Jo Nesbo. Still, hopefully someone else will do the books justice. Speaking of which... note to the makers of this film: It's Harry Hoo-lee not Harry Hole!

4/10
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Mother! (2017)
6/10
Well... that was interesting
6 October 2017
Mother! is... what is it exactly? That's the question. It's basically an allegory, so one could argue none of the film's events are real. It's nothing like anything Hollywood has put out in the last... well, have they ever done this? I won't say anything about the plot; all I will say is that if you're expecting a home invasion horror film... denied! This is a singular artistic vision from Darren Aronofsky, boasting dazzling close-up based cinematography, incredible acting (Though Javier Bardem's character felt a bit underwritten and wasn't the best use of his talents), thought- provoking themes and utterly bonkers storytelling throughout. I won't lie; it's often tedious, highly self-indulgent, completely ridiculous and not always massively enjoyable. But do you know what? That's fine. I quite like Mother. It's an intelligent, sometimes powerful and clever (To some extent) allegory, although the limited nature of its narrative would make a second viewing somewhat unappealing. It might not be enjoyable, but it is certainly very well-made and I think that if you go in knowing what to expect, you'll be able to appreciate this more. It's got enough visual dazzle and Jennifer Lawrence's usual awesomeness to keep the film afloat. It's also got one of the most messed-up scenes in any recent mainstream American movie... so there's that.

6/10
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1/10
No words
6 October 2017
So, I thought it was past time I watched a Uwe Boll film, given his reputation. He's meant to be one of the worst directors ever, but do you know what I think? I think he's a genius. No, I mean a complete wizard. I think he was trying to make a bad movie and wanted to create the dumbest, most sadistically awful trash in the history of cinema. Well, he certainly did that. But he must have been aiming for that! No sentient human being could produce something like this. I have encountered young kids with more directing talent. Alone in the Dark is awful in every sense. It can be funny, but not that funny. The acting, the writing, the direction, the plot... I could go on and on. It's a movie I don't really want to think about, since when watching it I felt like it was literally making me dumber. It was a genuinely unnerving experience seeing something like this had made it into cinemas at all. AITD is one of the worst films I've ever seen and to be honest, I don't want to talk about it. I still believe Uwe Boll is some sort of evil genius. As a result, I kind of respect him, since I refuse to believe a human mind, given a sizable crew, a generous budget and beloved source material, would be capable of something like this. I hope I'm right anyway.

1/10
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6/10
Basically, another Kick-ass 2
25 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Mathew Vaughn's awesome Kingsman: The Secret Service was a total blast and held up very well upon re-watching as well. In this sequel, Julianne Moore's villain attacks and heavily damages the Kingsman force, leading to a team-up with the American equivalent. So, how did this movie do? Was it better than Kick-Ass 2? Well, yes, but not a lot. The thing with Kick-Ass 2 (Which isn't as bad as you remember but wasn't great either) was that Vaughn gave full writing and directing duties to a completely inexperienced and far weaker director. Here, he's in firm control, but he proves he's not immune to making sequel mistakes either. His first directed sequel is, much like Kick-Ass 2, has too much going on, gets too over-the-top in its attempts to top the preceding film, has the original film's best character (Hit Girl/Harry Hart) trapped in an annoying identity crisis and a good female character from the first film (Roxy/Katie) ditched after a few minutes. Kingsman: The Golden Circle, after opening with an overblown taxi chase, is a whole load of great moments, performances, jokes and fun action in search of a good story to hold it all together. The story just isn't as charismatic and feels more robotic and overly explosion-heavy. There are also too many unnecessary character deaths. On the whole, in spite of the many awesome performances, Vaughn's typically fantastic direction and so many scenes that re-capture the first film's magic, there are plenty of scenes in-between that don't quite work and the church scene from the original is never topped.

6/10
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10/10
A timeless masterpiece
8 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is my favorite film I've seen in 2017 so far. I quite simply have not been able to stop thinking about it. One of Australia's most well-loved films, in this movie- part period-drama, part mystery, part terrifying horror film- 3 schoolgirls and a teacher go missing on a mysterious rock in the Australian outback. This is a mystery with no solution- but you wouldn't want there to be one. It's like what Morgan Freeman says in The Shawshank Redemption: sometimes words can't do something justice. A true ending would only unravel the movie's haunting, heartbreaking story and ruin the atmosphere and spoil the many equally fascinating interpretations. I see it as a story about sexuality, Peter Weir (Wow, why isn't he more famous? His direction here is genius) sees it as a film about nature, others describe it as a film about colonialism. This is such an interesting, fascinating film with so much to say, and it's backed with amazing performances, brilliant visuals and a complex, chilling and heart-breaking script. Occasionally the pace is slow, but who cares to be honest. Aside from the fact that maybe showing a bit more of how the community outside of the school reacts to the disappearances, there really is hardly anything wrong with this movie. Both a haunting yet beautiful dream and a captivating drama, this is truly a work of art.

9/10
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Blair Witch (2016)
6/10
Better than the original
24 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Controversy time: I like this more than The Blair Witch Project. It is a deeply flawed movie, and the pre-release hype let it down, but oh boy is it better than most found footage horror films. 20 years after the first one, Heather's brother goes into the same woods to find her after discovering a video tape which seems to indicate she might be alive. TBWP has aged so badly and it remains a serious struggle to get through only 90 minutes, although it's not a bad film; just a very overrated one. This is what that film should have been. In Blair Witch... something happens. It's not just people walking around the woods and swearing. There are tense, creepy scares (Although too many jump scares for sure). The unsettling atmosphere the first film created is heightened by the sense of psychological order breaking down. The actors are fine as well, although the characters are instantly forgettable. While it feels more like a remake than a sequel, it suffers from disjointed editing, too many cameras and clichéd, predictable scares, it does remain reasonably enjoyable throughout. It also leads to a scary final act. The big talking point is this: we see the witch this time. In the first one, nothing could have lived up to that build- up. However, with the hype gone and 16 years gone by, it seemed acceptable to show the witch. And it's scary. She (Or it?) does live up to the build-up after all. This isn't great and can be pretty naff at times, but it's quite an interesting late sequel on the whole.

6/10
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Dunkirk (2017)
9/10
One of the best war films of all time
23 August 2017
Dunkirk tells the story of the evacuation of thousands of British soldiers from France following a military disaster. I wasn't looking forward to this particularly. After years of Christopher Nolan being idolized and trivialized by some of the most obnoxious fans on the internet- if you do a negative review of one of his films prepare for cyber-bullying- I have become fed up of hearing about his movies. As well as this, the Dunkirk evacuation didn't seem like a great war story to tell out of all the WWII stories that could have been told. Well, the doubts were wrong. Dunkirk is a technical masterpiece and better than nearly every single major release from 2016. Despite criticism at the lack of character development, for me it worked perfectly. No sentimentality. No weepy moments. No extended dialogue scenes. Here, the events tell the story and the emotional trauma of everything going on, brought to terrifying life by Christopher Nolan at the peak of his powers, are more than enough. Sure, the characters are thin, but they're brought to life by great performances- even Harry Styles is excellent. In terms of virtually every aspect of the film, it's technically masterful, while the non-linear story-telling and focus on people, not explosions, make this a harrowing and emotional experience, as well as a painfully tense one. As a celebration of courage in the face of hopeless circumstances, as a tale of unity, as a suspense thriller, as a historical reconstruction and as a cinematic work in general, Dunkirk is a real triumph.

9/10
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Holidays (2016)
4/10
A laughably weak horror anthology
22 August 2017
Horror anthologies are always a risky business. With multiple writers and directors, there's bound to be an inconsistency in quality throughout. At least with this, given that the shorts, all based on a different holiday, are consistently bad, there is a consistent level of quality throughout.

Valentine: (2.5/5) A blatant Carrie rip-off with some dangling plot threads and a lack of explanation, but at least it gets the black comedy angle of the anthology right and has a clever ending.

St Patrick's Day: (1/5) A laughably stupid dud in every sense. What were they thinking?

Easter: (1.5/5) One good jump scare aside, this is tedious, tasteless and toothless.

Mother's Day: (1/5) A terrible body horror short where pretty much nothing happens. Oh, and then just when something is happening, it ends.

Father's Day: (3.5/5) A cleverly constructed and told short story which is arguably the best of the bunch in many ways, but it's still too open-ended and vague to satisfy.

Halloween: (3.5/5) An effective, squirm-inducing dark comedy that is both amusing and uncomfortable, although it is complete nonsense.

Christmas: (2.5/5) They had a great idea here... which they did absolutely nothing with and once again it ends just as it's starting to get interesting.

New Year's Eve: (2.5/5) More formulaic stuff which is mildly entertaining but just too predictable.

These films aren't scary, but they're not meant to be. They're meant to be dark, uncomfortable comedies. Sadly, the stories are weak and just lack any true meaning or point. I learnt something important in Film Studies: when you make a short film, the story should start when the film ends in a way. That's a good thing to remember if you're making a short film and that is basically what all these shorts do. But... don't forget to get the audience interested and actually give them enough information to leave them satisfied! Evidently, these writers and directors forgot that.

4/10
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Hostel (2005)
4/10
Does one of the nastiest horror films of the 21st century live up to the hype? Short answer, no
13 August 2017
Long answer: Eli Roth jettisons the satirical potential of his screenplay in favour of... not a lot to be honest. The thing is, the torture scenes, while repugnant and disgusting, mercifully don't take up too much of the film. As a result, this is mainly a film consisting of 3 repulsive guys going around objectifying women and having sex, before as always in a horror film their search for action leads to a very bad place indeed. I have heard this film described as a satire or sociopolitical commentary of some sort, and there is something there for sure. The trouble is, there just isn't an awful lot to Hostel. It's nasty and mean-spirited but mostly it's just tedious. There are intense moments but there's not enough atmosphere; basically, the film just wonders what to do with itself for an hour before exhausting the viewer with endless torture porn towards the end. It is undeniably disturbing and the acting is good for a horror film. There's definitely an element of fear, but Eli Roth, although his direction is perfectly fine, didn't quite manage to back up his ideas with a decent script. Watch Saw instead (The first one, not those awful sequels).

4/10
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8/10
A touching tribute to the best TV show of them all
7 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Doctor Who is my favorite TV show ever, so admittedly this film will connect to me far more. It's not necessarily a brilliant piece of TV, but it's a lovely drama with great performances, a compelling underdog story, nice visuals, good dialogue and a truly, truly wonderful ending. David Bradley is a superb actor and despite how brilliantly grotesque he was in Game of Thrones and Harry Potter, he's wonderful here and carries the entire film along. All the other actors do a great job and this is also a nice feminist story of a woman triumphing over workplace sexism to produce one of the most beloved TV shows of them all. It's a highly nostalgic work, and as a documentary of the show's beginning it works very well and gets a lot of information across. As a drama, it hits various compelling emotional peaks (Although a lot of it was probably artistic licence to some degree, but that's understandable in a film of this sort). It loses momentum in the last half-hour as it rushes through the first 3 years of the show and feels more like a highlights montage, but there are still good moments throughout this last section. As for that final scene with the Matt Smith cameo, don't get me started on that because believe me when I say this: I will cry. It's that wonderful. On the whole, a very nice tribute to the show, even if the run-time is too short to cover the subject completely.

8/10
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Zootopia (2016)
8/10
A good Disney movie on the whole and deserving of the 'classic' label attached to most Disney animated films
7 August 2017
Zootropolis (Or Zootopia, as the title differs depending on the country), is an impressive animated film overall. It takes place in a very good fictional universe, where anthropomorphic animals live in a big city metropolis and it's human society with animals. That's a very good concept and it doesn't disappoint. The world of the film is developed excellently with colorful characters, brilliant animation and lots of nice world-beating details. There's plenty of action, color, fun and charm for the kids, but a timely and relevant message, interesting political themes, emotional depth and many fabulous Easter eggs scattered throughout will keep the adults happy. This is a film the family can enjoy together and one which adults won't feel the need to sleep through. The voice acting is good as well and overall, this is a successful Disney work. It's probably on the same level as Frozen. The trouble is, it's just another Disney movie. I'll admit, I'm not a great fan of Disney animated films. They're repetitive, they're formulaic and they largely fail to take risks. This film does have political themes and no romance in sight, but don't forget it handles its themes with kiddy gloves and the same highly charming but un-artistic vibe many Disney movies do. But don't get me wrong, this is absolutely worth seeing even if it's not a ground-breaking Disney classic.

8/10
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6/10
Funny but there's too much Gervais and no Stephen Merchant
1 August 2017
13 years after the end of the beloved sitcom, The Office, David Brent is still stuck in an office, but a documentary crew is filming him again and he decides to go on tour with a band in a last-ditch attempt to live his dreams of being a rock-star. Like most films connected to TV shows, this is annoying since it doesn't connect to the show enough, with Gareth, Tim and Dawn disappointingly absent. Ricky Gervais was never the most impressive actor in The Office, but he gives a good (If often irritating) tragicomic performance here. This film serves as an interesting exploration of the character and has many good laughs and touching character moments along the way; it humanizes David Brent, though don't worry it also embarrasses him and every opportunity. The trouble is, there's a line between comedy and sadism and after a funny first half, the film just gets extremely uncomfortable and stops being enjoyable. The Office was quite depressing. Extras was incredibly depressing. But this- wow. Be warned: you will cringe. A lot. The original show had enough realism and honesty to pull off the cringe, as it felt so truthful but here the uncomfortable stuff goes too far. I can tell Stephen Merchant was the one who added the nuance that made the sitcom so good. With Gervais on his own, there's no-one to stop him from taking the cringe comedy too far. Even so, while he's clearly not as good as he was, there's no denying that this is a funny and often enjoyable road movie with some nice bits of drama.

6/10
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The Collection (II) (2012)
6/10
A decent horror sequel that improves on the first
31 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The Collection, the sequel to the cult hit The Collector, sees the scary trap-master from the first film return- surprisingly, alongside the first film's protagonist who unusually returns alive in the sequel- and this time, we are trapped in his booby trap ridden lair. Indiana Jones may have made booby traps look exciting and fun, but they really, really aren't in this movie. This brutal and tension-filled gore- fest features some very frightening traps, and the Collector's lair is a truly nightmarish place to spend the film in. There's a very good opening scene in a nightclub and a wonderfully bad-ass ending, as well as a better final scene than normal for a horror sequel. While it's effectiveness as a horror film is definite, if you're looking for good writing, plausibility, developed characters and subtlety you should definitely look elsewhere. With such a great premise (Why don't more horror films do a group of people walking through a booby-trapped area aside from the Saw films who completely waste the idea?), there's a sense of wasted potential here. Still, this is better than the somewhat tedious first film as the central idea is more compelling, and if this franchise is ever continued the villain could have a bright future ahead as a horror icon.

6/10
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8/10
The first awesome Spider-Man film for 13 years
21 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Tom Holland Is Spider-Man. We'll always have Tobey Maguire, but Tom Holland has the charm, the humour, the emotional depth and first and foremost, he looks and acts like a kid. So, armed with the best Spider-Man portrayal to date, the MCU brings Spider-Man swinging into cinemas- for the third time in 15 years. Rest assured; this is a good film. This is a review coming from someone who's grown pretty fed up with the MCU lately. The key thing about Spider-Man Homecoming is that it's fun. It's a witty, funny high-school movie that happens to be full of superheroes. It's also uneven, features a somewhat dull would-be love interest (Though thankfully nothing as annoying as Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane Watson- this movie's MJ is very interesting) and has a far more workman-like director than Sam Raimi or Marc Webb at the helm, but those issues don't hold the movie back. Fun action, a fast, charming, witty and ultra-cool screenplay and all-around strong performances make this a very good time at the movies, and the decision to show Spidey's emotional turmoil and coming of age instead of his origins was a masterstroke. This suggests a bright future for Spider-Man in the MCU- and it has one of the best, if not The best, MCU post-credits scenes ever.

8/10
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It (1990)
5/10
A mediocre bit of TV saved by Tim Curry
29 June 2017
This is a widely-discussed film on the internet and it has a strong cult following. When people talk about this movie, they talk of one thing: Tim Curry as Pennywise the clown. Tim Curry, who is a marvelous character actor, is excellent in this movie. He's not actually in it that much, but when he is he makes for a memorable, sinister and occasionally darkly funny villain. So why do people talk only about Tim Curry doing for clowns what sharks did for Jaws? Because, there isn't an awful lot else to speak of. The child actors are good, this benefits from strong source material so there are some good emotional bits and character relationships and the story is a very fine one (In book form anyway). If you're a kid, this will be very scary. Despite its 15 certificate, it's actually quite kid- friendly in contrast to the terrifying and hugely adult novel, no doubt due to network restrictions forcing them to cut down the explicitness of the book. The memorable things about this end there to be honest. It's got its merits, but for an older person who's read the infinitely superior novel, this miniseries is childish, often dull, largely un-scary and at times very weakly acted. The first episode is better, but the jumps between the timelines make the section set in the past seem disjointed and incoherent, so the story of the kids isn't fully realized and the showdown in the sewers comes too quickly. The second half, meanwhile, has several wooden adult actors and a pretty weak finale. On the whole, not the worst and a good horror movie for kids, but Tim Curry aside this is very average and often downright dull.

5/10
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High Tension (2003)
6/10
A competent but soulless horror film with one of the worst plot twists of them all
31 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Switchblade Romance sees a nameless truck driver butchering a family and stalking a young woman, while her best friend tries to save her. This seriously extreme horror film is not for the faint of heart and the blood levels are ridiculous. As someone who finds gore very tedious, it's a difficult film to engage with for me. As well as this, the characters are blanks, the killer turns up far too quickly without any time to develop any of his victims as people and on the whole the film is extremely emotionless. That being said, it is also well- acted, intensely filmed and undeniably scary in many ways. Also, the use of the Muse song 'New Born' was highly effective. The twist ending borderline ruins the entire film, as it has to be one of the most pointless, idiotic and unbelievable twists in film history. I knew about the twist, so it didn't annoy me as much as it could've done. There are some interesting psychological dimensions to Marie being the killer, but it's done in such an idiotic way. It's safe to say this is the Sunshine of the horror genre; a formerly decent film undone by an awful twist. Sunshine is a lot better than this though. This is an OK horror film with some intense moments but a complete lack of soul.

6/10
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5/10
Prometheus version 2
21 May 2017
Don't be fooled by Rotten Tomatoes. People just want to reassure themselves that this is better than Prometheus and we haven't been let down again. We have. This is just ridiculous. The Xenomorph is a movie monster. Do we need a massive franchise explaining its origins?! Even then, it seems these movies are just more and more pretentious and boring musings on Creators and Origins. Just like Prometheus, we've got dumb characters, a boring plot, no soul and a real lack of scares. This is just milking a franchise that started with a movie that wasn't even that great to begin with. Alien is a good movie, but it's just another creature feature with some iconic moments. This one looks great, has some interesting bits, covers some interesting themes and Michael Fassbender is outstanding, but it's a lazy, soulless cash grab that forgets to ever be genuinely scary and lacks the atmosphere of Alien and the non-stop, glorious thrills of Aliens. And people still call Ridley Scott one of the best directors ever, despite the fact he's made literally one great movie (Blade Runner) and a lot of terrible ones. Sadly, we'll soon be getting more of these wretched prequel movies and they'll continue to make money. Just please- at the very least make the next one scary!

5/10
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7/10
The third best of the series
14 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The Fate and the Furious sees Dom Toretto going rogue and inexplicably working with Charlize Theron's cyber terrorist, while his increasingly small team try to stop her and get him back. This 8th installment of the franchise, which has become so ridiculous don't be surprised if they go into space in later films, may not be the best Fast and Furious film but it has quite a bit of punch. Everyone is as charismatic as ever, Dwayne Johnson and Tyrese Gibson are great as is Jason Statham (Although the way they forget he killed Han is odd) and F Gary Gray does a good job with the film. As many have pointed out, while the motive for Dom switching sides is a lot better than expected, there are flaws with the story here and there for sure. In all honesty, with so many characters out of the story-line the franchise is increasingly lacking reasons to keep going. It is weird having a Fast and Furious movie without Paul Walker to be honest, although there is a very touching nod to him towards the end. The main problem is a big sag in the middle of the film and the New York sequence is disappointing. However, the first third of the film is pretty good and the last 40 minutes are pure, genuine and utter gold. On the whole, this is a thrilling, explosive and exuberant installment which overcomes its phoned-in storyline by providing a huge amount of fun and, as always, adding in many touching family moments. 8 films in, the world's fastest and most furious family isn't out of steam yet and this was a great time at the movies.

7/10
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6/10
A flawed but pleasingly brutal take on a familiar story
29 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
In this grisly horror film, 80 company employees trapped in an office block play a horrifying game of 'kill or be killed'. This premise is familiar, but oh boy is it always entertaining. This one carries out the premise with mixed results. In terms of direction, there aren't many complaints. This is a tense, suspenseful and visceral thrill ride with many scenes of fear and terrifying brutality. As well as this, for a horror film the acting is actually really good. The first half of the film is fabulous. There's tension, thought-provoking moral questions and the violence genuinely affects you. It becomes more than just a bit of fun and actually really makes you think. In that case, this film does its job too well. Eventually, with its excessive gore and every likable character endlessly dying, it does become highly unpleasant. This is arguably in a good way, but it is just a bit too much and after a while it stops being scary and starts being exhausting. The final half an hour, though effective, is just a bit much. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite fulfill the promise of the trailers and the first half. Still, as modern horror films go it's very solid and despite the superficial exploration of morals and ethics, it may get nasty but it never stops being effective. Give this one a look if it's your thing. If you don't like blood, stay far away.

6/10
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6/10
A satisfying but disappointingly unfunny movie
7 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The Inbetweeners was a sitcom that wasn't only incredibly funny, but felt so real and so honest. Every British student either knew a Will, Jay, Neil or Simon or- more painfully- were similar to them themselves so it may be a gut-burstingly hysterical comedy, but it's also an effective, entirely believable tragicomic drama. Like many TV show movies, this has the boys go on holiday together and chaos soon ensues. Overall this was disappointing and is probably the worst episode/movie of the entire Inbetweeners series. Simon is being a complete moron and the show works far better in a mundane British setting. This just feels formulaic, reliant on crude jokes and overly Americanized. It's not actually a very funny movie. It's got its moments but it's never truly memorable. As a story, it would have ended the entire series very well. It's great to see the 4 boys with girlfriends at last and the conclusion of the film is undeniably very satisfying. Overall, this is a well-done, often touching narrative with plenty of surprisingly sweet moments, but as a comedy it isn't very funny.

6/10
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9/10
A work of art
30 December 2016
I cannot understand all the hatred for this movie. Nicolas Winding Refn bounces back from Only God Forgives with this dark, twisted and nightmarish horror film about a young model in Los Angeles who attracts fascination and unwanted attention from the modelling industry and her fellow models. Admittedly, it's only a good movie on a story level. The plot is relatively thin and the characters are underdeveloped. As a piece of art it's an utter knockout. Every single frame is a painting and every image advances the story forward and creates new meaning. This isn't a narrative film. It's a film to experience and to be amazed by. This is a rare movie where being style-over-substance is brilliant because the style is the substance. The artistic mastery on display here takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. This movie will have you feeling joyous one moment and terrified the next. The soundtrack is absolutely flawless as well. Elle Fanning is great and all the actors do a good job with their limited dialogue. Even Keanu Reeves is decent in this movie. A flawed masterpiece, The Neon Demon is a mesmerizing, hypnotic and mind-blowing cinematic nightmare that stands high above most of 2016's other films, even though quite a lot of people disliked it.

9/10
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Aliens (1986)
9/10
One of the most exciting films ever
21 December 2016
Aliens is an absolute blast in every way. The franchise goes from horror to action, as Ripley joins a team on a mission to find out what happened to the colony on the moon where she found the alien egg. Alien was a good movie, but I consider Aliens to be superior. Aliens has absolutely everything: it's got great acting from everyone including the child actor. It has a very entertaining script with fascinating war themes and excellent character development for all of its characters. It's brilliantly directed and is one of the tensest and most terrifying films of all time. The action is staggering, but there is some drama here as well. Ripley may have been awesome in the first film, but here she cements herself as pretty much the best female movie character of all time. It's difficult to choose the best moment of the film as every moment moves the film forward and every scene, even the dialogue ones, makes you feel like you're on a high-speed roller coaster flying off the rails. It gets exhausting occasionally, but only because the sheer intensity of the film is an utter knockout. James Cameron's greatest film and something of a masterpiece.

9/10
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Breathless (1960)
8/10
You may not get it but you have to admire it
21 December 2016
Breathless seems to have lost some of its critical standing recently, but it is still a really good film. It isn't really a film about anything much aside from a criminal who killed a policeman trying to persuade a student to run away with him, so in terms of story it might not rivet certain viewers. However, this is the work of an auteur at the very top of his game. Jean-Luc Goddard's direction is brilliant and he fills the film completely with a sheer, overwhelming energy that shatters cinematic conventions. The main character is unlikable but always compelling and Breathless, both in aesthetic and narrative terms, is a glorious example of rebellion and breaking free. It's a seriously cool movie and a genuinely hypnotic experience. Unfortunately, it's not quite a 5 star movie. The film sags in the middle during a drawn-out sequence in a hotel room with the 2 main characters talking endlessly about whether or not they're going to have sex, but after that the film picks up again. It is admittedly more an important film than a great one, but it is still a really good film and a highly interesting piece of film history.

8/10
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6/10
A mixed bag, but better than I expected
12 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
26 ideas. 26 directors. 26 short films. Each short film features death in some way and the film is mostly, though not exclusively horror. Being an anthology, this is incredibly hit and miss. The acting isn't great, a lot of it is just trying to be as disgusting as possible with no real purpose and it takes a little while to get into. However, when it's good, it's a firecracker. Here are the segments rated out of 5.

A is for Amateur: 4/5 not particularly horror-like, but in terms of comedy and pay-off this is one of the highlights.

B is for Badger: 3/5 you can see what's coming a mile off, but it's still quite amusing.

C is for Capital Punishment: 4/5 even if it tries to accomplish too much in not enough time, it's still a sobering watch.

D is for Deloused: 4.5/5 the story makes no sense, but who cares? This is seriously, seriously disturbing and scary, and a minor masterpiece of creepiness.

E is for Equlibrium: 1/5 just stupid.

F is for Falling: 1.5/5 this goes for deep but winds up just being boring.

G is for Grandad: 1.5/5 this one is creepy, but not in the right way at all. Not only will you cringe so much your mouth will hurt, but the acting is at its possible worst in the entire short here.

H is for Head Games: 2.5/5 once you get it, it's decent.

I is for Invincible: 1.5/5 a lame, annoying comedy fail with a highly unsatisfying conclusion.

J is for Jesus: 3.5/5 an interesting one with a good plot, although it is too over-the-top for its own good.

K is for Knell: 4/5 a well-done science-fiction short where the story seemingly ends as the film begins, which is always the sign of a good short film.

L is for Legacy: 0.5/5 oh dear. This one couldn't be any less scary and the CGI is laughable.

M is for Masticate: 3/5 this one gets a bit repetitive, but it is well-structured and amusing with a good pay-off.

N is for Nexus: 2/5 good cinematography and idea, bad and incoherent execution.

O is for Ochlocracy: 2/5 another good idea badly executed.

P is for P-P-P-P SCARY!: 0/5 I've seen better filmmaking from 7 year-olds.

Q is for Questionnaire: 3.5/5 a silly but interesting short with some clever editing.

R is for Roulette: 4.5/5 until the annoying ending, this is unbearably tense, short film gold.

S is for Split: 5/5 a masterfully executed suspense piece with some of the best split-screen use ever.

T is for Torture Porn: 3/5 rather silly, but still an interesting and worthwhile short.

U is for Utopia: 4/5 powerful and well directed if confusing.

V is for Vacation: 4/5 this one gets a little crazy in the best way.

W is for Wish: 3/5 an excellent idea and plot, although it translates somewhat awkwardly to screen.

X is for Xylophone: 4/5 a real gut punch.

Y is for Youth: 5/5 an incredibly moving and beautifully made short film with a feature film's worth of material.

Z is for Zygote: 4.5/5 crazy, twisted, disturbing and rather masterful body horror.

An uneven film with a weak first half, but it gets better and better and when it's at its best, it really hits the mark. Overall, a flawed but worthwhile project. S and Y are the best, while L and P are the worst.

6/10
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