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Point Break (1991)
9/10
Still one of the '90s' most substantial action films
23 April 2018
Point Break is one of those films that's massively entertaining no matter how many times you watch it. Whilst this is common in the action genre, Point Break stands out in its era by being more of a morally complex story.

The villain here is not your usual action villain. Keanu Reeves' character forms a complex bond with him and surfing culture to the point where it breaks his heart to have to bring him down. Swayze plays him like a charismatic cult leader and its believable that he'd sway enough people to get them onside for bank heists, all in the name of adrenaline.

This makes Point Break not a film of "bad guys vs good guys" but a real exploration of a subculture and how it gets inside people's heads.

It help that this is also a kick ass, brilliantly shot action film, with incredible sequences like the foot chase through LA and the skydiving making it as exciting as it is thoughtful. Unfortunately it came out in the same year as Terminator 2 so was (and is) criminally overlooked.
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The Lobster (2015)
7/10
Darkly funny and really original
23 April 2018
The Lobster is slyly funny and surprisingly dark - there were a few moments that left me reeling which I did not expect going in. It will probably be too "slow" for a few people but I think this is deliberate; the film uses repetition in a really interesting way to hit home the banality of the world.

It's also beautifully shot and manages to be a stunning looking film despite the images being largely static - it reminded me of The Shining for this reason.
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Molly's Game (2017)
6/10
Classic Sorkin script but no directorial flair
16 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Slightly disappointing - proof that Sorkin needs a decent director to elevate his scripts. Jessica Chastain lifts the film with a very good performance, though this is slightly marred by the awkward and clumsy dad character and her relationship with him - that scene on the park bench near the end where they basically explain the theme of the film to you, yeesh.
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The Beach (I) (2000)
5/10
Average - not one of Boyle's best
16 April 2018
It's just ok. Not terrible by any stretch of the imagination but no masterpiece either. DiCaprio is as strong as ever (and manages to look younger than he does in Titanic despite it being 3 years after) and the classic Danny Boyle trippyness makes its way through. The upbeat ending clashes with the rest of the film and in general it's rather tonally confused.
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First Blood (1982)
9/10
Thrilling and melancholy action
16 April 2018
One of the best action films ever. Despite what people remember the character of Rambo as, the original film is a proper post-Vietnam thriller, reflecting the anxiety and conflict felt in the US after the war in the late '70s. It's also way ahead of its time - even today you'd see some backlash if a film was made where the police were essentially the villains. Gritty and emotional, First Blood deserves to be separated from the silliness the Rambo series eventually become.
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4/10
Rushed and slapdash but interesting premise
16 April 2018
Feels like an attempt to make about 5 films in one. An interesting premise and decent visuals are marred by a rushed story, a boilerplate villain and an uninteresting script. In a Hollywood landscape that is desperate to find the latest franchise, it's baffling that they took a book series that was ripe to be made into just that and dashed it off into a film that's not even 90 minutes.
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8/10
A rare original-feeling film from Marvel
16 April 2018
Quite comfortably one of the best Marvel films, mainly because it doesn't take itself too seriously at all. One of the best things Marvel has done to its films is hire directors with strong styles like Shane Black, James Gunn and Taika Waititi that let the films actually have some personality. Thor: Ragnarok looks incredible, has a neat synthy soundtrack and is packed with jokes.

Only gripes I would have is that the main villain is a little under-baked considering she's supposed to be Thor's actual sister, with most of the film not focused on what she's doing. I also wish they'd kept the Hulk a secret, because it comes out of absolutely nowhere and would have been an insane surprise if he hadn't been on the poster.
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Annihilation (2018)
9/10
Thoughtful sci-fi that's all too rare nowadays
16 April 2018
One of the best sci-fi films in recent memory and it does not deserve to languish on Netflix. Annihilation does what too few films do - it's genuinely mysterious and more importantly ALIEN. Far too many films of this kind try to explain what the threat is in a way that kills the tension, but Garland gets that things are scarier when they're unknown. This makes Annihilation much more of a horror film than it advertises itself as because it bombards you with things you cannot possibly explain (all I'll say is...that bear).

Visually Annihilation is also a treat, offering sights that are insanely original and creature designs that remind you of the weirdness of The Thing and Alien.

Do not read up about this film before you go in. Just watch it.
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8/10
Stunning sci-fi
16 April 2018
An incredible looking, sonic experience. I feel bad for anyone who didn't get to see this in the cinema. Plot-wise, it does a good job of expanding on the original premise whilst adding new elements and does what any great sequel does - have the events of the previous film inform the film rather than completely ignoring them.

Blade Runner 2049 essentially acts as a sci-fi noir in much the same way as the original but is much more of a detective story. We see Ryan Gosling's character really investigating the mystery, which is an improvement over the original's kind of thin plot.

It's a shame that brilliant and original sci-fi such as this doesn't make money anymore, but Blade Runner 2019 is such a treat for fans of the genre that it makes it worthwhile that it only comes once in a blue moon.
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4/10
Can't balance kid and adult stuff
16 April 2018
I wanted to like this way more than I did as I love Wes Anderson. The animation is beautiful but the dialogue is so smug and annoying it makes it hard to get into. The original story is charming enough without references to stuff that kids don't understand. Kids won't get anything out of the film at all, which is silly as it's based on a kids book.
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6/10
Fun zombie horror
16 April 2018
A fun and brilliantly gory zombie romp that has the shades of satire present in Romero's zombie movies.
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8/10
Weird and chilling - don't read up on it!
16 April 2018
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a mysterious slow burn film that's more effective the less you know about it. Even the premise is a bit of a spoiler, so go into this one without reading up on it.

The film just gets stranger and stranger and the dialogue will initially turn a lot of people off, but if you stick with it, it'll unlock itself. It's a good mix of supernatural strangeness and extremely awkward social encounters that makes it really unique if nothing else.
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