hgtoo's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Gone Baby Gone

The flaws are serious but for the first half the intensity sweeps you along anyway. As it transitions, from tense mystery thriller, to more of a noir drama its failings start to catch up with it. It's not that it becomes bad, more that all the unlikely character behaviours accumulate to the point where you realise it can't blow you away no matter what the ending. And, while the twist is effective, the moral dilemma the film is so keen to leave you with just isn't presented with any new or revealing insights - it only feels a bit cynical and pessimistic.

The Quest
The Quest(1986)

A bit rough and not always child-appropriate by today's standards, which probably explains why it's largely forgotten, although the dangerous behaviour and other inappropriateness are what raise it above the ordinary. Dated, but has a lot going for it. Worth seeking out.

Star Trek VI - The Undiscovered Country

A feature length episode of old school Star Trek, over simple and old fashioned story included. Intrigue and sci-fi are thrown in just enough to keep it going, and a bit of drama and action give a fair ending. Diehard fans and the nostalgic will love it, the rest of us shouldn't be surprised by what we get.

Captain Fantastic

It's great, and then suddenly, halfway through, it's not. The letdowns don't destroy the film, just what it could have been. The philosophy of picking your battles, though spoken of and even humourously demonstrated early on, is inexplicably and unsubtly ignored later on.


Starts well and builds well too, but ends very matter of factly. Quite good - better than reviews say - just nothing new.

Star Trek Beyond

A fair bit of the original TV series, a lot of big budget effects, some fun - a bit of everything. Plenty of action, and though it never strays into originality, nor does it become distractingly stupid.

When You're Strange

An interesting demystification, but Depp's ever present narration leaves several questions unanswered, and is sometimes a bit too front and centre stage. As a movie it does work well, though just sweeping you along rather than putting you through the wringer.

The Distant Home

Fun, made for TV, family sci-fi action drama from the early 90s!

Dear Frankie
Dear Frankie(2005)

Kind of nice, but mostly sad, and regardless of its kid-at-the-centre intentions it never really feels anything other than about the mother, or possibly actually the director.


Difficult to follow, and not always convincing, but works well by successfully maintaining a constant tension and sense of and danger.

The Queen of Versailles

A degree of (though far from complete) insight into an extremely successful example of the American dream - certainly not really the one percenters reviews keep calling them, even if they have the same money. Curious and interesting, but not particularly involving - it's hard to care much one way or the other what happens.

UnHung Hero
UnHung Hero(2013)

A weak attempt at comedy, made worse by staged scenes, genuine informed advice seemingly ignored, and the general unpleasantness of cringe humour.


The climbing scenes are strong, but between can be a bit flat - and it doesn't feel a deliberate ploy to help us get inside their heads and know how it is to only feel truly alive when climbing. Nor do we always understand their decisions - at first they're the expert risk calculators, never doing anything stupid, only brave. Later, questionable choices are made for apparently irrational, emotional reasons, without convincing us this is ok. Still a very good film though, and one of the better mountaineering ones.


Very indie, but mostly in a good way. Unsentimental, avoids stereotypes, cliches and predictability, holding up well throughout. No major weak points, and with a thought provoking ending.

Lay the Favorite

A lot better than reviews would have you believe, but there's definitely something not right. The dialogue audio is patchy, and they must have run out of either time, money or will to properly finish the shooting or editing. There's some great stuff there, but the story telling is bitty and incomplete.

The Rundown
The Rundown(2003)

Only the briefest moments of buddy flick comedy. Otherwise badly written and over acted, with stupefyingly dumb set pieces.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Just a little bit too pat, but very touching over all.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Unadventurous and silly, but fairly straightforward sci-fi action. The original was more fun, but don't forget the stupid winning with a virus thing!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Well choreographed action against the standard story as a backdrop, but the writing is woefully Disney and pedestrian. Uninspired.


Classic sci-fi that still stands up, though could feel a little slow and long building - although that might be intended to make us think about movies responding to the fantasies people want to live through them.


At first viewing - on a plane - brilliant! Ambitious and largely intelligent, it's more successful than most in bringing big themes from the world of sci-fi literature to the big screen.

Burn After Reading

Gets better towards the end, but there are no likable characters, and just who's really funny - the man at the top, who makes only a couple of fleeting appearances.

Deepwater Horizon

Lots of genuinely dramatic action, ironically no real depth at all.

Fire In The Night

Archive material, some reenactment, and survivor and witness interviews build a human and very sad picture of what happened to the crew of Piper Alpha.

Swimming Pool

Psychological thriller and character study. Not completely successful blurring of fantasy and reality, but fairly intriguing for what it could have been.


It's quite a way into the movie before the scenes between action sequences take on any weight at all, and even when they finally do, they're very formulaic.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek's thin veneer of sci-fi, on unapologetically Earthbound human stories, has never really done it for me, but at least this is one of the better ones.

John Carter
John Carter(2012)

A bit heavy on the battling and fighting, but pretty good sci-fi fun. Underrated like Jupiter Ascending.


Very real and very special. Fantastic filmmaking and amazing storytelling.


Almost a great satire, but it's as if the life was drained from it. There's clearly some clever writing gone into it, but each time it's about to build on itself, instead it does the very thing it's supposed to be satirising, and dumbs back down again! Plenty of social commentary, but the big message has been comprehensively stifled.

Unicorn City
Unicorn City(2012)

A lot of laughs without being mean. Occasionally the writing lets it down, but that's definitely the exception rather than the rule. It's not too serious, and if you think the idea has potential, then you'll probably enjoy the result.


Great cinematography, and although the screenplay is definitely a bit weak, you're left with quite an impact anyway.

Time Lapse
Time Lapse(2015)

Less confused than many time travel films, but darkly depressing, with characters you never really care about, and too few clever moments.


A throwaway story smothered with endless, endless gags, some very funny, some cringeworthy, most instantly forgettable. Rushed and unrefined.

Law Abiding Citizen

Ugly climate of fear stuff. The cunning is nowhere near adequate compensation for the torture-porn elements.


Insightful but sometimes also sentimental.

Time Lapse
Time Lapse(2001)

Straight-to-DVD grade stuff, amateurish in almost every way.

Eye In The Sky

Extremely tense thriller let down badly by simplistic political farce and sentimentality that tells us nothing we don't already know about the horror of war.


Way better than the usual for this sort of thing - much more intelligent less depressing, and even manages to at least have a sappy ending instead of a stupid one, but still pretty uneven at times.

Kill Command
Kill Command(2016)

A well made simple action movie, but lack of depth keeps it from greatness.


Clunky, with brief glimmers of ok.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

An incredible, fantasy-fable, or problematic romanticising of poverty? Firmly the former for me.

45 Years
45 Years(2015)

Carefully controlled, finely played out gloom, but doesn't quite convince.

Take Me Home Tonight

Surprisingly not bad. Neither like an eighties movie nor a fake eighties movie, more like people trying to recreate what an eighties movie was like, but now. And the result is actually better than a lot of eighties movies, though not up there with the best of them either.

Jupiter Ascending

The story is cheesy all the way, and the sci-fi is purely spectacle, but it moves along almost constantly fast, neither slowing to take itself seriously nor getting dumbly convoluted. It's not The Matrix - it's silly - but good fun and watchable right through to the end.

L'écume des jours (Mood Indigo)

Full-on whacky French whimsy, so far out there that the usually efficiently cutesy Tautou just looks a bit lost and out of her depth. The progression to melancholy and then existential darkness is quite effective, but not rewarding, rather it's deflating and depressing.

My Awkward Sexual Adventure

Predictable and uneven - intelligent and funny one minute, a bit clumsy and falling flat the next, though not overly cringeworthy. On balance it's above average fun, just not brilliant, as it could have been if more consistent.

Burt's Buzz
Burt's Buzz(2014)

Quite a nice curiosity, rather than a deep and revealing documentary. Raises plenty of big questions about the man and the business, but answers mainly superficial ones.

Purple Rain
Purple Rain(1984)

Great music, mediocre acting, derivative story, dated sexism.


Nice, but limited by the youth of the subjects - there are some interesting insights into them, but mostly we just see how young and driven they are. And disappointingly, barely any attention at all is paid to the science and technique of making good coffee - it's all about performance.

In the Heart of the Sea

Paradoxically, the action is more lumbering than the lulls between. Sometimes it's nearly involving enough that you could almost be there, but it never quite convinces. The characters just exist and the story simply happens, neither take over and sweep you away. Not as dull as reviews say it is, but doesn't really bring the tale to life.

The Lady In The Van

Sort of brings Alan Bennett into modern times but, underplayed to its own detriment, it's a minor classic that primarily leaves you thinking it could have been a something major.

Jurassic World

You could say that it's a lightweight and flimsy popcorn action movie with 2D characters and no logic, or a feature length advert for a whole load of consumer tat. It's still fun once it really gets going though.

Pure S
Pure S(1976)

A fast, black comedy that's still funny and relevant, and at the same time a great 70s Melbourne underground culture social documentary. An all too rare fun Australian film.


A particularly cutsie indie film, but so endlessly melancholic it's hard to really enjoy all that much. On top of that, several times, McGregor's character is jarringly inconsistent, and there's quite a few rather contrived moments too.


Thankfully not an "action movie" telling of the story, though briefly dramatic when things really start unravelling. Unfortunately it's a bit scrappy and confusing trying to recognise and keep up with all the characters.

Red 2
Red 2(2013)

Some of the fun of the original, but not much else.

The Awakening

Creepy chills. The cliches are well managed, and there's a reasonable twist, but a decent dose of reality would have been both a more original and satisfying ending.

Being Evel
Being Evel(2015)

The first half, the making of the legend, is shown in a quite measured way - although not boring, it is very much straightforward documentary. The second half is where the depth and quality of research, and impressive range of participants pay off - the unpleasant realities behind the scenes are revealed quite dramatically. Even the late moves towards redemption are well captured. Very good film making.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Decidedly old school. Dated but still very original - brutal and fairly effectively scary. Unpleasant. For genre fans only.

Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens

A very clever documentary. Insightful and revealing, though in no way critical or an exposà (C). Enjoyable but still a bit thought provoking.

The Hateful Eight

You can still see his mastery of filmmaking, but the script is little thin and weak, especially for the length, and the casual, over-the-top violence carelessly crosses the line into torture-porn. A bit of ego control needed.

Building Star Trek

In equal parts fascinating and frustrating, overlong and incomplete. Superficial, though not uninteresting tangents on the science. A disappointing lack of detail on conservation and restoration techniques, and likewise the on the tracking down of the original objects, and the people who have saved them.

Henry's Crime

The whole movie is drab and plodding, not just his character.

Sugar Coated
Sugar Coated(2015)

Calm and matter of fact, revealing. Important. With some not entirely successful attempts at optimism towards the end.


Interesting without being fantastic. A bit too often low budget, hammy, or both, and an overbearing gloomyness keep this from being very enjoyable. Almost a good sci-fi.

Essential Killing

As purely a visceral thriller it goes well at first but tapers off a bit ineffectually, and the lack of context switches from being a strength, to joining the budget as a limitation. Instead of building some sort of narrative, you flounder around making wilder and ever weaker guesses, until you give up and wait powerless for the inevitable.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs(2015)

Sucks you up and sweeps you along in its own all consuming reality distortion field. Almost relentlessly intense, it's a great film and easy to enjoy. It doesn't really matter you're fairly certain you're not seeing much of what the actual Steve Jobs was like.

Point Break
Point Break(1991)

Inconsistent characters, in a series of CGI filled set pieces, weakly linked and with no apparent care for believability. If you can not worry about that then the over the top action is ok.

Banksy Does New York

A fun look at fun art that's sometimes provocative, and reaches enough people to be worthwhile.

Blood Orange
Blood Orange(2016)

It promises a lot, and comes close to delivering it all, but a bit lazy with some details, consequently losing some of its slow burn tightness. Iggy dominates, and the others seem happy not to upstage him. It works, even though it had the potential for more.

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Starts every bit as painful as you expect but, amazingly, it improves. It never gets great, and the bad never entirely goes away, but the balance shifts and you can enjoy some laughs.

In Bruges
In Bruges(2008)

Flawed and very dark, but funny and brilliant all the same.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

Supposedly the best of the series, this tweeny video game spin-off is actually better than a lot of big budget Hollywood sci-fi. That's not to say it's great - far from it. The story's weak and reeks of a prequel made later to cash in, but it benefits immensely from a straightforward, linear story, free from needless and complex twists and turns. It won't blow any minds, but is worthwhile if you enjoy sci-fi action and want something to watch.

St. Vincent
St. Vincent(2014)

Unoriginal, sentimental and, most disappointingly, conservative, but Bill Murray still makes it worth watching.

Captain America: Civil War

Flashy but empty action. Dull and unoriginal story.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Mildly funny but really doesn't try hard enough. It is good at mocking James Bond films, just a quite a bit too late with it.

The Revenant
The Revenant(2015)

There's the beginnings of a worthwhile story here, but it got neglected in their frenzied mythologising of man and nature's primal violence.


Cool, smart, and funny, but unnecessarily heavy on the dark and grim side.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Plenty of fun, and really doesn't put a foot wrong in that regard, but there's nothing clever, new, or memorable about it. Good for popcorn, not for thinking of talking about.


There's definitely something to it, but it has serious flaws, which is a shame. Potential missed because no one said "That's just wrong, don't", or perhaps someone wasn't listening.

Erebus: Operation Overdue

Disappointingly avoids events that necessitated them being put through the ordeal, and doing little more than show us cursory evidence of a cover up.

Beautiful Losers

Far more fashion than art, but it's not always entirely clear which will ultimately turn out to be which, so there's at least a little to think about. Nice enough, but not particularly insightful, and would surely have benefited from tighter editing.


Reasonable but mainly unremarkable, sometimes hammy, dystopian sci-fi. Not bad but doesn't quite live up to its promise or potential.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Maybe two and three quarter stars if you're being harsh. It is what you expect, though more stilted and slightly slower than you'd hope for ideally, but certainly not lazy and dumb like you might fear. Enough fun to be worthwhile watching.

The Big Short

Clear, fast and watchable. Much easier than others in the genre. The only thing lacking for me was illustrated when Jared Vennett says to some of the traders, who predicted the crash and set out to profit from it but then find the banks hiding the problem and not paying them, "look at yourselves, you pass yourselves off as cynical people, but you still have some faith in the system". I'd like to have seen that failure to predict the cover up better explored, but otherwise, brilliant.

The Lobster
The Lobster(2016)

Curious and interesting at first, but way overstretches its premise, becoming flat, grey and depressing with little further reward for what feels like forever.

Straight Outta Compton

Tells a story the same way the music does - clever, with hard hitting style, but probably one version, not every detail.


Not really, really amazing, but for a rom-com it's very clever and funny. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Holding The Man

Touching and sensitive, and by not dwelling long on issues it remains largely a happy film. Nice, and certainly one of Australia's best in any genre in quite a while. A difficult topic, and to do it "better" would probably be unenjoyably depressing.

The Physician

Ultimately ok, but quite labourious at times.


Doesn't particularly glamourise them, but nor does it explain them. Seemingly unconcerned with actual authenticity and far more interested in creating its own nouveaux-noir version of the London sixties, complete with fashionable but unconvincing mix of period and contemporary slang. Not bad, but rather passes you by.

The Martian
The Martian(2015)

It's not my idea of hard sci-fi, but it's more sciencey than most mainstream films. Add plenty of positivity and humour, keep soap and stupidity way lower than normal, and you have quite an enjoyable and hopefully influential movie.

Black Mass
Black Mass(2015)

Not bad, and very consistent, but no real flare either. Recounts a story, and you do get something of a feel for a dark game of chess being played out, but you never find your self absorbed in the characters or thinking you have any significant insight.

Kilo Two Bravo

Incredibly intense, almost unbearably so.

Dark Places
Dark Places(2015)

The story doesn't gel, and some key elements just don't ring true. Holds your interest but never grips it.


Cleverly observed and believable, but the down side is a bit drawn out - if only more time had been given to the up times.

Patti Smith: Dream of Life

Fond, but meandering and - sometimes frustratingly - sentimental.

The Nightingale (Ye Ying - Le promeneur d'oiseau)

A lovely, well acted story, with squeaky-clean location scouting fit for a travelogue. No doubt the portrayal of rural China is romanticised, but the film never really lapses into sentimentality, and is an all round pleasure to watch.


Dark and taut, despite Emily Blunt's character repeatedly shattering the tension with unbelievable naive idealism. A bleak but clever look at a shadowy aspect of America's war on drugs, never clear cut as to whether it is cynical or believing.


All the bad reviews are wrong. There are some misses, and of course it's not exactly focused, but there's laughs and thoughtful moments better than most rom-coms.

The Wolfpack
The Wolfpack(2015)

Unexpectedly uplifting. Plenty of questions go unanswered, but it feels genuine, and makes you hopeful. Gently paced while covering a lot of ground. Fascinating.

The Wrecking Crew

Some great insights and anecdotes, and of course music too. Unless this was your era though, it's almost impossible to know who you're watching at any one time, there are so many people and very few on-screen reminders who they are.

Get Hard
Get Hard(2015)

Almost entirely dumb, juvenile humour, but of course they still manage to make you laugh a few times.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

An occasional, limited success with the style, rarely comes close with the substance, and almost entirely, disappointingly clumsy, missing endless opportunities to be clever or funny, let alone both. Not actually bad, but inexplicably lazy.


Some of it's a bit over the top, and some a bit silly, but most of it is funny, and it rarely slows down even for a moment. Feel good fun.

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl

As you'd expect, much of it is uncomfortable viewing, but there are some good bits too. What I wasn't prepared for was how uneven it could be - a bit scattered, and sometimes jaringly historically inaccurate with vocabulary. The endless five star reviews probably reflect more the fact they made such a subject watchable at all, as you're left feeling slightly underwhelmed.

The Dressmaker

Sad, funny, camp, melodramatic, slapstick, they're all there. Sometimes successful, other times disappointing, but mainly, why try to be such a pastiche of tired and worn Aussie movie tropes? In the end you are left like you've seen a fairly good film, but it's very uneven and there are way too many dated cliches.


Interesting and pretty, but the isolation and remoteness never come over as well as you'd hope, and it ends feeling a bit inconclusive.

Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator

Really about the changes in the skate scene and its commercialisation, and although it follows Gator through this, actual insights are few and far between. When the tragic end arrives, fair dues, no punches are pulled, but this only emphasises the failure to get under his skin to any significant degree - we know little more than if we'd never heard of skateboarding and had just read a news article reporting on his court appearance. Certainly an important cautionary tale, but a disappointing biography.

Dear White People

Spends quite a bit too long playing with a muddle of stereotypes, then builds to quite an impressive climax, but slips slightly confusedly, backwards to unremarkable at the end.

2 Guns
2 Guns(2013)

Wit, updated. Violence, more graphic. Formula, untouched. As an action flick it's better than reviews suggest, just don't expect anything more than light entertainment.

Ghost World
Ghost World(2001)

Brilliant, but the mean-spiritedness blankets and overwhelms the wonderful, but thinly spread, uplifting optimism.


Some very bad shaky-cam, and plenty of ham-fisted plot developments and nonsensical story elements keep this from greatness, but it's still fairly enjoyable.


Interesting but not fascinating - there's hints of passion, but it's not often fully conveyed, likewise insights into both people and technical details. Nice, but could have been much more.

Ghost Town
Ghost Town(2008)

It makes you laugh, and is so
much less negative than his usual
stuff, but it's just a shame a lot of
that negativity is replaced with the
work of a committee. It pinballs
from intelligent and funny to bland
and formulaic.

The Pianist
The Pianist(2002)

An impressive achievement, even if not always entirely convincing - sometimes the portrayed brutal realities and deprivation feel unnecessary, or too straightforward and incidental to the story, but then really, how could such horrors be more successfully reenacted? A powerfully understated performance, and a minor masterpiece of filmmaking.


A brilliant idea, sadly, monumentally compromised all the way through with dumb, simplistic moralising. And what a stunningly unimaginative, small minded character for Sigourney Weaver! Such a disappointment compared to District 9.

The Armstrong Lie

The timeline jumps around sometimes confusingly, but the film is compelling viewing and does a fair job of unpicking the myth and exposing enough dirty truth to at least make people think again about Armstrong. I've never liked him - initially he just didn't seem very nice, and ultimately because he was so ruthlessly nasty - but this actually manages to humanise Armstrong occasionally, just the tiniest bit, and maybe that's all the humanity he has. The Q&A extra on the DVD more succinctly sums up his bullying and abuse of power to win at all costs, destroying the lives of those who tried to stand up to him.

Drop Dead Gorgeous

Quite a few laughs, but just as often crass and wide of the mark.


A proper fairytale, brilliantly done. None of the disappointing pulled punches of Tim Burton or Guillermo del Toro. Nothing like Pixar, & certainly couldn't be more different from Disney.

A Brilliant Young Mind

A bit arbitrary in what it focuses on or skims over, and sometimes slightly falls back on melodrama, but really very nice.

Burying the Ex

Lazily contrived and unoriginal. Just another unfunny rom-com.

A Very British Gangster

Doesn't try very hard to be balanced, or particularly revealing in the sense of an expose. It is quite insightful on the role of extended family, friends and acquaintances in the subject's community standing. Makes a depressing topic easily watchable and surprisingly interesting and informative.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Close to being great, but the aspects that stop it are unfortunately very wrong. Definitely fun, but far too often equally unpleasant.


Above average for its genre, but there's plenty that's every bit as bad as you'd fear.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Plenty of spectacle, and the action is fairly involving, but there's no depth or originality. It feels like an attempt to copy the originals without understanding them. Not painful in the way the three prequels were, but instead formulaic and mostly instantly forgettable. Seeing it on the big screen helps, making for reasonable escapism, but there's nothing for fans of sci-fi or interesting stories.


A talented cast and intelligent script, but dated, and doesn't really escape its origins on the stage. Probably now mainly for fans of Australiana or late 70s Anglo-accented Australian slapstick farce, though it's considerably above average and should be a must for that audience.

Big Eyes
Big Eyes(2014)

A bit shallow and dreary to sit through for the brief and not especially climactic pay-off at the end. Not dreadful, but the characters just aren't that interesting, probably because they were rather dull in real life too. Tim Burton underperforms again.

A Birder's Guide To Everything

Lightweight and doesn't make an effort, especially on the birds, but quite likable all the same.

Shaun the Sheep Movie

More for children, and just a bit sparse and strained compared to Wallace and Gromit movies, but still clever and fun.

Two Night Stand

A typically clumsy and contrived rom-com is saved by an actor and actress who work well together - it cancels out and makes it mostly quite enjoyable.

Big Game
Big Game(2015)

There's no attempt to be anything other than silly fun. There are however, several irritating plot-holes and dumb moments which can only be explained as an inclusivity for the halfwit market sector - so they too can have that "Ha! The movie makers didn't think of that" feeling of cleverness. In that case though, you have to wonder why there's pretty much only one line from a woman in the whole film - is that not a bigger demographic than idiots?

Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly(2003)

A clumsy, turgid, wooden, melodramatic, and bizarrely displaced daytime-TV quality western, with a bit of straight-to-DVD standard of potboiler thrown in just for good measure. No attempt to explore or unravel the myth, and nor does it even try to turn him into a Hollywood hero. Hilariously it avoids the cliche of being a destination-Australia tourism advert by using epic quantities of unlikely mud, rain and sunless skies. An utterly inexplicable train crash.

Top Five
Top Five(2014)

Sometimes funny, sometimes nice or touching, but there's also dodgy jokes and scenes that are really just flat. Uneven.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Looks more like a lavish TV children's cartoon than an actual film, very fake and unconvincing CGI. Some of the action is dramatic and involving, but none of the story or characters are, and the scenes set outside of the vehicles are a dumb disaster. Nearly two hours long, nothing more than two or three sniggers to recommend it, and not a trace of intelligence at all.

Paranoid Park

Not brilliant, but too intriguing to dismiss or ignore. Wants to be some sort of middle-class, modern-day cautionary fairytale, but won't be pigeonholed. Definitely frustrating and disappointing at times, but so well observed that you quickly find yourself forgetting those moments and becoming engrossed again.

Kill Me Three Times

Nowhere near as bad as its ratings. That said, it's very much like they came up with a great ending and wrote a half-baked story just to get there. The script and actual filming both feel unfinished and scrappy, and Pegg is hardly used to his full potential. It does look good, and if you're a fan of Simon Pegg and of Australian film then you'll enjoy it, despite all the times you have to ask yourself what they were up to and if they ran out of time, money, interest, or all three.

Despicable Me

Some really funny gags, lots of mediocre ones, and not much intelligence at all. Briefly entertaining fluff.


Clumsy, cliched and even hammy. The writing at times is so woeful you have to wonder if Nicole Kidman insisted on certain scenes and dialogue. Did they really think trying to make it arty would cover up for a disjointed, muddled story? Reasonable cinematography though.

That Sugar Film

Tries to be populist by constantly feigning naivety, and it's often a bit fuzzy with its statistics, but still motivates you into aspiring to give up refined sugar entirely, forever, soon... ish. Leaves both marketing and all the psychology research behind it, and lobbying tactics, disappointingly unexplored.

Evel Knievel
Evel Knievel(1971)

Nostalgia aside, this is little more than a promotional piece, and the seventies misogyny can't be ignored.

Cars 2
Cars 2(2011)

Lightweight and insubstantial, but way less irritating than the first.


For a found footage horror film about a cult, a surprising degree of dark and disturbing is achieved, but there's nothing to balance that, and the back story never felt substantial enough to buy into any of the characters. If this is your genre it'll probably be a four star movie, but it's not mine, sorry.


Mostly a feel-good documentary, with only limited insight into the rest of the dancers' lives. However the positivity is uplifting, and the dancing fast and amazing.

The Gatekeepers

A significant documentary that shows the situation far more clearly and in more detail than anything before. It doesn't give much hope, talking of tactics without strategy and pointing towards much more fundamental causes than politics - although it avoids looking at the religions of either side, from where strategy is indicated does come.

Lost River
Lost River(2015)

Unfortunately more appropriation than vision. A very effective atmosphere, but almost entirely of gloom and ugliness.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

There are some insultingly dumb outbursts, and none of the dialogue can really be called intelligent, but without all the cringeworthy action of the other episodes this is actually the best of the lot so far. It's still lazy and tokenistic sci-fi.

Ex Machina
Ex Machina(2015)

The conversation "sessions" are tantalising - potentially fascinating, but sadly incompletely explored. The rest is rather obvious pulp sci-fi, and too doom-laden to be enjoyed much. It looks great, but the story just doesn't deliver. Not in the league of Besson's "Lucy".

Monsters: Dark Continent

Starts off on the wrong foot by completely disregarding so much that was special about the first one. Then descends into a mishmash of cliches and unrelated tropes, all ably captured by a valiant but surely stunned beyond belief director of photography.


Not bad, but thinks it's deeply contemplative and epically powerful, and the more it tries to convince you of that, the more you feel part of a poor-me self-help book. That said, it starts off as bad as it gets, then slowly fills in enough backstory to soften its own clumsiness. The ending avoids Hollywood cliche, which is a relief, but also a reminder how insubstantial it really is.

American Sniper

It's watchable but simplistic, and at times a bit Captain America. In Clint's worldview, men are the strong silent type with a stunted emotional range, and that's just the way it is - if it's change you want, just wait, and sometimes, very occasionally, with infinite patience you might see a hint of hope.

Bermuda Tentacles

It does have some laughs, but that doesn't change the fact this is cheap, lazy rubbish that's a bit of an insult to SyFy's cult following.

Mr. Turner
Mr. Turner(2014)

Interesting, and sometimes intriguing and life affirming.

The Kid with a Bike

Great if you want to wring your hands in pity, but while the story arc is well managed, the plot itself is unremarkable and, apart from Samantha's, the characterisations are sometimes a bit clumsy and obvious, not really bringing anything new to the genre. The kid makes a reasonable job of his acting, but his part was a bit uneven, though certainly very good at times.

Finding Vivian Maier

It's "Searching for Sugar Man" all over again! A film that would have you believe it reveals more about an unknown artist than sometimes we know of one famous in their own lifetime - the dark, troubled side, the isolation, the drive. You feel like the work emphasises, not leads the story, and in return you get to understand something of the connection or empathy, though I don't think specifically sympathy, she felt for some of her downtrodden subjects. Maloof's apparent unwillingness to help perceived rivals, and their complete omission, along with his self aggrandisement, ultimately do tip you off you've been duped.

Chasing Ice
Chasing Ice(2012)

Primarily about climate change, but with impressive visuals and sound, and a fair insight into the person too.

John Wick
John Wick(2014)

Slick, noirish, macho, simplistic violent action.

The Mule
The Mule(2014)

One more clever, but depressing and too dark to be very much fun at all Aussie film.

What If
What If(2014)

With a bit more finesse this could have been very good. It is funny and enjoyable, but quite contrived, and clumsily cutesy.


Formula TV cult movie. Silly, fairly funny.


Unpleasant, dark and sleazy. Grimly watchable, but the characters while understandable, are unlikable, and the story is hardly any less questionable than the culture it pretends to put on trial. Maybe that's necessary - nothing else seems likely to turn the tide.

Animal Kingdom

Very tightly controlled, but ultimately just another gloomy and depressing Aussie crim flick.

Begin Again
Begin Again(2014)

Carefully stage managed, scrubbed up and polished, marketable authenticity, but still very nice and feel-good.


The twists and tension are gripping, all the way up to the end. The ending itself though, while tidy, is very unsatisfying - it just doesn't leave you thinking "yes, that's it!", more "oh, is that all?". Four stars, but only just.


A great science fiction film that aims high. Things do get out of control in the second half, and for a while it all collapses into ordinary drama and action, but after a bit of scrabbling around in the dirt, enough pieces are pulled back together for a futuristic and hopeful ending.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

More all-consuming teen angst, just slicker than the first. Worst of all, it has a simple TV soap ending, nothing in any way clever or imaginative, let alone original - a lazy, cynical and patronising attitude to their audience. I suppose that's irony, the ethos behind the film paralleling its own plot.

The Inbetweeners Movie 2

It's a bit heavy on the cringe, especially in the first half, but the laughs are still there, and increase in the second half. Better than reviews prepared me for, and worthwhile if you're a fan.

The November Man

A barely updated old school style spy thriller. Plenty of action and tension, but it's not especially believable, and a lot of it is darkly violent.


The highs are adrenaline fueled and exhilarating, but the narration and score are unrelentingly breathless and overwrought throughout.

Pulp: a Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets

Bits and pieces of performance, band, fans, and Sheffield. Nice, exclusively affectionate, but not really revelatory, just vignettes. It did make me fondly remember the town and the music.

Edge of Darkness

There are some powerful set pieces, but they don't quite flow naturally with the story when they happen. There's also a lot of sentimentality. An unreformed revenge flick, with a thin veneer of contemporary politics.


Yes, he holds it all together and makes it gripping, but nothing can make you care about the people and their situation.


Too many characters, all mostly uninteresting, and too drawn out and muddled, but still tense and a little creepy, coming together reasonably dramatically at the end. Slightly dark sci-fi with somewhat soap opera people.


Clever, and unevenly funny.

Idiot Box
Idiot Box(2001)

More tragedy than black comedy, but a good Aussie example of the genre.

Appropriate Behavior

Sometimes too clever, mostly very good.

Jack the Giant Killer

Appearance, and presumably the budget, of a feature length daytime children's TV adventure. It actually could have been better, but they really must have done it all on a shoestring and still run out of money before getting all the scenes shot at all, let alone retakes to get them right.

Airplane vs. Volcano

Lots of nonsense, some laughs, but too few.


Wooden, clumsy, and muddled, but it does try to be adventurous and different, and manages to keep you interested even though it's a bit disappointing.


Ambitious, and to a fair degree successful, but its anime violence rather labours the point the film wants to make about us.

The Fault In Our Stars

Incredibly cutesy, but also sadder than you expect while funny and even a little clever at times.

Gone Girl
Gone Girl(2014)

Takes too long to build up the interest, but does get there. Unfortunately it's a brutal, dark, and clichà (C)d ending.

What We Do In The Shadows

It's clever and there are some laughs, but mostly it's just very Flight of the Conchords - if you like them you'll love this, otherwise it's a bit of a non-event.


It doesn't always make sense, but it certainly succeeds, and better than most sci-fi films - a balance of ideas, action, and weirdness that many books struggle to achieve, even with the time they have.


It's 'nice', and a lot of the time not overly interesting, but it's disinterest in spectacle is commendable, and the cumulative effect remarkable.


A stand out short, it has a little spark above average.

A Good Man
A Good Man(2014)

Formulaic, but measured enough that it has slightly more story and less too-fast action than the average for its genre. Its simplicity is a strength - there's no wondering if he'll lose a fight, or even get hurt, just efficient dispatching of bad guys, and steady, inevitable story progression heedless of inconsistencies. And yes, a seedy ending.

Good Hair
Good Hair(2009)

Hardly a full and balanced exposà (C), but certainly eye opening, and funny at times too, if not always PC.

Matrimoni e altri disatri

Fluff, but nice because it's different, from Italy, with a bit of French farce thrown in.

Sample People

On the surface, like an Aussie attempt at Human Traffic, just as Go was the USA's. However, while equally as cluttered up with action and drama as Go, the characters are very well observed like those in Human Traffic. There's no single plot, which for for me is a strength, but apparently for most reviewers a fatal flaw. Sheer energy keeps it moving, and for all its messiness I enjoyed it, and more than Dogs in Space, another budget indie cult movie to come out of Australia. More to think about than first meets the eye.


A genuine slow-burn. For a long time it feels too leisurely, slightly aimless, but then you find yourself involved, not caught up in the high drama of a near death experience, instead unexpectedly in a very honest and personal space. It doesn't amount to what I hoped for, but it's certainly a lot more than I thought I was getting.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Cartoon violence set firmly to eleven, and while not as good as the previous one, the story is ok. Shame it's not brilliant though.

Love and Other Disasters

A sort of guilty pleasure. It wants to laugh at the clichà (C)s of its genre, but secretly loves them too much to be genuinely harsh.

Sunshine on Leith

The Proclaimers' music is nice, and undeniably cheery, but I've never listened to this much in one go before, it was always a small doses thing. But, this is a very, very nice film. It should be said that the opening scene is something extra special, a cut above the rest of the film. The remainder is liberally sprinkled, if not quite smothered, with cheese. Beautiful light, wonderful city scenes. Could have been more, but nice anyway.

The Sapphires

A very easy to swallow, sugar coated feel-good story.


Frighteningly immersive, and startlingly different from a US equivalent. Powerful and significant.


A powerful and engrossing look at the dark and cynical face of romance.


A very enjoyable feel good movie. Early on it lays the foodie thing on a bit thick, but more than makes up for that by refusing to inflict terrible tragedy on us just because it's a redemption road trip and that's what usually happens.


This could have been amazing, but pulls punches from beginning to end. It's by no means ruined sci-fi in the depressingly familiar way we've come to expect of Hollywood, rather just under-written into blandness. Ignore the reviews and watch it, but be prepared to feel flat and underwhelmed. I suppose that's better than raging at the more usual galactic scale idiocy, at least.

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow

Above par popcorn sci-fi action, proving Cruise can make an ok movie despite being so easy to dislike in the vast majority of his screen appearances.


Solid, and likeable both for not being dry like could so easily have happened, and for not trying to be too impartial.

The Rover
The Rover(2014)

Great cinematography, but too many story points that don't fit, and plot progressions that make no sense. Fails to justify its brutality.

All Is Lost
All Is Lost(2013)

What? Why does he so calmly and slowly do so many things wrong? Is he a once great sailor now with a degenerative brain disorder and on a final, swansong voyage? Or a complete novice with a bit too much money and little common sense, who ignored everyone's advice? Maybe it was a brilliant film and then they added Titanic levels of populist nonsense to broaden its appeal. Inexplicable.

The Maze Runner

Irritatingly dark and shaky cam tween movie with tediously half-witted storyline.

Shanghai Knights

Tightly choreographed but dated, formulaic, repetitive, cheesy and faintly tedious.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The action's fast and slick, but there's no heart in the story, and the politics is two dimensional to the point where you feel it's actually feeding you the very line the film is ostensibly about the prevention of. The closing scenes are grand enough, but over all it's just a bit unsatisfying.


An enjoyable, magical mix of comedy Australian wildlife cameos, Hugh Grant in his element playing a character rather out of his own, and with mythology and sensual temptation thrown in. Norman Lindsay's part is rather obviously underdeveloped though.

Lesbian Vampire Killers

In case the title didn't clue you in, it's a bit misogynistic. It's also only mildly funny - there are a few good laughs, but mostly it's just chuckles. Frivolous fun.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Not as stupefyingly dumb as Dan Brown, but still little more than well produced, shocked-up airport fiction cum TV drama.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

A brilliantly ambitious film, that while sometimes uneven, surprisingly only ever really fails on a few very minor points - two or three badly delivered lines, a couple of set details. Wonderful.

Dumb and Dumber

I've been told over and over, for years, that this is that rare thing - something good from Jim Carrey. Finally I watched it. Is that a risk you are willing to take?


The usual social science fiction failing of child-like, two dimensional characterisations and story, but a reasonable action movie in the end.


A film noir b-movie with comedy horror elements, and a decidedly dark side. The complete lack of online reviews is rather odd - at 74 minutes it's well worth checking out if old school monster movies are your thing.

Last Passenger

A decent amount of tension, but the dumb decisions are hard to ignore.

The Infidel
The Infidel(2010)

Frenetic, sometimes clever and funny, and at others a bit silly and over done. Worth sitting through if you can, although irritating at times, it's more intelligent than it first appears.

Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters

Revealing, engaging, enjoyable, rewarding.

The Hit
The Hit(1984)

Sparse, strong and on the whole nicely played, but there are a few surprising weak patches.

The Hunter
The Hunter(2012)

As a brooding thriller about the hunter, it works extremely well, but it's let down by a simultaneously simplistic and muddled plot that just doesn't convince.

Punch-Drunk Love

At turns endearing and uncomfortable. It does avoid affected quirkiness for the real thing, but when it's irritating it really is infuriating.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Dreadfully hamtastic period serial killer potboiler.

Lars and the Real Girl

Only very occasionally uncomfortable, otherwise quite clever and touching, and often funny too. Insightful, sympathetic, and nice, not patronising, exploitative or negative - quite an achievement.

The Raid 2
The Raid 2(2014)

Fast and slickly shot, but very standard story completely smothered in tedious hyper-violence.

The Human Scale

Interesting and hopeful, rather than inspiring and optimistic.

Under the Skin

Not my favourite sort of sci-fi, but this is absolutely brilliantly done and keeps you transfixed the whole time.

The Double
The Double(2014)

Consistently and amazingly styled, clever and funny but, while undeniably a film to admire, the overwhelming blanket of depression makes it a difficult one to enjoy.

Frances Ha
Frances Ha(2013)

Almost endless angst and the awkwardness of trying to say and do the right things, a few really nice, genuine and happy moments, and a happy ending. I didn't see much of the boundless optimism and zest for life that others have written about. And yes, it does feel like someone trying to be Woody Allen for a new generation, ticking all the same well worn boxes in slightly updated ways. Compelling, but could have been a lot cheerier.

De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone)

It is a powerful and impressive movie, but it's also uneven, with quite a few flaws. To be fair, the shortcomings are probably mostly due to the huge scope of the story and the time limitations of a feature film. It really did feel like they'd edited and cut too heavily, and that three hours instead of two would have helped immensely, but then unless you're a big name director, working in English, hardly anyone would ever even hear about your work, let alone get to see the it.

The Descent
The Descent(2006)

Very effectively scary, and impressive for not being afraid to change tack as it progresses, rather than keep plugging away repeating the same tension building techniques and scare tactics.

Iron Sky
Iron Sky(2012)

Not by any means 'so bad it's good', but actually smart, low budget fun which is surprisingly better than you expect from its genre, and a whole lot better than reviews say. It's absolutely full of plot holes of course, but the satire, effects, and references are all decidedly above average. Even the script is mostly good. The only real weak point is some of the acting being a bit flat or off, the downfall parody scene in particular falls considerably short - there probably just wasn't the money for enough takes. I can only guess that the hugely negative response to the film is solely down to it's lack of reverence for the USA, but that's extremely unfair - this isn't in any way tiring yank bashing for the sake of it, but being a central theme naturally makes them the brunt of numerous jokes. Oh well, their loss. I hope the cult scene ultimately makes this as successful as it deserves.

Big Ass Spider!

Silly fun, without being stupid.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Quite a lot too much tedious battling and fighting and killing and dying, but the remaining little bits are still as good as the best parts of the earlier two movies.

Tortoise In Love

Nice but not much spark to it, and sometimes a bit am-dram too.

A Film with Me in It

A black comedy, but the blackness almost entirely overwhelms the humour.

Shut Up Little Man!

Weaves along the uncomfortable line between fascinating, and mean spiritedness. Insightful in the end, but leaves you more uneasy than inspired by any claimed artistic merit.

All This Mayhem

Brave, sad, compelling. A taste of the underground subculture. Enough of the commercialisation to put anyone off Tony Hawk for life. Heaps of gritty detail about the highs and lows of the journey from nothing, to world success and back again. There is a positive ending, but it couldn't come much more bittersweet.

Lone Survivor

Occasional sentimentality and Hollywood dumbness, but both are relatively minor, and the intense action and hard hitting story dominate. There's no context or analysis though, this is purely a study of a very specific category of people when under extreme pressure. On that it succeeds to a great degree.

The Rage in Placid Lake

Feel good fluff, some laughs, easy to watch.


Doesn't hold up to scrutiny, and not cheese-free, but an enjoyable and much better than average example of its genre.

101 Reykjavik

Interesting, funny, but a bit uneven - the main character is a bit inconsistent. Some clever writing, observation, and acting though.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Since when was 'not making a complete turkey' all you have to do to receive the highest accolades ?! Simplistic and unimaginative plot, dimwitted script. Reasonable effects. Effective only as an action movie with a thin sci-fi veneer, nothing intelligent, clever or inspiring.

Enough Said
Enough Said(2013)

It's clever, funny, and easy to appreciate but difficult to really enjoy. Too many of the characters are just not likeable enough.


A so-so story completely overwhelmed by stylised but repetitive violence. The cinematography is nicely done though.


The detail is great, and the effects are good too, when you can see them. Unfortunately a lot of the film is in darkness, and it gets rather tedious looking at almost complete blackness, waiting for a flash of action. The plot is standard monster b-movie, the scripting dimwitted, and the acting po-faced. Not bad, but they took no risks, and consequently it's generic and unmemorable.


While it's not Men in Black, it's also not the steaming pile everyone paints it to be. Lighthearted fun, with very occasional clever bits and not too many silly ones.

Alien Uprising

Very good with the tension and fear in the first half, but frustratingly full of set piece cliches, and in the end just a really dumb, violent soap opera.

Doors Open
Doors Open(2012)

The underlying plot is slightly weak, and there's a few silly story points, but otherwise this is well scripted and enjoyable, and the flaws feel very minor in comparison. Engaging escapism.

Exploding Sun

Almost a classic disaster movie. It's got the dumb people saying stupid things, running around and pulling faces. The humour though, scripted or unintentional, is in short supply until the last quarter, when it finally rounds out into a satisfying b-movie.


Lots of dumb violence, with a few hints at an intelligent complex and interesting story. No such luck. It's lazy to such a degree that the payoff ending is completely ineffective.

Ensemble, c'est tout (Hunting and Gathering)

A decidedly above average French film. Although a little uneven, it's very grown up and still uplifting.

In a World...

A clever and funny satire, but none of the characters are particularly likable.

The Wolf of Wall Street

I wonder how many of these shocked reviewers realise it's their moral high ground that breeds this behaviour. A fun film with a message. Clever, and not easy to tell if the occasional over the top slapstick was left in intentionally.

Diamonds Are Forever

The humour is lazily derivative, and it's all very much to the formula.

Never Say Never Again

Like some sort of flashback. Recognisable but dated and worn.


Tries to be different, and to some degree succeeds, but disappointingly it's very conventional - just a bit more originally done. The DVD extras also make it apparent there was significant cherry picking to create the particular story they wanted to tell, and that the people featured were in reality really quite different.

Lake Mungo
Lake Mungo(2009)

Necessarily dark, and successfully creepy chiller. Underplayed and thoughtful.

The LEGO Movie

Lots of fun and one liners, but does let itself down later on when they try to join multiple sentences together.

Where the Buffalo Roam

A bizarre combination of 80s Bill Murray with Hunter S Thompson. Sometimes the humour works, mostly it's remarkable for how off the mark they managed to be. Considerably better than its reputation, but only if you both like Thompson's writing, and have a fond attachment to corny eighties movies.

Collision Point: The Race to Clean Up Space

As much an advert for Gravity as it is documentary, it manages to be much more level headed than the movie. Interesting.

ANINGAAQ - A Short Film by Jonás Cuarón

If this is what they did with far more artistic control, it's no wonder Gravity was such a heavy handed let down.


What an incredibly, unbelievably annoying disappointment. A whole lot of overwrought melodrama and for-the-sake-of-it 3D effects. The few bits in between really are good, but there's just far too much stuff for the mouth breathers and not enough of the intelligent scenes.

Spring Breakers

Subtle and clever. Entertaining and thoughtful. Bright and loud. Repetitive, but only once too much so. Might be accused of moral ambiguity, but I think it's an intelligent, multipronged film.

The Canterbury Tales

Not uninteresting, but a slightly aloof mix of art and slapstick.

LOL (Laughing Out Loud)

A feel-good film that's much more honest than the Hollywood equivalents, but still turns the cheese control up to eleven at the end.

Road to Roubaix

The first part is far too repetitive, with endless brief interviews all saying the same thing, the people there just for who they are. Even during all that there is great footage and stills, but it's during the last quarter or so it comes alive and draws you in, with heaps of action. The score is notably above average.


Of course it's dumb, it's 80s! More fun than reviews give it credit for, and some of it's quite good, but over all the story is pretty poor. Good to see the early eighties messenger culture, and funny to notice bits and pieces hipsters recently picked up.

Who Killed the Electric Car?

No major surprises, but very detailed and well put together. Infuriating, of course.

Tom and Jerry: The Movie

A whole new level of ruined classic.

102 Minutes That Changed America

A powerful document that's very difficult to watch.

Apocalypse Now

You're left feeling that if it had continued any longer, you too would have been consumed by the madness.

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse

Fascinating and revealing, especially for the artistic insight.

Space Battleship Yamato (Uchu senkan Yamato) (Space Crusier Yamato)

Not brilliant, but better than I expected, and the slow decision making and speeches in battle are not so annoying as in Hollywood films. It kept me watching without noticing how long it is.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

The CS Lewis connection puts me off - makes me think of all that fundamentalism they have in the US - but I can't remember much about the book from school so it can't be that bad, can it?
September 2014 update: I don't like the moralising, and showing brutal violence in such a sanitised way is disastrously misleading for kids, and it's just simplistic and uninvolving.

Project Grizzly

It's not about bears, it's about the man, and it's funny - although you're not always clear whether you're laughing with him exaggerating for the entertainment of his mates, or if he believes all his own stories.

13 Semester
13 Semester(2009)

He's not that interesting, and it's a bit dreary at times, but is ok in the end.

Chasing Birds

Amazingly, not only is it fun, but it's actually a bit too brisk!

Wild Bill
Wild Bill(2011)

Very impressive. Affecting, and surprisingly fresh even though it's common ground. A clever balance of social awareness and cool, with nicely underplayed humour.


A b-grade rehash of Pitch Black, with a lazy or even deliberately dumb script and story. And I can't help but wonder if the winch scene near the end was a knowing nod to those irritated by the undercurrent of misogyny throughout the movie. But, still better than all that makes it sound.

Mission: Impossible III

Better than the second, but patronisingly dumb.

Inside Job
Inside Job(2010)

Penetrating questions the money men at times are clearly not used to, but there's no sign of changes for the better to come.

Ender's Game
Ender's Game(2013)

The same outdated, overly simplistic pop-psychology as the original story, some mildly amusing but very unimaginative sci-fi movie tropes, and rather uninvolving action sequences, yet in the end it's far more enjoyable than the book, and actually manages to convey the book's messages much more successfully.

The Dyatlov Pass Incident (Devil's Pass)

I'm a bit puzzled by so many bad reviews. I didn't enjoy most of it, because I'm no fan of horror, but it did come together quite well in the end, much better than any other I can remember seeing in the found footage documentary genre.

Europa Report

This just about scrapes four stars. Rather than a rage inducingly dumb depiction of science, it's gushingly enthusiastic. At times there is an unrealistic briskness to the progression of the storyline, and some silly elements too, both presumably to help keep the length commercial. The tension steadily builds to a peak, and then winds down again, and it's more of a drama than a sci-fi, but better than average and worth watching.


A closely, though not quite minutely observed office drama. Let down a bit by its dark humour being a bit on the sparse side, but still stands head and shoulders above all the air-headed stuff that at first glance it might be lumped in with.

Beyond the Gates

Has strengths, but very obvious and relies heavily on hindsight and religion.

Inside Llewyn Davis

A study in grey, albeit a sort of super-saturated version for the Instagram generation. Clever and never boring, but just not exciting at all - the characters are rather humdrum and ordinary. Occasionally your interest is piqued, and then it quietly settles back to ticking along with its cat jokes and comfortable clothes.


Harrowing, even sickening at times, and the scale of the revelations is shocking. Important, and hopefully the beginning of a change.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai

A fantastic balance of fun, casual cool, silliness, and sci-fi, with a bit of satire thrown in.

How To Make Money Selling Drugs

The first half is played for laughs, the second concentrates on exposing the hypocrisy and futility of the war on drugs. Not especially optimistic, but does give you hope that if America ever changes its policy - however unlikely vested interests make that - the whole world would probably quickly follow suit.

Blue Is The Warmest Color

Intense and passionate, life affirming and heart breaking. As absolutely and completely involving as a book you can't stop reading, and never want to end. A beautiful study, and superb filmmaking.

Upstream Color

Makes Primer look like an episode of Friends. You're driven to try to make a story that fits, but there's only ideas, nothing simple. To keep you right there, the whole time, is a mesmerising experience. Impressive, and... inscrutable? enigmatic? Whatever, despite never becoming clear, you're still fascinated to have seen it.

The Spectacular Now

Brilliantly, wonderfully refreshing. A teen movie even better than they used to be made, deftly rising above their big weak point, the caricatures they used to stick to.


Existential iHipster sci-fi, but it's Spike Jonze, so it's good too - better than it sounds, and even though sometimes it seems not to be saying anything, in the end it has. And, again because it's Spike Jonez, the DVD extras are also absorbing.

Like Crazy
Like Crazy(2011)

It's nice, sweet, and really well observed, but a bit light and slightly tedious. Probably great if you're a teenager still to work all this stuff out, and just interesting for everyone else.

The Work of Director Spike Jonze

A selection that always has something interesting whenever you come back to it.


Early on, the rapid fire dark humour fizzles more often than hitting the mark, and there's no denying it's all pretty grim, but it is a brilliant film.

A Hijacking
A Hijacking(2013)

Tense with foreboding, very effective by avoiding cliche, but so dark and depressing it's difficult to recommend.

The Breaker
The Breaker(1974)

There's something strangely fascinating about watching relatively recent history told in the style of an ancient legend. Unfortunately the required suspension of disbelief isn't maintainable, although the director's confession in the extras adds an interesting after thought.

20 Feet From Stardom

An enjoyable and uplifting look at backing singers, with a few twinges of sadness and regret, and lots of amazing vocals and nostalgia.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes

Fantastically stylish, plenty silly, just a bit short on the humour.

'Breaker' Morant

A very well told but fairly standard tale of how everyone is complicit, and luck and politics decides who takes a fall.


A much more conventional movie than I expected, and all the more successful for it. Very solid, with the middle being particularly strong. "Don't let him get to the lake..." - hilarious!

Chuck Close: A Portrait in Progress

Every bit as impressive as Close's process, to which this documentary adds depth and interest - things I've always struggled to find in his painting.

Blue Valentine

They're both lovely people, and both flawed. A clever and powerful portrayal of the depressing reality of many good relationships, what life does to them, and how we choose to ignore things all the way to a crisis. Predictably, things do get overplayed towards the end, which is cheap and manipulative, but it's a great film anyway, so long as you can handle feeling simultaneously sad and angry.

Red Obsession

A straight forward but ok documentary that suddenly takes an unexpected turn for the more interesting halfway through.

The World's End

Probably wouldn't seem quite so good on a second viewing, but it's great fun and the imperfections are minor and don't spoil your enjoyment.

Night of the Living Dead

Were the characters in the original this boringly stupid?

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Allen is infuriatingly effective with this upper middle class Tarantino like collection of cliches.

Behind the Candelabra

Carefully restrained and well told. Repeatedly avoids the cliches you expect, and instead provides enough of the unexpected to keep a slow burn story involving and surprisingly satisfying. Some of the idioms in the dialogue sounded too recent for the period, and a few bits of the story weren't fully filled out, likely due to edits keeping it tight and not too long. Both minor niggles, and neither spoil the result.

Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story

Much of it's very matter of fact, but at its peak it's very powerful. Not a neat and happy ending, but it does make me feel at least a little vindicated for never feeling comfortable about him, or being interested in his books. In fact I feel slightly dirty for having been inspired by his high cadence on climbs. At least that did me good though, and people have also finally stopped suggesting I read It's Not About The Bike!

Escape Plan
Escape Plan(2013)

Slicker than the average dumb action movie, but still very neanderthal. Some aspects of the plot are clever, but mostly not, and the dialogue never rises above grunts.

The Time Traveler's Wife

It has to get a few points for being a slightly creepy melodramatic corny rom-com tear jerker, yet still managing to push some emotional buttons.

Kill List
Kill List(2012)

Starts dark and gritty, and gradually reveals itself as expertly crafted and very uncomfortably effective horror. But for me it's yet another miss from Wheatley, who has so much potential, if only he could learn to control himself. I just don't need to stare into that abyss.

The Adventures of Tintin

An extraordinary amount of idiocy must have been dedicated to ensuring a potentially good story was told in such a dumb way. Unfortunately they succeeded - apart from a few brief moments of fun, it's all inane, or at best insipid.

For All Mankind

Manages to be both beautiful and important. Like a dream being made more real.

Dirty Pretty Things

Repeated contrivances, and the occasional overly slight humour, rather detract from a story trying simultaneously to be nice and to convince you how bleak and difficult the situation is. It succeeds in both aims, but consequently with somewhat less impact than reviews lead you to expect.

Once You're Born You Can No Longer Hide

While there's something undeniably entrancing about the story telling, it's a tenuous spell that's broken too often, either by melodramatics or sentimentality.

Hoop Dreams
Hoop Dreams(1994)

It's not as perfect as its reputation suggests, but is certainly a remarkable work. Despite what must have been a lot of editing, and more than a few unlikely omissions, the story mostly seems to tell itself. There's no real surprises, but the details are fascinating, and the presentation sympathetic rather than sensationalist.

Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim(2013)

More hyperactive dumb as a box of rocks pseudo sci-fi action and special effects than you can shake a stick at. It's not saying very much at all, but the story is infinitely more coherent than Michael Bay would have made it, and thankfully less infuriating than Guillermo del Toro usually would.
Although here it's easier than average to sit back and let the mindless action wash over you, you really do have to wonder if they spend extra making sure every single decision each character ever takes is stupider than the stupidest person on stupid street would make on the stupidest day of their life... all to reinforce the message that the only thing we should aspire to in life is blind faith.


Passionate and well meaning, but sadly inconsistent. At its best powerful and important, but at other times muddled to the point of sounding conspiracist. Unfortunately this gives detractors, and Pilger has plenty, all they need to ignore or shout down issues that have to be addressed and resolved. Not a film likely to covert many people, but however flawed it will hopefully raise some awareness and leads to more intelligent questions.

American Pie Presents: Book of Love

The girls are the same age as the mum character. Very average.

Planet B-Boy
Planet B-Boy(2007)

Cool and fun without being too niche. Makes you want to go to the next championship even if you've never taken much notice of the subject before.

The Help
The Help(2011)

As overly worthy as you'd expect. Shallow characters, and worse, superficial humour that simultaneously trivialises the issues and is inappropriate for the period.


Half good, but it's just not possible to care about all the twists, or any of the characters

Bad Boys
Bad Boys(1995)

Stupid shouty dumb cop action movie. A few laughs like you'd expect.

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan

23-9-2010: All over the place.
24-5-2014: And such a soap opera!

Dogtown and Z-Boys

Lots of great film footage. Hundreds of stills, sometimes rather unfortunately 'livened up' with dodgy effects. And sadly, apart from the music, virtually no audio from the period at all.

The Mars Underground

It really is very good, at times fascinating, inspiring, and enraging, but unfortunately isn't consistently engaging, mainly because a lot of the narration is somewhat matter of fact and dry. If you're into the subject, definitely watch it, but just don't try to convert anyone else with it.

Eames: The Architect And The Painter

Slow to develop and, though ultimately engrossing, never as revealing as you hope.

DCU: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

A successful and unusually impressive translation to the moving image of the violent dystopian noir aesthetic of graphic novels. If only there had been a few more touches of humour to lighten the mood occasionally.


Big name actors make head bashingly lame sci-fi movie, and take the money and run. So much good sci-fi has been written, so many bad sci-fi films have been made. Although of course this is Chrichton, so it is undoubtedly just production line written for the screen stuff. Which was then butchered into this. The ending's ok though.


Feels rushed(!) for much of the movie, and often the character portrayals are unsubtle, but it's above average, especially when it all comes together late on, for an excellent ending.

Tango & Cash
Tango & Cash(1989)

An early, curious take on the dumb cop action movie genre.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

I was a bit surprised when I saw this. The reviews had prepared me for something awful, but actually it's pretty much standard cardboard Star Trek moralising, with some breathing space for a little more of a sci-fi feel.


I think this has been misjudged. Yes, it's a lot of unbelievable nonsense, but it's carefully crafted unbelievable nonsense, written for an audience they understand well. "Hacking" might be an unlikely subject for this audience, but there's nothing wrong with trying something different.

Cocaine Cowboys

A fast talking Miami cocaine business lads mag style documentary. Full of fascinating trivia, starkly devoid of real social analysis. Long.


An interesting collection of inspirational segments and examples of contemporary thinking.

Margin Call
Margin Call(2011)

Tense. Shows impressive control and restraint, with no major compromises or let downs. Leaves you wishing it continued.

After Earth
After Earth(2013)

A couple of times it looks visually like a really good sci-fi, and once one of the characters does something not entirely stupid. Otherwise this varies between monotonous Disney level dumbness and every bit the disaster critics describe.

The Rise (Wasteland)

The dialogue's a bit variable, sometimes natural and funny, at others over written and awkward for the characters. The story is very standard but done particularly well, even if it has as many inconsistencies as most. Over all it's a definite success, despite its imperfections.

Thor: The Dark World

Not quite as fresh as the first, but the sci-fi and magic mix is more natural. There's a bit of cheese again, and more than its share of plot holes, but a decent number of laughs, and action that's not too over the top, keep this an above average offering, especially for the genre.

Gulliver's Travels

If you've read a few reviews, and are at least vaguely familiar with the genre, your guess will be spot on - lots of laziness, and one or two mildly funny jokes. Yet another case of "Why take risks, draw attention to yourself, and fail, when you can make minimal effort, blend in amongst all the other mediocrity, and fail with fewer recriminations?".

Failure to Launch

A lightweight production line rom-com, with better than average laughs, and fewer than average painful bits.

Deep Blue Sea

I watched this years ago so, though I can't remember much about it, the number of reviews crediting it with suspense must have some truth to them. But judging from the few minutes I saw last night, it takes itself completely seriously, even during scenes surely originally intended to be funny - retrieving the car number plate?! Probably worth watching as a monster movie, but be prepared for extra helpings of dumbness.

Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working With Time

His art's so pretty it would be easy to dismiss as superficial, but here it's obvious he's completely genuine, and his work's simplicity hides immense effort and determination.

Surviving Georgia

Sometimes witty banter, but mostly formulaic or contrived in general. Harmless rather than annoying though.

The House I Live In

Constantly changing angle, never ranting or preaching, it relentlessly builds a bleak and disturbing picture. Oddly though it's the DVD extras which most effectively deliver a message. The movie itself is less clear, perhaps because its most obvious conclusion - a class based one - is problematic, with no clear or at least simple solution.

The Rocket
The Rocket(2014)

A predictable but well balanced feel-good story, with characters that are just so easy to enjoy.

A Field in England

Neither tightly controlled nor a lunatic trip, both of which it has been called, this is fascinating, frustrating, occasionally disappointing, experimental, intriguing, and something to think about.

Los Actores
Los Actores(2003)

A straightforward film with a few goods laughs in it. I don't see why so many reviews come down hard on it - it's predictable and lightweight, but easygoing too, and never jarring. Perhaps you just have to be a fan of Moran. I enjoyed it anyway.

Road Trip: Beer Pong

Exactly the dodgy cheese you'd expect.

American Splendor

Clever, but lacking something to connect with.


Impressive, but a bit generic.


Holds your interest, but only just. A bit empty.

Apollo 13
Apollo 13(1995)

Fairly tense.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Overindulgent battle scenes, but I enjoyed it which is more than I can say of the book.


I struggled. It made me feel the way you're supposed to believe the protagonist is feeling. I think that's lazy film making. I should probably watch the original, but it might be too dark for me now.


Annoying and not at all as likable as claimed.

The Gods Must Be Crazy

The fun just keeps on coming.


A ridiculous film that although funny, doesn't deserve its high rating.

High Fidelity

Great, but why does American always have to layer an air of melancholia over this sort of film?

Die Hard
Die Hard(1988)

As flawed as most Hollywood output, but as an action movie it's particularly well done.

Blue Velvet
Blue Velvet(1986)

I was always the odd one out for preferring Wild at Heart over this, but perhaps it's the darkness Lynch fills his weirdness with.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Insightful, but frequently brutish and uncomfortable.

Ali G, Innit
Ali G, Innit(1999)

He's clever and funny, but he gets there with some misses along the way.

Total Recall
Total Recall(1990)

It has a bit of the hamminess that's part and parcel of a Schwarzenegger film, but it's not over the top, and no more spoils things than the eighties look to everything. Sci-fi nowadays inevitably has the life butchered out of it, but this retained much of its 'idea', enough for a fast paced action movie at least. It also benefits from a smattering of humorous satire.

Finding Forrester

A ponderously predictable 'worthy' film.

Angels & Demons

Like an imbecile child it skips happily along babbling nonsense. Not as teeth-pullingly idiotic as a Dan Brown book, but it tries valiantly.

Ping Pong
Ping Pong(2012)

Above average in more than one way, if never quite exceptional. A lovely portrait of several people, which also manages to be a little bit exciting and heart warming too.


If bad sci-fi horror is what you like, you already know you'll enjoy this. The only surprise is that there's so much more story than the endless mindless action you expect, even if it is unoriginal and predictable. Disappointingly as the end approaches and the action speeds up it also gets even dumber, all the way up to a completely and utterly ridiculous finale. Ultimately it's better than I thought it would be - just not my thing.

Top Gun
Top Gun(1986)

A good reminder Cruise has always been a dreadful, cheesy, wooden actor. While some of the classic, corny one liners still entertain, over all the script remains as bad as ever, and the action fast but empty and uninvolving. It's possible to see why it was so popular at the time, but despite nostalgia it inevitably disappoints on re-watching all this time later.

Satellite Boy

A simple story, elevated by the balance of tradition with the contemporary. It raises issues through subtle symbolism, and without preaching, leaving you inspired but with that slightly uncomfortable feeling of having things to think further about - on the occasions it seemed bad, have I missed something? Right up there with Ten Canoes.

Now You See Me

A fun story with all the life sucked out of it by weak, uninteresting characterisations and script, and glitzy, hollow TV quality action. Just a wannabe magic act.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

It's like someone saw the current standard of children's daytime TV cartoons and thought it would be a good idea to make a big budget feature length version, while only employing marketers and burnt out eighties kids movies screenwriters.


A seemingly endless stream of slightly loose Wes Anderson style whimsy. A story is told, but it's rather insubstantial, and the director only cares for amassing fluffy and disparate allegorical motifs, with a wilful disinterest in consistency and depth, and let's not get started on the naive soft-focus romanticisation of colonialism. A first half of uninvolving melodrama is followed by a period of Mills and Boon, and finally a closing act of pulp tragedy. Trivial and frivolous escapism-lite for middle-class hipsters and infinite-scroll Pinterest fans, with nothing very much to think about beyond frantic movie trope box ticking. If I've entirely missed the point then I think that's completely the fault of the feel-good melancholia, and possibly some smugness that went over my head too. If only it had made me care, at least for a moment! I really can't say I hated it, I just didn't get very much out of it at all. Was it all nostalgia? A sentimental ode to memories of innocent childhood interpretations of black and white silent movies? To be completely fair there were hints of interesting characters at times, but they remained undeveloped, always to be lost in a fire hose deluge of ephemera and twee novelty.

Zero Dark Thirty

Solid, dark, both intense and tense at different times, and thankfully more underplayed than most films of its genre. Don't expect anything other than the occasional nod to the issue of ethics or the complexities around the subject matter though. I didn't anticipate liking much at all, but despite the unpleasant topic it's a gripping, dramatic movie.


A great piece of storytelling, and nicely documented too, just such a dark subject.

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2(2010)

Good, but hollow (Oct 2010).
Three and a half years later, same opinion - plenty of well choreographed action, simplistic, irritating, gung-ho back story.

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

A tweeny feel-good that gets all the clichés just right.

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Although a complete story, the effect of the mean spiritedness in the middle isn't quite overcome by the happy ending. Fascinating stuff anyway.


The ridiculous premise of heaven and hell nonsense, combined with comic book two dimensionality, are somehow both ok in a film noir done this well. It is silly, and flawed, but I actually enjoyed it.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Still the franchise maintains a steady quality. At times quietly impressive, at others twee, violent, childishly comedic, and gory. In contrast to the first, the pace of this one keeps tripping over itself in its keenness to get on with things. That helps gloss over the weak (and the derivative - at one point I had to remind myself this wasn't Harry Potter... they're good films themselves, but they've also been done already!) scenes, and the battles aren't so grindingly endless, but it also emphasises the lack of depth. You could make the same accusation about the book, but that was undeniably for kids, whereas this most definitely still has inappropriate levels of violence and gore, just like the opener, and no doubt the finale will too. In short, not perfect, but great fun.

Road To Nhill

A bunch of old timers trying to relive their glory days of 1950s Australian daytime TV drama. Nice, if you know country Australia, but otherwise it'll feel unbearably slow and uneventful.

The Wedding Planner

Wooden. Occasional funny moments hint at improvements that never materialise.

Dazed and Confused

The repeated glorification of bullying is jarring, and contrary to reviews it's a real mishmash of periods - certainly not strict, authentic seventies. Yet it's smooth and fun nostalgia, done incredibly well, capturing a moment and a feeling superbly. Of course, it's more the feeling we idealise, than how it ever was more than briefly, but that's what a good movie does.

The Hunger Games

First you have to get past the ridiculous shaky-cam. Then the weak and childish backstory. Finally, the tween-angst, by the bucket load. Now you can appreciate the 'slightly above a very ordinary average but at least it's not a vampire' teen movie. So long as you can live with the certainty of a sequel being forced on you.

Sudden Impact

An idea done to death and going nowhere.


One of the best ever Christmas movies?! I suppose it isn't up against much. It manages to make all the must-have scenes not quite as cringeworthy as they usually are, but only raises one or two halfhearted laughs, and mostly just feels a bit lame.

Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner

An extraordinary documentary, so much factual information packed in without being confusing or getting disorganised. Fans and film students alike won't want to miss it, but anyone who can sit through the whole duration will find themselves fascinated.

Blade Runner (The Final Cut)

Remains an amazing film, one of the best ever. It's good to see how Scott intended it, and there are really only a few moments where it had dated at all, and equally, just one or two, very minor, flaws.

Ocean's Eleven

Perhaps it was good in its day, but now it looks staid - a bunch of pals being clever and having a jolly old time, confident they don't need to make an effort, and with no sense of urgency about getting on with entertaining an audience, even in the rather long time the movie runs for. The remake is a lot more fun.


Notable for performances occasionally rising above the ordinary, but mostly for underwhelming melodrama.

Guarding Tess

Neither funny not clever, just clumsy.

Dinner for Schmucks

How long do you have to watch this to find a redeeming feature?


Ham-fisted slapstick that takes itself seriously. Morbidly fascinating, like a slow motion train crash, and probably much the same you'll wish you hadn't seen it. Presumably the paycheck was all Affleck's.


Many layers, some inspiring, most bleak. Cautiously optimistic.


Not bad, but very much an early work.

Before Midnight

A thoroughly good sequel, similar minor flaws to the others, and again in the end those are unimportant. It's more intense, but just as real yet optimistic.

The Imposter
The Imposter(2012)

Multiple strands of subjective truth. Many twists. A thing well done.

The Lone Ranger

Even some great laughs courtesy of Depp can't save this from being lazy, directionless and without soul. In the end it's not as dire as reviews would have you believe, but I had hoped for something more than a dumb action movie with moments of Depp.

The Last Waltz

Quite an incredible record. Seeing so many impressive people on stage together performing flawlessly soon has you forgetting how ancient the music is. Even if a lot of them are well into their musical dotage now, there's a reason they're famous!

Searching for Sugar Man

I originally gave this five stars despite my suspicions - you really do want to believe, and say wow! It's a fascinating, beautiful story, unfortunately marred by its glossing over of anything that doesn't fit the 'undiscovered genius' plot. The Making Of... DVD extra is heart warming too, but equally carefully maintains the myth. If you don't know about, or are prepared to ignore this serious flaw, it's a feel-good comeback film to enjoy. Once you find out just how many omissions and manipulations were made, it's probably generous to only deduct half a star - but I was blown away at the time.

The Thin Blue Line

An absorbing documentary - you don't feel transfixed or riveted, but at the end you realise you effectively were, not having been distracted at all. It conveys the story in a slow paced, mostly clear way, although the nonlinear form does require fair concentration to avoid getting occasionally mixed up. Visually very nicely styled and understated, and for once, Phillip Glass is the right choice of music, quietly getting under your skin rather than, as I so often find him, being overblown and melodramatic.

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

Disney doesn't see irony, accidentally runs it over with a steamroller.

My Year Without Sex

Smart and funny with the small stuff. Falls slightly short with the bigger things, but there's not too much of that. Glamorises, or more accurately idealises a sort of universal middle class suburban family, in a mostly touching, all over feel-good way.

Mean Girls
Mean Girls(2004)

Funnier and more intelligent than most teen movies. Also an unusual, lightweight mix of both the usual American social norm reinforcement and digs against that same thing, and non-pc gags and whatever the opposite of those is too. Bit of an odd one that's worth seeing for the laughs, and because it leaves you uncertain whether you've been duped or not.

Magnum Force
Magnum Force(1973)

Tries to follow the first, without bringing enough new ideas. Solid early on, but drags on and fizzles pretty much completely at the end. If you're a big fan of Eastwood, or 70s macho cool thrillers are your genre, you'll score it higher, otherwise it's something of a let down - I just expected something a bit more groundbreaking, to justify the sequel.

Green Lantern

A confused mix of dumb children's movie and dumb macho action movie. If you like sci-fi, don't do this to yourself.


I only saw the much criticised end of the movie - a train crash by committee. The humour is there every time the funny person got a turn, but they were clearly outnumbered by people who didn't have the foggiest idea how to make a good movie. Until I've seen the start, two stars is generous, particularly given the truly dreadful shaky-cam.

Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman

As much about buildings as Shulman, this is unfortunately not a perfect film - some of the animated stills sequences are seriously weapons-grade PowerPoint nauseating, and the images are never given enough time on screen. It feels thrown together, like it would have benefited from more editing, but probably all the footage is better there without stylistic continuity than not there at all. In the end it is absolutely fascinating. Thankfully it was made, and exists. A bit of a gem.

Japanese Story

A promising idea, and superficially looks the part too. Sadly the script is weak and the on-screen chemistry lacking. Disappointing.


A perfectly mindless sugar-rush succession of special effects, one ridiculous narrow escape after another, just like a children's cartoon. Until the truly dreadful wordy dialogue on the brink of the final disaster climax. That's when it collapses from a better than average bad disaster movie, to the normal dire bilge and stupidity you expect.

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

Apparently the original's a classic. I should watch it one day. This remake is so utterly vacuous and devoid of believability it's a great example of empty Hollywood tension, like the flavour of junk fast food. And why do people do such stupid things all the time in such films - could it actually be an essential part of the formula for this fake tension?

Mystery Road
Mystery Road(2013)

Firstly, it's good, one not to be missed. It is a genre film, both Noire and Western, but an unapologetically contemporary Australian take on them. Slow-burning, hot, dusty, and beautifully filmed - hardly an imperfect shot at all. The acting and scripting weren't quite as close to flawless, but these still comparatively minor weaknesses don't take the edge off it too much, especially when compared with most Australian movies.


Neither mundane nor crazy, despite appearances, it just quietly gets on with making a statement both simple and with depth. Odd, funny, sad, astute, universal. It's worth the time to see it through to the end.


Family portrait / social documentary, elevated above average by an engaging story teller gently but very competently directed.

The Big Shave

Reasonably solid art short. It's worth knowing the backstory.

It's Not Just You, Murray!

Ambitious, but unless you're a film nerd or a Scorsese fan, it doesn't really come off.

American Prince

A bit like one of those movies Hollywood directors like to make where they indulge themselves and their mates on some pretense, with an all-star cast showing off their acting skills. Except, this one is interesting enough to be worth watching and, just as importantly, not annoying - probably because it's factual.
Update: having now watched the first of these two, from 30 years prior, this makes a lot more sense - interesting.

American Boy: A Profile of: Steven Prince

Fascinating. Some people not only realise how great life is, but also have a fantastic way of relating it.

On the Ice
On the Ice(2012)

Bleak but not overwhelmingly so, and claustrophobic in a small town way. Great cinematography both for its seemingly endless icy wastes and for its fascinating impressions of a remote, unfamiliar culture, unfortunately dealing with all too familiar social problems. Contrary to some reviews, the acting is well up to the mark, particularly Patkotak's entrancing performance as Qalli. Obviously professional actors' tricks of the trade were not in evidence, but they're so often overused, and in my opinion inappropriate here anyway. Niggles really were just that, and easily ignored. Completely engrossing.

Soundtrack to War

Powerful, poignant, and important social documentary.

American: The Bill Hicks Story

Brilliant. Inspiring. The world needs people like this. If this film has a flaw it's that all periods of his life are given equal screen time, meaning his youth and formative years can feel a little completist, while footage of his most significant work is all too brief - but, I don't believe that's a fair criticism. The impact and inspiration are profound, and that for me justifies the approach.

Before Sunset

It's hard to say anything different from the first one. Still a little indulgent, but less so. Less breathlessly magical, slightly world weary, but that's rather the point. A wonderful continuation of the story and just really nice.

Before Sunrise

It is a little indulgent at times, and sometimes contrived, but this can be forgiven since it's just so nice and romantic.

Encounters at the End of the World

Herzog's idiosyncrasies are there as ever, but plenty of it survives to be fascinating, and better than many nature documentaries.

Cinderella Man

Occasionally it comes together, but mostly it's sentimentality and Zellweger's Marge Simpson impressions.

American History X

It definitely has its flaws, but they're comprehensively outweighed by its strengths. As for being "simplistic" and "preachy", I can't agree. The former is true only in as much as its necessary when telling a story like this in a movie rather than a book; the latter I can't see at all - I really appreciated characters not being clumsy stereotypes of either good or bad and, for that matter, that black and white are complex, believable people spread across the spectrum of decency regardless of colour.

Berberian Sound Studio

Above all it's a celebration of a genre. The sound is beautiful and genuinely amazing, and the film looks good too. Even the scripting is ok. But when it comes to fear and foreboding, you can see this is more for aficionados than everyday fans of Giallo. It's not that the psychological side of it is bad, rather the drama is more cerebral than gut clenching. Well worth seeing, but it's one to appreciate and savour, rather than for edge of your seat tension.

Red Dawn
Red Dawn(2012)

Even more meat-headed than it needs to be to get such a ridiculous plot underway, and there's plenty of ham-fisted dialogue between plot-holes. However, the action scenes are fast enough to save it from actually being as bad as critics say. Just don't expect to think afterwards that it was a good film.


A clever and scathing, but relentless and exhausting, attack on society in general and the so called liberal middle class majority in particular. As much art work as film, it's a sprawling tableau of bad behavior and unpleasantness, on display for our reflection. Lots of historical, sociological, and philosophical references were lost on me but, like The Simpsons, the message remains clear - if, at least a bit, different!


Knowing, but in a laboured, small minded way. Nicely shot, but really not funny enough to get away with its subject.

Minority Report

Hammy set pieces that Cruise presumably thinks make him look cool aside, still an enjoyable sci-fi action thriller.

Dogtooth (Kynodontas)

A kind of dark, kind of disturbing little film, that leaves you wondering if that's all it was, or if there's an important message you missed.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

What terrible dialogue!
Update: it feels epic, but it's also mostly like an overblown daytime TV children's cartoon - the formulaic ones churned out en masse in the hope one will hit merchandising jackpot. With particularly terrible dialogue.


Raises a few chuckles as compensation if you have to sit through it, but it's still a rather large dose of mediocrity.

Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry(1971)

Finely crafted social commentary of the times that, as an action film, hasn't aged at all.


Infuriating characters and plot developments, but it grips you with the tension almost straight away, holds on, and delivers in the inevitable but still spectacular way.


A beautiful and charming film that takes a step further than just observing the innocence of childhood, which it portrays so well. Thoughtful, slightly uncomfortable at times, and always believable.

Gantz: Perfect Answer

A satisfying conclusion, adding much in the way of story to the mostly conceptual first half. Not prefect, but for those like me who struggle with animé, this style of live-action alternative is far more accessible.


An interesting idea quite well done, except for one rather large but... the characters are all incredibly, frustratingly slow both on the uptake and on the trigger.
Update: although complete as a movie itself, watching the second half makes it much more worthwhile.


Feels occasionally rushed early on, but deftly avoids all the cliches you expect, and never over does things. Surprisingly powerful. An unexpected gem.


A dysfunctional relationship, French art house style. Not perfect, but there's more to it than it first appears.

Cowboys & Aliens

Good concept, daft realisation mostly disastrous script - some funny jokes though and luckily it's not really talky, impressive stunts, bad CGI. Still a bit of fun if you treat it as a dumb action movie.

Pirate Radio (The Boat That Rocked)

Takes forever to feel like it's telling a story, but it's easy going enough.

Superhero Movie

An endless string of well timed but old, tired gags. Even though some are really funny, many aren't, and either way you need more than that for a good movie.

The Bourne Legacy

Scrappy at times especially early on, and the requisite road chase is a bit much, but over all fairly decent for a spin-off.

Jack Reacher
Jack Reacher(2012)

An above average thriller, though regularly marred by outbreaks of corny dialogue and illogical, out of character behaviour - apparent attempts to make Cruise look cool, desirable, or clever. He comes off as silly instead.

Ken Park
Ken Park(2002)

Hard to pin down. A concentration of the banality of disaffected teenagers lives punctuated with, by conventional standards, intense events, in a totally believable and matter of fact way. It's easy to see why censors don't like it, yet it's only really shocking for the contrast between the casual sex and family violence of reality which we're being 'protected' from, and the ridiculous love scenes and hyper-violence on cinema and TV screens every night of the week throughout the western world.

Blue Crush
Blue Crush(2002)

Nothing new, but fun and much more likeable than most mainstream summer movies.

How to Train Your Dragon

'Nice', pretty, but unoriginal and predictable.

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

An ambling soap opera with characters you can neither like nor detest.

Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out

Interesting, but mainly because of the questions it raises and complexities of the case it highlights. The girl (now woman) and even her mother contribute enough that you get a feel for their side, but you're left wondering whether or not the lack of input from Polanski is a significant factor in him coming out of this film looking pretty good. It's not that he's put on a pedestal here, just that you really don't learn enough about him - I found myself reading articles and reports afterwards. Perhaps this is really just a footnote to 'Wanted and Desired', which I haven't seen.

Star Trek Into Darkness

As wooden and simplistic as ever, but one of the better ones, and plenty of action.

Arlington Road

A frustrating mix of potentially good conspiracy theory thriller plot and dumb scripting.


A reasonable enough conspiracy theory action movie.

Hot Fuzz
Hot Fuzz(2007)

So funny and well done it feels wrong to fault it, but it does stretch things a bit thin at times. Still superb though.

Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3(2013)

Is there such a thing as substantial vacuity? There is something to it, but really it's just glitzy action, nothing new whatsoever. Good but forgettable.


Looks great but written by idiots with crayons. To be fair it must have started with one good writer, there are still traces, but then a series of half-witted yes-men thought, 'what makes a lead actor look good?' ...

Ong-Bak (Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior)

Head and shoulders above other martial arts movies!

The Bourne Ultimatum

Pretty good, despite several badly done shaky-cam scenes and the odd ridiculous bit.

Legally Blonde 2 - Red, White & Blonde

Not even as good as the first one. Feeble and pointless.

Pitch Perfect

Easy to like, even if it mostly walks the line between cheese and cool, never quite fully in the latter but thankfully not to much in the former. At its best in the tongue in cheek self aware scenes, but a crowd pleaser all round. I'm doubtful about it achieving the longevity of some of the classics it's so keen to reference, the character development was a bit superficial, but The Breakfast Club was a long way from perfect too.


Not bad at times, but too frequently weak, muddled, and wooden.

Jackass 2.5
Jackass 2.5(2007)

It is the rubbish you expect, but it's also hilarious at times.

Ocean's Eleven

Smooth, bordering on smug, but easy to enjoy.


Not terrible, & doesn't take itself too seriously, but struggles and fails to achieve any subtlety whatever.

Mars Needs Moms

You can see it could have been good, but for some reason they decided to make it imbecilic and abrasive.


Funny! I don't know what all the bad reviews are about - it's Russell Brand being cheerful and having a laugh, not Shakespeare. More consistent than Get Him To The Greek (though the funniest bits in that were hilarious), which in turn was better than Forgetting Sarah Marshall, also a good, funny film.

I Am
I Am(2011)

A nice idea, and the film has merit, but unfortunately lacks rigor. It's 'nice' in many ways, but then when something really grabs you it gets left unsatisfactorily explained, or even edited to sound like some new age woo regardless of whether it is or not.


Decent monster movie with some good laughs.

The Bourne Identity

Efficient and well put together.

The Bourne Supremacy

An action movie that isn't completely ridiculous, story and stunts kept under control.

127 Hours
127 Hours(2010)

A good job of a story better suited to a book.

Wreck-it Ralph

Fun. Not only is it better than you expect, it's actually good. And there's so little of what you expect will make it bad, that it doesn't spoil it at all. Plenty of video game references too.

Pink Flamingos

Childish but controlled depravity.


Incredibly tense, particularly once the early laughs have subsided and it concentrates on keeping you on edge. In other ways it doesn't do so much, probably for the best underplaying everything except tension.


Three ghost stories. Beautiful cinematography. Humour. Narrative and soundtrack that work well. The aesthetic is simultaneously Indigenous, European Australian (for want of a better phrase) , and contemporary art. Fantastic.


Some laughs, but too wooden.

Green Zone
Green Zone(2010)

Tense and exciting thriller, but much of the time the politics detract rather than add to the story. The shaky-cam is irritating, but not so bad as to completely ruin the film.

The Fugitive
The Fugitive(1993)

Completely by-the-book, but it gets everything right and is remarkably watchable.

God Bless America

Funny and clever, but doesn't live up to its potential. Although reading some critics you'd think it was much more extreme than the 'occasionally slightly ill judged' that I did, so perhaps it's hard for Americans to comment on their own society in a way an outsider finds meaningful.

Starship Troopers

Tricks you into thinking it's a bad action movie, with two dimensional, though not quite wooden acting. But it has a mind of its own to a surprising degree, and breaks quite a few Hollywood conventions though still follows some others.

Premium Rush
Premium Rush(2012)

Completely silly yet totally likeable. BMX Bandits reloaded! AND Danny MacAskill is one of the stuntmen - easy to guess which bits he rides, even without watching the DVD extras.

Django Unchained

Defies easy description. It's compelling and funny, with some carefully contrived arty tableaux, but also questionably gory, and occasionally sloppily unpolished too.

End of Watch
End of Watch(2012)

Predictable propaganda, trying to be cool and bleak. Quite gripping anyway.


Brings Bond bang up to date, but does so while getting nothing wrong, rather than everything right. Just doesn't do anything new and exciting. All the same it's a solid action movie, with some humorous moments, and that isn't dumb and annoying.


Plenty of cheesy dumb action, with added bad jokes.

Another Earth

It's US-indie drama with a superficial sci-fi garnish, but beyond that I'm struggling. Melancholic, brooding, introspective, none of these words are right. Somehow it's both light and affecting at the same time. No surprises, but a much better than average example of its type, whatever it is!


A painfully extended variation on the endless multitudes of vapid two-dimensional teenage vampire series television is full of.


Very 80s, and typical hit and miss Burton. Such a mixed bag of good and bad.

Cop Out
Cop Out(2010)

Not as bad as the baseball card storyline led me to expect, and some of the wackyness is funny. But not all that much. If you just need a dumb action movie, this does the job better than reviews suggest though.

Muriel's Wedding

Equal parts intelligent and funny, and mean and shallow.

Red Dog
Red Dog(2011)

Australia shows it can lay the sentimentality on as thick as anyone, with the small consolation of a little good old Aussie humour. There's none of the adventure you expect, just a bit of a yarn, and the dog's a big disappointment - well trained but only to the most basic level, with almost every scene short, simple, and clearly done for an instant reward.

Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid

Don't believe the bad reviews! It's funny because it doesn't pretend it's not silly, and it doesn't pretend it's good. Everyone just gets on with acting out their cliches and enjoying themselves.

In the Realm of the Senses

Slightly misogynistic, very obsessive. Not at all erotic.

There's Something About Mary

Maybe two-and-a-quarter stars. It is funny, but it's frequently painfully unfunny too.

The Simpsons Movie

While not as funny as their absolute best, it's like an extended episode, with lots of good laughs and all the usual stuff.

Nobody Knows (Dare mo shiranai)

Slow but beautiful and only occasionally over sentimental look at childhood, and in the end, sadness.

An Education
An Education(2009)

Uncomfortable. Charming. Really rather good.

The Devil Wears Prada

It's hard to tell if Streep's disdain is good acting, or a comment on the film she found herself in. A vapid movie, critiquing nothing and reinforcing all the usual stereotypes.

Fireworks (Hana-bi)

Existential, funny, violent, sentimental, confusing.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

An interesting idea scripted and directed by a committee who thought Forest Gump was a great movie and, even worse, couldn't say "when". Empty, saccharine, sentimental twaddle.

Tokyo Story (Tôkyô monogatari)

An intense but accessible meditation on life.

Robin Hood
Robin Hood(2010)

A lengthy, indulgent imagining of the lead up to the Robin Hood legend. Actually not a bad story in its own right, but doesn't manage the magic needed. Not a classic.
On second viewing it's slickly made, but a clumsy, corny story.

Blood Work
Blood Work(2002)

Mediocre - slow, unimaginative, and predictable, but it does have an occasional nice touch.

Space Cowboys

A bunch ancient stars use Hollywood connections to get themselves in a cheerfully cheesy all American hero movie. It does finally deliver, but you have to suffer a long time first.

Déjà Vu
Déjà Vu(2006)

Completely ridiculous, to the degree that you find yourself laughing out loud. That and the action do make it a watchable movie, but the heavy sentimentality, bad science, and sexism are tough bits to sit through.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Captures the pace, fun, excitement, and weirdness, but is a little light on the fear and loathing. Suits me fine, but might disappoint fans of his incisive political insight.


Tries to combine all sorts of classic genres, and although it really doesn't come off, there's enough of a lighthearted comedy / crime / road / buddy / love-triangle / off-beat / screwball type movie to make you laugh now and then.


Natural Born Killers got everything that it did right. This tries to go deeper, but doesn't quite do so well, so although it offers a bit more insight, it feels less satisfactory. Definitely one to watch, but won't stick in your mind as quite such a perfect package.

Gosford Park
Gosford Park(2001)

The occasional niggling inconsistencies are easily ignored, as they're all part of what keeps the story moving and stop it being another dry and boring period drama. Good fun, with plenty going on to make it interesting.


Wordy, but inspiring and ultimately uplifting.

America Stripped (Stripped: Greg Friedler's Naked Las Vegas)

It took a while, but grew on me all the time. Touching at times, the film manages some of the honesty the photographer is aiming for with his work.

The Tall Man
The Tall Man(2011)

You're left much more in the dark about the guy who died than the cop, which is probably to be expected, but tempts you to make assumptions. It does seem fairly even handed, but doesn't offer much hope.


Interesting without being fascinating.


Simplistic and all the better for it. Unlike most anime, the story is coherent, it's often funny, and the actual animation is original and amazing. High octane, with good soundtrack to match too.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Hellboy 2)

Absolute mush, however lavish the fancy dress.

Resident Evil: Afterlife

Dumb action sci-fi horror. The story depth of a video game, but you're helpless and unable even to throw yourself to your death.

The Intouchables

It's corny and over romanticised, but that really doesn't matter very much because it's also genuinely funny, and thankfully not too sentimental.

Certified Copy (Copie Conforme)

It tries, and sometimes comes close, but doesn't feel natural, and besides the initial twist doesn't bring anything new or particularly convincing to an age old story. Not really involving or satisfying.

Moon Inside You (La lune en moi)

Positive, but disappointingly thin on science.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Clearly, quite an effort was made to be wrong at every opportunity, even where being right would be easy. And when it was finished they decided it was worth spending more money, to double its length. Despite this, it makes you laugh, doesn't get you very angry, and all in all isn't nearly as bad as reviews say.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Amazing. A very important hero. The film making doesn't get in the way at all, and tells the story well. It feels so positive, and he comes over as brave but humble, intelligent, wise, inspiring. Truly special.

Gerhard Richter Painting

The artist says at the beginning that you can't really talk about painting. Much of the film is on the process, with brief vignettes into his life, none giving significant depth. Nice, without being fascinating.

Holy Motors
Holy Motors(2012)

Here and there it lives up to its reputation, but sadly not very consistently. It just feels a bit affected, no matter how well done. You can't help but keep watching though, waiting to see if it does all come together in an impressive finale. If a full on collapse into bog standard silly French movie humour is your thing, it's worth the wait. The accordionists are a highlight though!

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

You wonder how such a performance could ever be interesting, but the insights hook you in, and the subtle editing leaves you entranced with the subject, even thinking you might have lined up and waited for a chance to be there too. Informative but never dry, moving without being sickly, an impressive film that makes you feel like a loyal fan might.

Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale

Bit of an odd one. Nice to see an animation that's not sterile and sanitised like Disney, but it didn't have the depth its reputation implied - a bit simplistic. I found it occasionally cheesy, and of slightly questionable political correctness too, so I guess this is mainly one for the people who grew up with it. Much better than most feature length animations though.

Knocked Up
Knocked Up(2007)

The good bits are better than average, but many of the twists and turns of the story are contrived and let the film down. Nowhere near as funny as reviews lead you to expect - mostly just chuckles, and only one big laugh.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Idiotically mindless action. One star for making me laugh once, and for the never ending action, however ludicrous.

Hercules Returns

Hilarious. Effortlessly funny on multiple levels. An underappreciated gem that only occasionally gives you a rest from laughing.

Marvel's The Avengers

Even with the incredibly annoyingly stupidly dumb moments you expect, this is such fun you feel like you've just seen a brilliant movie at the end of it.


True, if imperfectly, to the original. The dark humour was there, but it's a bit po-faced. Stylised is an unavoidable word, it's done so well, and the bucket loads of gore don't jar like you expect. Ventures beyond the monosyllabic don't generally end well, but they didn't in the comic either.

The Siege
The Siege(1998)

The special effects maintain a dignified restraint in the face of relentless onslaught from the plot and script's monumental dumbness. The important themes, which momentarily flounder to the surface between extended bouts of idiocy, never stood a chance.

The Bounty Hunter

Not as bad as its made out to be, just very lazy, with occasional good moments.

The 40 Year Old Virgin

Like you expect it does make you cringe, but mainly early on, and of course there's cheese, but not too much. Oddly it doesn't insult your intelligence. Mostly it actually does what it claims to. It's funny and you laugh at it and with it. Unexpected but true!

Star Trek
Star Trek(2009)

The start is a weak and silly let down in an otherwise strong and entertaining sci-fi action extravaganza. Although the slapstick oversteps the line once or twice.

Legally Blonde

A whole load of jokes and one-liners, all written by different people, hung on to a pretty thin story. Sometimes funny and nice, others patronising and unpleasant. Not so much something to switch off to and enjoy, more something you have to switch off to to enjoy.

Spy Game
Spy Game(2001)

The right names, the right scenes, but the flashbacks, action, and weary cynicism just aren't held together adequately by the story. Quite watchable, but all too forgettable too.

Safety Not Guaranteed

Affected whimsy and quirkiness aside, it's convincing enough, and nicely enjoyable.


Although a little weak at times, it is inspiring, and certainly keeps you watching if you don't know the outcome.

Eagle Eye
Eagle Eye(2008)

Gets some adrenaline going at times, but veers wildly between conspiracy theory & "patriotism", with disastrous quick-cut special effects that make you wonder if every single stunt failed & they were left stitching random frames together for the action sequences.
Update: On second viewing, who wrote this? Tabloid journalists, politicians, and marketers? It starts off with everyone saying and doing really dumb things, then every subsequent line and choice makes what preceded it look intelligent by comparison.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Some new insights into the motivations and resulting lives of refugees, but not much hope for the future.

Revenge of the Nerds

Not complete rubbish, but it rarely shines. Mostly a set of tired, we'll worn, and even contemptible clichés trying to be lighthearted.

Men at Work
Men at Work(1990)

Classic 80s corn, with some good laughs and an increasingly ridiculous story.

Patriot Games

All a bit humdrum until the ending, which does get tense, but sadly not for long, soon feeling drawn out and predictable.

Demolition Man

Varies from silly to really silly, but mostly with a sense of fun. Usually silly fun.


I only watched it long enough to convince me it really is as bad as the critics say, and I was generous.

Phone Booth
Phone Booth(2003)

I thought it would be bad but it was far, far worse than that. Long after I'd given up waiting for an interesting twist there were a couple of moments that hinted at intelligence, but they instantly disappeared without a trace. I avoided it for years and only finally watched it in some vain hope I was wrong. If only.

Alien Raiders

Tense, but let down by its low budget shaky cam & darkness.


A high speed DayGlo slasher b movie trip.

Murundak: Songs Of Freedom

Beautiful, moving, and important, but mostly a teaser musically.

Falling Down
Falling Down(1993)

Endlessly mean spirited and nasty, and only occasionally and briefly funny. It does have its merits, but they really don't make up for, or even begin to justify its methods.

The Dark Knight Rises

Gung ho, over bloated, vacuous, plodding, dot to dot, occasionally glitzy action movie. To be generous.


Flaps around for a while unsuccessfully trying to establish itself as a serious sci-fi movie, then suddenly morphs into a pretty respectable action flick instead. Only to pull a face plant sci-fi belly flop of an ending out of the bag, detracting massively from the well set up ethical dilemma you're left to ponder. Good, on balance, but with a bit more effort could have been great.


Visually successful, but beyond that the considerable ambition to epic sci-fi only pays off in bits and pieces, with many let downs in the story and details. I wonder if there were too many interests pulling in different directions, or if they just couldn't get it right despite all wanting the same thing.


Occasionally a bit scrappy, but funny without ever being silly, & Tupac is good.


Ricochets backwards & forwards between funny & cringe-inducing, comedy-by-committee style.

Life of Pi
Life of Pi(2012)

Took a while to escape the feel of a 3D show reel, and never entirely rose above the commissioned production line book genre, but was a lovely example of absorbing storytelling, if slightly heavy on the religion. Escapism with something to talk about afterwards.

Oranges And Sunshine

A good job of a very hard subject.

Van Diemen's Land

Very atmospherically shot & scored, but cursory & uninvolving characterisation makes this little more than a period b-movie horror.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Glimmers of the original, mostly unoriginal.

The Spy Who Loved Me

A bit Benny Hill, but less so than others.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Lots of good bits, & over all as immersive as you'd hope, but it's rather drawn out at the start, & a lot of the action is unconvincing. Fluctuates between twee, with childish scripting & voicing, & endlessly violent for the sake of it. One good laugh, even if it was a cliche, lots of weak humour, all seemingly aimed at children, yet the high levels of violence & gore are much too disturbing for them. TV cartoon methods of getting gruesome stuff passed for kids are used - avoidance of literal portrayal of certain key actions, but other equally nasty ones get on screen because they haven't yet made it on to the censors' list.

Any Questions for Ben?

The humour works well occasionally, but otherwise the film struggles to rise above the superficiality it's trying to portray. Finishes with a stock, by-the-book, rom-com ending.


The famously bad action sequences are actually better than average, & there's a reasonable, if standard, superhero story in amongst all the contrivances. The corniness is funny, sometimes, but the attempts at film noir are mostly a miss.

The Breakfast Club

Really good at times, but the out of character stuff, & there's a lot of it, really lets it down, & the underlying theme of 'conformity is best', is a major failing.

I Love You Too

Not 'surprisingly funny', but 'funny, surprisingly'.


Many scenes are set pieces not well linked together to form a coherent film. Does achieve a balance of shout-at-the-screen stupidity, & full-on action, with moments where you realise it could actually have been good movie, if only someone had taken a step back now & then, & looked at the storyline.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Doesn't stand up to close examination, but surprisingly doesn't labor its attempts at quirkiness too much & is infinitely better than most Christmas movies.

The Long Kiss Goodnight

Starts with potential, stumbles as it gets going, but most of the time holds it together as an enjoyably bad action movie.

Sixteen Candles

Mediocre to ok 80s movie, with unexpectedly British soundtrack. Rather spoilt by outbreaks of ridiculous slapstick.

Waste Land
Waste Land(2010)

Impressive, interesting, touching.

Changing Lanes

Manageable levels of annoyingness, half decently tense.

The Island
The Island(2005)

Half decent sci-fi idea, typically dumbed down. Eventually morphs into a reasonable action movie but consistently, nimbly, avoids intelligence at every opportunity. And the product placement?! A Nokia in the advert break was more futuristic than the one in the movie! MSN Search was in the movie... that's already outdated - currently Bing, but everyone knows how often Microsoft change product names. Did anyone really think this sort of thing would build rather than devalue brands?

The Way
The Way(2011)

The father son dynamic works, the travelogue aspect partially, the rest is slightly monotonous light hearted cheese.

The Transporter

Purely a showcase for Statham. Very silly, but fun anyway.


Classic sci-fi plot, spoilt with masses of mainstream cheese.

Magic Mike
Magic Mike(2012)

When the lead role is side stage to his sidekick so much of the time, and the rest of the characters are one dimensional extras, why is he the only one we get any sort of a satisfying conclusion for?
Not much more than a chick-flick.

The Eye
The Eye(2008)

Creepy sound effects, otherwise rubbish

Easy A
Easy A(2010)

Another updated, fun twist on the teen movie genre.

Route Irish
Route Irish(2010)

Not entirely believable characters, but probably more engaging than strict realism would be.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Sadly not the film version of David Lewis-Williams' book 'The Mind in the Cave' that I was hoping for. Some of its quirks are good, most not... at times annoyingly scripted for the US market; music when ambient sound would be better; endless footage of stalactites, stalagmites, & flowstone, all formed mostly after humans had long left the cave &, however beautiful they are, utterly irrelevant to the subject; frustratingly thin on informed insight from scientists & other experts. And so on. Maybe seeing it in its original 3D would help, but I seriously doubt it.


Sci-fi crime-noire animated graphic-novel. The story line was too dark for me & I didn't invest the effort it probably deserved.

I Melt with You

The film's so weak it makes the actually decent-at-times soundtrack feel like cheesy pop music. Forgettable.

Dark Days
Dark Days(2000)

Not just a good soundtrack. Hard hitting, but gentle & very non-manipulative documentary, & all the more remarkable after seeing the DVD extras too.

Land Mines: A Love Story

Sad, but very interesting & well made.

The Core
The Core(2003)

As bad as you'd expect, or perhaps hope for.

In Time
In Time(2011)

Sometimes simplistic, but not ridiculous, which puts it well into the better half of mainstream sci-fi.

Mysteries of Love

A good & thorough documentary - & 'thorough' is not a criticism.


Too many dark bits for the mainstream, too much schmaltz for cult, but not actually a lot of either. The stylised violence is a overdone occasionally, & the surrealism a bit kitsch, but it is some kind of classic. Don't worry that it doesn't know what it wants to be, it's well worth seeing.

In A Better World

Quite a mixed bag. Ticks all the boxes to win awards in the 'Arts' genre, but although often good, it's all too frequently a bit obvious.

Dogs in Space

An Aussie cult classic I was told to watch. I think you had to be there. It's like documentary film making at its most literal - there's plenty of interest, & a lot that's mundane too, but it doesn't have an involving story to hold it together. That's fine for genuine documentary, but a bit of a failing in a movie. Worth seeing if you were growing up in those days, or if you want a bit of background, but otherwise unremarkable.

Men in Black III

After the underwhelming sequel I was prepared for a train wreck this time around, but this is a welcome return to form. Starts off as though it's going to be all mindless action, but soon gets going well & satisfyingly turns out good all round. Not in the league of the first, but that was always going to be a tall order.

Men in Black II

Not actively awful, but a lazy cash-in re-hash of the formula.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Several funny moments, & often pretty, but the story progression is all too frequently forced.

Apollo 18
Apollo 18(2011)

A reasonable enough idea, but several attempts at making it scary are so ridiculous they instead just prevent you suspending disbelief. A few jumps, but nothing memorable at all.


I thought it was ok, but a bit rough.

Accidents Happen

Rather all over the place, but likable at times.

The Artist
The Artist(2011)

Clever, & very well done. Could be criticised for being a novelty film. Occasionally has you slightly mystified & pondering the benefits of a good script, as you wonder if you missed some subtlety. Nice, but only as a one off though.

The Rum Diary

If you're expecting Gonzo at its heights, this is not going to satisfy, but if you want to see what Hunter might have been just before Gonzo, this could be it. An easy going film, with the promise that something big might be about to happen. That it doesn't, for me, is not a disappointment - it's a great, & believable if not true prelude to Hunter's well deserved fame. It's thoroughly absorbing, & only seems to have got poor reviews because people demand the combination of Depp & Hunter produces a life changing epic, & nothing less. I hope in time it will be seen for what it is, not compared with what critics wanted.

Youth in Revolt

A slow starter, but soon makes up for that, and remarkably pulls no punches in pursuit of quirkiness. Hugely enjoyable & a definite classic.

Seven (Se7en)

Pitt's character is constantly irritating - you actually want things to end badly for him. The plot is full of holes, & it desperately wants to be some sort of genre movie. Yet, despite all this it remains at least a minor landmark.

Intolerable Cruelty

Premium cast, standard rom com. Clooney gurns it up like he wants to be Jim Carey at times. Zeta-Jones ticks along on cruise control. It all seems a bit cynical, but I suppose it's bread & butter work, & there's far worse made more often.

Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

Very watchable, but uninvolving. Feels like someone's daydream fantasy, & the subject of Diane Arbus seems irrelevant.

My Week with Marilyn

A bit light, but that works for the first-love theme, & probably helps with the darker side of Marilyn Monroe too, avoiding being too speculative or depressing.

Tower Heist
Tower Heist(2011)

Starts off quite polished, & much better than expected. Becomes a bit forced after a while, then settles into cheese & the jokes thin out. Finally does ok. The "Seems like there's a gauntlet..." joke is the highlight of the movie.

You Don't Know Jack

Tedious & irritating. It seems all a film needs to get top reviews is a big name & a worthy cause. You can't fault Al Pacino at all, but the film flails uncomfortably between documentary & drama.


Dumbfoundingly bad, as though written by a 7 year old boy playing war games with planes.

The Art of Getting By

A nostalgic homage to 80s teen flicks. Each time you think it's going to get too try-hard indie, another well delivered cheesy cliché saves the moment... or maybe I completely missed the point & it's actually a 'sophisticated' teen flick. Who cares? It's good & I enjoyed it.


Schmaltzy but a bit of fun too.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (The X Files 2)

Like it's been written by a very mixed-bag committee. A lot of dialogue is ropey beyond belief, whole scenes too. Sometimes you can see traces of a reasonable film, but they soon let you down again.

The Peacemaker

Very routine plot, but fast enough action.

Echelon Conspiracy

Fails utterly to live up to its potential, without being terrible either.

The X-Files - Fight the Future

The reveal of a key plot point is so badly scripted you're left confused. Every attempt to give it depth is muddled. Dialogue & action are both consistently poor. Watchable only out of hope.


I barely noticed the apparently infuriating shaky-cam - I just couldn't care enough to want to see any detail. Stifling apathy & despair is the best you can hope for. Pretentious, overblown, & really hard to believe you'll survive it.


Mired in 80s cheese, & too much like a TV musical at times, but not actively irritating. A lot of effort clearly went into it, but the story never grabs you, & the time capsule of the 80s that it is feels like they rounded up all the hum-drum bits that nostalgia can't really be bothered with now.

When Harry Met Sally

Considering its reputation, a surprisingly run of the mill rom-com.

Laws of Attraction

Big name actors in a formulaic & forgettably harmless rom-com.


Really just a mean teen-flick with the pretence of black comedy. So so.

American Beauty

Mildly uncomfortable viewing (& not in a good way) when it was released, now it makes me wonder if this really is seen as 'edgy' by a majority in the US, the protagonist's aberrant leanings are so bland. Well acted, lifting it at least slightly above average.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Starts off very annoying, with endless cinematic devices hammering in to us there's mental breakdown of some sort occurring. But it does sort of come together, just in a not entirely convincing & inevitably depressing way.

Spies Like Us

Some of the stuff that happens early on in training is really funny, but they're just not funny themselves, & it was difficult to sit through the middle at all.

The Neverending Story

Kids' stuff, but so, so much better than the majority of CGI rubbish churned out nowadays.


Pretty good, & probably even better if you're into baseball.

Young Adult
Young Adult(2011)

They almost nailed it. Charlize Theron plays the never-grew-up teenage cheerleader brilliantly, & Patton Oswalt is a great comic relief. At a guess, the only reason it isn't quite perfect is that they toned it down to widen the audience.


Not Bourne Identity meets Spy Kids, just a mindless summer teen-flick with peripubescent buff-boy & waif-girl. Decent enough on that level.


One of those films which disappoints despite being so much better than average. It avoided the hysteria you'd expect from the topic, & managed to be believable, interesting, & yet still well paced. But, it wasn't particularly exciting, & certainly wasn't anywhere near as tense as reviews led me to hope. A few minor things bugged me: at one point we learn the virus has a 30% mortality rate, but we never see anyone recover; the conspiracy theory character, while not unbelievable, was jarringly larger than life compared to everyone else; & finally, early on we're assaulted with one of those scenes with everyone talking over one another. I know this happens occasionally in real life, but it never translates well to the screen, coming over as very annoying & nothing more. I suspect they're a device calculated to get you on edge, primed for the rest of the movie - it's counterproductive!


It must be so frustrating making a movie that's actually good. This one is surprisingly good, but has several dumb script moments where intelligent characters suddenly say something completely moronic & illogical. Presumably these are additions forced on the movie to maintain the interest of some perceived audience of half-witted idiots.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Not such a good sequel. The humour's still there, but more rarely. The overdone action is even more laboured & drawn out, the detective work is even more superficial, & the villain just isn't interesting. All a bit generic. And then there's the Gypsy "jokes" - really not funny, no matter how you dress it up.

The Killing Fields

Pretty watchable, but patchy at times & not as substantial as you'd expect.


Excellent. Sort of nouveau-noir with a retro feel. Contains, briefly, man+kid cheese, dodgy car chase, & over the top violence with gore. But they don't spoil it. Some reviews have said it's stop-start, but I don't agree. It certainly is minimal, with intense bursts of action, but it holds your attention easily & is never boring.

The Debt
The Debt(2011)

Scrappy. Veers endlessly between good & lame. Leaves you wanting.


Good guy made to look bad. Over & over. Trite.

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory

Very average. Plenty of action.


Nice premise, poor plot, good in the details, & even the action's not bad.

The Inbetweeners

The cringe-humour moments are sometimes a bit too drawn out, & the story occasionally overstretched, but the laughs are good & it's a way better feature-length than most TV series tend to make.

Attack the Block

Kidulthood meets Shaun of the Dead. Works fairly well, but not a classic.


Refreshingly avoids the nonsensical over complicated yet simplistic plots of Hollywood, but is simple in its own way instead.

Beyond Borders

Jarringly clueless & painfully bad.

Monsters vs. Aliens

Rapid fire jokes, sometimes hitting the mark & giving a genuine laugh, but mostly missing - frequently badly.


Definitely one of the better Aussie classics, but a black comedy where the dark bitter side heavily outweighs the comic relief is a slight let down for me.

Con Air
Con Air(1997)

Some good action now & then, but too much ham-fisted scripting & too many dodgy plot devices.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Very much a documentary, but all the better for it. Interesting & often touching, its only real failing is the peculiar avoidance of the matter of drugs, as though the scene wasn't awash with them. This self-denial aside, a very good & enjoyable movie.


A mostly spot on nerd movie, with only the occasional joke falling flat.


I was surprised this wasn't as bad as it's made out to be. However, that's probably its biggest failing - the action & effects are better than b-grade, & they highlight the inadequacies in plot, story, characters, etc, depriving it of true b-movie status. If you're in to sci-fi it's perfectly watchable, even enjoyable, just don't expect an incredible twist & an awesome ending.

The Navigator

A mediaeval Ozploitation?!


Not very original, & far too dark to see what's going on much of the time, but could've been worse.


An hallucinatory meditation. It never descends too far into Wake In Fright territory, but nor is it the travelogue suggested by the liberal sprinkling of misplaced wildlife. Arty without being so abstract as to preclude story telling. Lots to think about as well as look at.

The Heartbreak Kid

Remarkably grown up. There's not many Australian 'classics' which turn out actually to be good, but this is one.

Mr. Nice
Mr. Nice(2011)

An all over the place mixed bag. Comprehensively fails to capture the spirit of the book, with some bizarre anti-drugs scenes thrown in to boot.

Not actually rubbish, & its biggest failing may have been to attempt to adapt the story to a film in the first place. You probably have to get caught up in the length & detail of the book to understand how utterly consuming the lifestyle he led was, & a film is just too short to portray that.

In the book, Howard Marks rises above both stoner culture & violence. At the same time the war on drugs, as so often elsewhere, is revealed like the emperor's new clothes. Sadly, not so the film, which is more of a light hearted romp aimed at the middle ground, with a traditional moral warning thrown in.

Those who haven't read the book will find the film forgettable, & those who have will be reminded how good it was, & be a bit disappointed with the film.

The Guard
The Guard(2011)

A great, intelligent, & mostly but not always dark, sense of humour. Feels gently paced yet moves along nicely. A few tiny, forgivable glitches are its only faults. So much more than the light hearted comedy it might be mistaken for.


Really rather good. Just a little light at times, but mostly spot on, & never off target. A big strong point is the way it avoids cringe-humour - each time you feel it coming, they wrong-foot you. Nice.

Planet of the Apes

Disappointing, dumbed down simplistic sci-fi for 8 year olds, much the same as Star Trek of the period. A good film, but such a frustrating reminder of how far behind literature film was & continues to be when it comes to sci-fi.

The Boys
The Boys(1998)

Uncomfortably dark.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Good, but hardly great, with plenty of silly & completely unrealistic plot devices, & over-anthropomorphising.


Above average B-movie Ausploitation horror.

The Edukators

Tense at times, but not always believable.

The Player
The Player(1992)

Vastly over rated. Full of in-jokes & cameos to spot, & not wrong about the vacuous side of Hollywood, but so inconsistent as to be unconvincing & even annoying at times. Yes, there's some good moments, but it lets itself down at so many other times, with plot, script, & characterisation looking like as many people had taken turns at those as there were headline actors in the line up!

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

Simon Pegg is the light comedy relief, & the other support are both very good at acting like they are even worse actors than Tom Cruise, but the movie's about action & they make a fair job of that.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

A bit sad, & awkward to watch, but sort of comes good in the end, though even then in a slightly uncomfortable way.


Refreshingly straightforward. Doesn't try to be scary, or even funny, just fun.

The Tunnel Movie

Cinema, DVD, TV, & free torrent all in a short space of time didn't leave me expecting much. It scared the life out of me! Very effective, if slightly too long. Fair enough it's nothing particularly new, but it is tidily done & isn't a gore-fest like much of current horror.

Our Generation

A protest documentary rather than a film, and really one for the activists. It does tell you a lot of new things (I didn't know racial discrimination laws had been suspended as part of the intervention), but falls down badly when it comes to optimism & practical ways forward.

Even when you're shown hope in the form of people teaching their kids skills their parents taught them, it turns out this is just a set-up to introduce the fact that promised funding is being withheld until land rights are signed over on 40 year leases to facilitate more mining on traditional lands.

Molly & Mobarak

Quite good, but struggles with its twin themes of young love & human rights. Ends on rather a dark note, with it looking like Mobarak will be sent back "home" rather than given residency. Luckily there were some Afghanis at the screening I went to, & they knew of him still being in Australia. That information doesn't seem to be findable online. Hopefully it's true.

Everything Must Go

Sun-drenched melancholia. A bit insubstantial, but easy going.

Bad Teacher
Bad Teacher(2011)

Brilliant! I saw a trailer for this a while back & thought it looked good, but when it came out on DVD reviews were poor, so it's taken me a while to see it.

It turns out that yes, it's a bad movie, with dodgy scripting, but Cameron Diaz is hilarious & makes every scene she's in great. Luckily she's in nearly every scene. Jason Segel is fantastic too. Between the two of them they completely make up for the underlying mediocrity.

All of the rest of the actors wobble between ouch, & just ok, & there's one black spot near the end when a joke referring to a really feral school uses racist shorthand, unless I'm missing some subtlety of American humour. Surely with the talent available on this budget they could have come up with a line which made the joke without making it racial.


Really good for what it is. Stitches together film & video of very variable quality & age without showing any rough edges at all. It takes a while to involve you, & though never doing anything to lose you, it doesn't draw you fully in either. You're left knowing the professional Senna's career well, but little more. It's probably better to do just one thing well, but in this case it wasn't quite enough to make a classic.

Captain America: The First Avenger

Very good, without any annoyances, but at the same time a bit empty. Kind of Boy's Own action with no reality - two dimensional the way comics so often are. It's like they perfected the super-hero movie formula but forgot to add life when they used it - Tommy Lee Jones excepted.

Brideshead Revisited

I couldn't bear the TV series & probably only ever saw two or three minutes of it, whereas this was quite watchable. At times it felt like it was a succession of prompts, for fans of the novel, or the aforementioned series, but it made enough sense to me.

TT3D Closer To The Edge

More interesting than expected, but not as immersive as I hoped. Unfortunately, the latter was probably due to the cinema I saw the film at projecting it in the wrong format, so several inches were cropped off the top & bottom, totally destroying many of the 3D scenes, particularly the forward-facing road racing ones. From the trailer it is clear they were filmed with the horizon just bobbing in & out of the top of the screen, whereas I was just looking down at the road, giving nothing more than an impression of speed - no idea what was approaching, & none of the benefits of 3D.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

A fun-enough take on comedy horror.


Doomed from the start. The book was a disappointing mix of sci-fi & psychology, & the film's a mediocre adaptation. Not awful, but not very satisfying either.

Enemy of the State

Good fun, even if it can't quite decide between being a techy sci-fi or an all-out action movie. One moment it's kind of convincing, the next so far beyond utterly preposterous that it'd be hilarious if it weren't so annoying. Will Smith's good, but the character of his wife's just irritating.

Super 8
Super 8(2011)

Really good fun, even if there are a few cheesy moments & one or two quite annoying ones. I guess this is for Americans the way Son of Rambow was for Brits. The latter took me straight back to the period, whereas Super 8 didn't make me nostalgic in the slightest & it was only the occasional prop which reminded me when it was set, though that not working doesn't matter at all.

Midnight in Paris

All the characters are like mini-Woody Allens, which means really annoying. Until the time travel. Then, while not entirely coming to life, the film becomes nicely enjoyable. Which I suppose is Woody Allen to me - I know he's very clever, but most of the time he makes films I don't like, with elements I do.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Quite good fun for such a by-the-numbers sequel.

The Circle (Dayereh)

Very well done, but hard viewing.

Fairweather Man

Fascinating & at times touching. Leaves you knowing a lot more about him, though not actually knowing the person. Possibly no one really did though.

X-Men: First Class

Run-of-the-mill action movie, pepped up a bit by the X-Men, but scattered liberally with cheesy schoolboy comic superhero lines.

Manufactured Landscapes

Beautiful cinematography, & doesn't put a foot wrong - the failings were more of omission. Ultimately very well worth watching, but slightly disappointing - probably partly because I was already familiar with many of the images & didn't learn much more, perhaps because it was trying to be so neutral about the issues documented. Also, the glimpses of Burtynsky's method of working left me wanting to see more - both of his thought processes & the logistics.


A few dodgy lines & cheesy moments, & the mix of magic & sci-fi didn't always work, but over all, pretty good fun.

Interview with the Vampire

A bit wooden & two dimensional.


The violence is a bit over the top at times, the story is inconsistent, & the script is appalling, like a bad 70s TV cop show reject. The rest is alright.

Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!

Heaps of great moments from loads of almost completely ignored classics, along with interesting background context & 'the making of' type stuff. Lots of fun!

The Cave of the Yellow Dog (Die Hohle des gelben Hundes)

Slightly corny, slow moving film set in idyllic surrounds. No doubt romanticising their lifestyle, it is nice escapism, in the vein of To Be & To Have, or Not One Less.

The Goddess of 1967

Sometimes disjointed, & not everything works, but this mildly quirky film does manage to keep you watching.

Gay Sex in the 70s

Lots of interviews & good photos, some footage. Very much a documentary, but really interesting & not sensationalised at all.

Source Code
Source Code(2011)

Pretty good idea but annoyingly dumbed down at times.

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Starts out as a dog's breakfast of a musical, but steadily turns into something pretty good.

Main Street
Main Street(2011)

Feels like it's building up to something, but you can't see how it will get there, & it never does. The whole movie is stifling. Is this some sort of sentimentality about life in a small town in the American deep south?

High Plains Invaders (Alien Attack)(Alien Western)

Better than average dialogue, but otherwise a straightforward B-movie.

Barney's Version

Some touching lines, but it's all over the place, & self-congratulatory too. Still watchable, but nothing like as good as reviews suggest.

Battle: Los Angeles

Too soapy at the start, & over doing the shaky-cam all the way through, it succeeds as an action movie quite well, but misses badly when it comes to plot & dialogue.


Could be better, but still pretty funny at times, & never terrible.

Pineapple Express

Wildly up & down, hit & miss stoner humour. Sometimes spot-on & hilarious, others irritating & overdone.

The King's Speech

Simple & rather good. Pretends to give an insight into the king's world of privilege & burden, both nonsensical, & although you can't really empathise, at least you're not left cringing either.

Griff the Invisible

Nice but a bit insubstantial, & heavy on the melancholia too. Tries to be quirky without going so far as to alienate anyone at all in the audience, which isn't really far enough.


What a disappointment. A few chuckles early on, but never gets going, seemingly content to rest on its better than average animation. The rest of the world, who all seem to like this, must have lowered their standards due to the endless rubbish Disney churn out. Like the mediocrity of Finding Nemo & Cars, people see decent CGI & think they must be as good as Toy Story. Well they're not.

Another Year
Another Year(2010)

A bit loose, & rather heavier on the misery than Happy Go Lucky, but it's hard to tell if he just slipped back into his old ways a little, or if he's actively trying to drag new found fans back down under the grey surface of his past, gloomy haunts.
Not actually full-on depressing though, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, for now.

Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?

Interesting but not convincing. She seems mainly to want the art world to say they're sorry & that she's right. The experts we're presented with, or at least the movie, don't make a good case either way.

Death Race
Death Race(2008)

Very average. Looks like it was made to sell video games to wannabe rev-heads.

The Lincoln Lawyer

The story might not stand up to close scrutiny, but it's gripping & entertaining, with even the courtroom drama scenes being very good.


A few plot-holes & a bit corny sometimes, but tense, fast, & fun.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

There's a big blob of sentimentality towards the end, but it's still a pretty good finish to the series.


A bit of everything is chucked in, sometimes working well, often not. All over the place in general, repeatedly stumbling but never falling completely flat on its face. Rather flawed but fun as well.

The Mechanic
The Mechanic(2011)

Formulaic action done well. The constant plot explanations for the hard of understanding leave nothing to figure out, but without being intrusive & annoying. Enjoyable enough.

Men of Honor
Men of Honor(2000)

Great story, badly told.

Air Force One

What a bizarre quantity of positive reviews for such an underwhelming action movie.


Clever. I'm glad I didn't know anything about it before watching, but can't agree with all the controversy - it's a movie, & does what movies are supposed to do, really rather well. It'd be worth five stars if they hadn't anchored it so firmly in hipsterdom that it'll date quite quickly.

The Adventures of Barry McKenzie

Silly, childish, irreverent humour, playing to all the stereotypes. Not without laughs, & pretty much what you'd expect. Still watchable so probably a classic of its time & genre.

The Adjustment Bureau

Much sillier than it promised, but a simple idea really well done.

Where the Wild Things Are

Jonze gives it some spark & originality, Eggers makes it miserable & depressing.

The Chain Reaction (Nuclear Run)

A few nonsensical moments, but rises above the average ozploitation.

The Green Hornet

Very much a script-by-committee Hollywood formula comedy, but the laugh-out-loud to lame moment ratio is way better than usual, & it really is all very good fun. Just not for cult comic fans.


Hard viewing. Very good, good that it got made & good that it found an audience.

Long Weekend
Long Weekend(1979)

Cheesy ozploitation suspense. Better than average, but not my thing.

Winter's Bone

Bleak, atmospheric, epic, haunting... there are so many words that don't quite describe this film. It works as a story, extremely well, but it also looks good, without being stylised. And rather than dark it actually feels hopeful. Really good - see it, & before you find out anything about it.

Black Swan
Black Swan(2010)

So much torment & anguish for such a brief pay-off. All the visual cues & plot devices from the genre of "literature for people who enjoy suffering" are there, but none of the depth & detail. If that's your thing then this will pull all of your heart strings & you'll come out of it suitably harrowed. But for the rest of us, who worked this stuff through in our teenage-angst years, (other than depression) there's just frustration in the lack of characterisation. This may be intended, to show exactly how self-centred she is, but even her character isn't convincing, & the mother, artistic director, & arch-rival rôles are painfully thin, relying solely on the prompts fans of misery will already be familiar with. And the male dancers, without whom Swan Lake wouldn't have a story at all, may as well not exist.
All this doesn't mean it's a bad film, but it's just a cash machine to make money from fans of a genre, like so many horror movies. It doesn't advance the medium one bit, & certainly won't make anyone happier except those who profit from it.


There's actually nothing not to like about this light-hearted comedy. It funnily fills in the blanks in Watergate, while remaining true to the known facts. Unusual, & because of that probably under appreciated.


A fun & very enjoyable action movie.

Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3(2010)

Occasionally wooden dialogue from the humans, & one or two over drawn out scenes don't stop this being a very good end to the trilogy. The number of people I've heard saying it had them sobbing had put me off somewhat, but it wasn't anywhere near as overwrought as I feared, thankfully avoiding Disney style schmaltz. Plenty of fun & action

Toy Story 2
Toy Story 2(1999)

A remarkably good sequel, considering what a hard act it had to follow. That's not to say it's not a good film in its own right too - it is. Even better sometimes, not quite so good others. It doesn't leave you quite so amazed, but only because the first was so ground breaking.

Game of Death

Wooden acting, pulp script. Easy to follow though, but that just reveals how plain bad this is.

Four Lions
Four Lions(2010)

I really wasn't looking forward to seeing this, I thought it would be very depressing, although probably good too. I needn't have worried, it doesn't try to manipulate your emotions, just intelligently looks at a big issue without avoiding the hard bits, with excellent results. Neither side is spared the dark humour, & though mostly everyone is an idiot, anyone can be a good person at least for a moment.

The Tourist
The Tourist(2010)

Frivolous escapism which is remarkably easy to enjoy. A lot better than reviews suggest.


Subtle, well timed events keep this from drifting melancholia. Beautiful!

Made in Dagenham

Really good drama. Easily overcomes its predictability, doesn't get needlessly complicated, & stays believable. It doesn't try to convince you ordinary people can transform into heroic figures, rather, it shows them living real lives at the same time as trying to fight for something they think is right.

Bella (Beauty)

A nice mix of something & nothing. A little bit male-fantasy, & uncomfortable moralising undertones, but uplifting too.

The Second Coming

Moments of originality, but mostly the slightly smug, made for TV style you'd expect.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1

An almost endless procession of events only a dedicated fan could connect.

Rang De Basanti (Paint it Yellow)

Starts as an '80s style corny teen movie & ends as a violent revolutionary one. Melodramatic all the way. Odd.


A standard action movie plot, with a few very random & superficial historical references, lots of gory macho violence, & sub-titles. A b-grade vanity project. Not that it's terrible, it's quite well done, as a b-movie, but someone with his resources & clout should be making far better than this.

Tron Legacy
Tron Legacy(2010)

Very shiny, but weak & formulaic Disney.

Office Space
Office Space(1999)

Starts well, but fizzles out. Not unbearable, just a bit feeble.


The richness of the film didn't make up for the bleak outlook & obvious outcome.

District 9
District 9(2009)

Cleverly pulls off the trick of combining high adrenaline tension with a story full of holes! Not that the story is bad - quite the opposite. It's insightful without preaching, & has you thinking without being annoying. Dark but gripping, & remarkable in more than one way. Whether you're into sci-fi, action, or drama, don't miss it.

London River
London River(2011)

Sad but good. Gently underplayed look at believable people dealing with the day to day real issues of a terrible situation. Avoids getting sucked into an hysterical look at the big picture. Quite subtle, with only one minor misstep.

The Town
The Town(2010)

A bit depressing, but above average for the genre, & much better than you'd expect from the look of it.


What was that? There were people involved in making this who obviously know what they are doing, as some aspects are well done. So why didn't they say something?! The characters & script are painful. The jokes, & that's all this is about, range from cheesy at best, through plain bad most of the time, all the way to puerile homophobia.


Melancholic monster b-movie. I was expecting a me-too style District 9, but instead got the best of Cloverfield & The Host. It isn't perfect, but those flaws make it a proper b-movie. I also loved the director in the DVD extras - he made me want to give it 5 stars. Don't read about it, just see it, you'll like it all the more that way.

The Tree
The Tree(2011)

Nice & gentle.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Sometimes a bit simplistic, but must have been very significant in its day and has aged very well indeed


Darker than I usually like, but very well done. Characters draw you in, & it keeps you nervous right to the end. The suburban version of the inner city Adulthood.

The Other Guys

Surprisingly funny silliness, although the jokes are a bit thin on the ground for too long in the middle.

True Grit
True Grit(2010)

A very well done western, but lays it on a bit thick about how hard life was in those days.

The American
The American(2010)

Nice to see a not-so-action movie, but some odd choices in where to be minimal & where to give us details.

The Kids Are All Right

Very engaging, but insubstantial & quickly forgotten.


Great thriller badly let down by the sequel-set-up ending.

The Social Network

Good, but characters unconvincing partial studies.

Three Idiots
Three Idiots(2009)

Swung from funny to Forest Gump too often, but over all enjoyable.


Not as fun as it looked, but ended ok.


So dull I forgot to review it. Maybe it would get a reaction in fundamentalist USA, but it's not particularly funny, & it's certainly not a well argued case against religion. More a series of random jokes, most of which are about the same cult (I can't even remember which one it was he got hung up on).


Nice, but dated & unoriginal.


Very good, well worth watching, but something slightly missing, it doesn't quite suck you in completely.

The Experiment

Unpleasant amateur psychology.

500 Days of Summer

Some feeble plot progressions, & rather conventional, but nice over all.


More fun than I expected. A few weak bits, but really only because it's played purely for laughs.

Ocean's Thirteen

Better than 12, as if that was hard, but really feels like they're just going through the motions of making a sequel.

Somers Town
Somers Town(2009)

A quirky mixture of depressing & funny.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Funny. Better than expected, without being anything special.

Boiler Room
Boiler Room(2000)

Jumps over a few gaps less than convincingly, but still reasonable.

Death at a Funeral

Quite funny with a few dodgy bits.

Boogie Woogie

Feels like it's building up to something, but never really gets there.

10 Things I Hate About You

Totally mainstream, but slickly done, & doesn't take itself seriously.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Funny, but the deadpan style is very uninvolving, & the story a bit twee.

Girl With a Pearl Earring

Nice, if a bit plodding. At least it's not depressing.


Okay, with some good laughs, but needed more.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Fast moving, self aware, & great fun

Love and Other Catastrophes

"Nice". Maybe to blame for Secret Life of Us, but nice anyway.

Love Serenade

Quirky, a bit heavy on the cringe early on, but thoughtful at times too. Made in Robinvale!

City Island
City Island(2010)

A little unbelievable at times, but mostly holds up, & comes together nicely at the end.

Eagle vs Shark

Kind of nice at times, but mostly kind of annoying. This sort of humour really grinds you down & depresses after 10 minutes, never mind a full movie.

The Hurt Locker

Initially left me thinking "Is that it?", but actually only comes up short when compared with good books, which is saying a lot for a film.


Struggles with its credibility, particularly early on. Suffers from endless, pointless special effects & over the top action. Fair attempt over all but could've been great.


Better than the other Predator spin-offs, & not bad on the whole, but lets itself down badly a few times, particularly so when, for much of the movie, it falls into the dark-is-scary cliché. It isn't! Dark is frustrating & has you squinting at the screen wondering what's happening. Dark makes you think they're hiding failed special effects. Dark is dated.

The Hangover
The Hangover(2009)

Entertaining enough, with a few memorable moments, but not as funny as it might have been.

The Runaways
The Runaways(2010)

Not bad, just too tame & unexciting, maybe partly because Joan Jett was more pop than rock.

Alice in Wonderland

What an exercise in disappointing mediocrity. Tim Burton makes a depressing habit of underachieving - & yet he could be great! There are some good moments, but they're few & far between, & they certainly don't make up for the cringe invoking Disney bits. Mostly just ordinary.


Fun, but also a bit messed up, in a taking-Tarantino-type-cartoon-violence too far sort of a way.

The A-Team
The A-Team(2010)

Some laughs, some tedious drawn-out action sequences. Slightly better than average for this sort of thing.

Fish Tank
Fish Tank(2010)

Full on & confronting, but lots of subtlety too. Excellent.

Monsoon Wedding

Good. A lot goes on, without it feeling complicated.

Looking for Alibrandi

Pleasantly surprising. Intelligent & mostly fun.

Gettin' Square

Light hearted feel-good.


Silly but funny too. Very '70s, with all the non-pc to go with it - and it's Melbourne in the '80s!


Suspenseful by being annoying, with withheld information, meaningless clues, & random characterisation switches.

The Road
The Road(2009)

Good, but way too bleak & heavy to be enjoyable. Hit & miss, it wanders between funny & dissatisfying, eye opening & tedious.

Lost in La Mancha

Interesting, but comes over as something planned for a DVD extra & little more.

In the Loop
In the Loop(2009)

Funny, though all too believably nasty, all the way through.

The Nines
The Nines(2007)

Good, with a few weak bits.

Summer Coda
Summer Coda(2010)

Remarkably engaging, despite the odd weak scene & cliché. Gently paced, you feel the undercurrents of loss & longing in a nervous, hopeful way. And it's filmed around Mildura!

Away We Go
Away We Go(2009)

Nice, but a privileged world not easy to empathise with.

The History Boys

Feels a bit like a play on stage, rather than a movie, though that's not a bad thing is this case. More performance than drama, but that failing does make it easier to consider the issues for yourself. It's probably not as clever as it seemed, but for me it hardly puts a foot wrong.

Blue Gold: World Water Wars

Enlightening & depressing at the same time.

The Dukes of Hazzard

Not actually a disaster, but tries hard.


A few weak spots but keeps you thinking & interested.

London to Brighton

Grim, dark, but not without humour.

Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky and the Media

A slowly forming collage of Chomsky & his message. Compelling, revealing, & more.

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism

Patchy, but disturbing & all too believable portrait of media power.


A dark, dystopian film that spends too long getting going, & then doesn't pay you back for all your patience. Flat, like the comic it should have stayed in until someone with vision really brought it to life. This doesn't mean it's terrible, it's actually one of the better comic book movies, but definitely a disappointment.


A bit "me too" - Powaqqatsi & Microcosmos were more original. Still nice though.

Fire and Ice
Fire and Ice(1983)

A good antidote to the similar styled mainstream TV cartoons of the day, but hardly a masterpiece.

Wake in Fright

Cult, yes. One of Australia's best, not so sure. It's very much in the vein of many "classic" American movies, but a lot more in your face - pretty hard to watch at times. Aussie critics have jumped on this re-release praising it almost as an outback documentary, as though taking the chance to reverse the panning it received at home first time around whilst achieving critical acclaim overseas. Revenge of the cultural cringe indeed. Life in the bush wasn't all like this - it's still just a movie!


A great, funny short that doesn't take ANY of its characters seriously.


Good & solid, but left me wanting something.

Auto Focus
Auto Focus(2002)

Not bad but it felt as though his life was cleaned up, to make it only a little different to the "respectable" norm.

Look Both Ways

Sad vs. happy, rather than just the usual depressing Aussie movie - maybe this is what so many of them are actually trying to achieve. Just a shame they mostly miss.

Get Carter
Get Carter(1971)

Film noir + '70s British machismo. Good stuff.


Better than great, & feel-good too!

Russian Dolls (Les Poupées Russes)

A good sequel, probably a bit better than the first one. Imperfect, but not annoyingly so.

Out of Sight
Out of Sight(1998)

Good fun but nothing memorable. Notable because there's so much dross released, which makes this far better than average.

Storm Boy
Storm Boy(1976)

Okay, but disappointing considering it's supposed to be an Aussie classic.

Exit Through The Gift Shop

Ambiguous but fun, & quite Banksy. He says stuff that others have said before, but manages to make you think about it again.

Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten

Paints a great picture. Very nicely done.

The Collective

The classic mountain biking flick that woke up the whole genre.

Bus 174 (Ônibus 174)

Good social documentary.

Bondi Tsunami

Road trip. Head trip. Classic.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Possibly the ultimate teen movie.

Black Sheep
Black Sheep(2006)

A bit formulaic but enjoyable all the same.

A Sunday in Hell (En Forårsdag i Helvede)

Melancholic rather than exciting, but enjoyable anyway.


Funny. Wanders a bit & occasionally unbelievable, but mostly surprisingly real.

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Much better than you'd expect from something probably only funded to cash in on Harry Potter.

Jules and Jim

Poignant, yet nice.

Naked Lunch
Naked Lunch(1991)

Very darkly funny. Relates to the book well, & stands on its own too. Surprisingly good film.

I'm Not There

Slowly draws you past the pretence & affected dialogue, but never fully beneath the stylised veneer. Wants to be myth or fairytale but doesn't consistently succeed.


Nothing special, but still fun. The cover, different & even worse than the one shown here, had that "straight to DVD" look about it, so I wasn't expecting much. Could've been good though.


There's a story there, but they can hardly take credit for that. Over all, somehow a bit feeble, but at least they didn't make something terrible.


Mostly well paced, if a little hackneyed at times, but let down badly by a rape-like sex scene. No build up to the end either - it's as though the tape just ran out.

National Treasure

Not even as good as The Librarian. Fills time, but that's all.

Sex and the City

Slickly written, but the materialism is beyond uninteresting, & the friendship is just more of the TV show. And that's all there is. For fans only.

The Dark Knight

A bit muddled, but a GREAT action movie.

Get Him to the Greek

Building on Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Russell Brand is given a lead. His surreal humour is in evidence all the way, but again without alienating people. Highly funny!

Cannibal Holocaust

Nasty exploitation, offering just a single scene to support the supposed social commentary documentary angle. The rest is endless diary shots of deeply unpleasant racism, violence & cruelty. It wasn't necessary to make this to demonstrate movie makers can be corrupt & exploitative, & it shouldn't have been made. Beyond its controversy, notable only for being an early pseudo-documentary.

Tank Girl
Tank Girl(1995)

Neat, commercially packaged teen rebellion.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

A second viewing before going to Broken Hill & Silverton reminded me it's still a classic Ausploitation movie. Same score though.

Cidade de Deus (City of God)

A few bits don't work, but mostly consistently good.

Synecdoche, New York

Tells us our world in all its elaborate detail, even rare glimpses of almost-happiness, is built of gloom. Clever but too dark.


More hopeless than Kidulthood nearly all the way through, otherwise similar but updated, & ending with a hint of hope.

Iron Man
Iron Man(2008)

A better than average superhero movie, but that's not saying as much as it might.

The Safety of Objects

Somehow like a better than average but ordinary movie, just with the sugar coating removed.

District B13 (Banlieue 13)

Nicely stylised, but some jarring plot devices.


Well played psychological drama doesn't make for brilliant by itself. No surprises.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

First time I walked out & gave it 2*. This time I sat through it. Not all cloying, but nothing special.

The Blue Butterfly

An interesting story, but told in a very "made for TV" way.

Birthday Boy
Birthday Boy(2004)

Poignant, but feels at times like an exercise of the animator's art.

I Am Legend
I Am Legend(2007)

Why spend so much on a big name actor & special effects, & then re-hash a well worn story, using mostly clichés, without paying anyone at all to check the result holds together even loosely?

The Constant Gardener

Good, but spolit for me by being a deliberately darkened guilt trip instead of an excellent thriller.


Probably as good as The Collective, but that was groundbreaking, so has to get a higher score.

The Flying Scotsman

Quite matter of fact & nicely underplayed, avoiding the melodrama so many portrayals of depression resort to.

I Am A Sex Addict

Very confessional, very believable. Not hilarious, but still funny.

Bran Nue Dae
Bran Nue Dae(2010)

Good fun, if slightly fluffy. Enjoyable, but hopefully better to come.

Kill Me Later

Like one of those $2 movies in a bargain bin.

The Darjeeling Limited

A carefully & completely constructed tableaux, & a simplified, sterilised version of India. A bit "nice", & overall rather thin.

Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger

Likeable despite trying too hard. Some of the quirky bits are funny, some are forced & fall flat, but at least they're not terrible.