Steve Kidd's Review Pages

Films released in 2015

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
Mark: 2.5
Watched: Mon 16 November 2015
Director: Gregory Plotkin

This is just so not my cup of tea, I was reluctant to mark it any lower, as it wasn't like it upset me, it just ahs that feel of the Benny Hill show, or Porno, like you've seen it alll before and five minutes is enough. Just another variation on 'boo' I didn't feel anything revelationary coming on so I quit it. Not that I don't like horrors, for instance Unfriended was cool, it's just that there is only so much you can do with them, and this did just that!!

Hotel Transylvania 2
Mark: 2.8
Watched: Mon 16 November 2015

Starring: Adam Sandler with Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, Mel Brooks, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

Like being forced to watch poor kids TV, albeit with excellent pictures, but just hackneyed carachters, and predictable "We love you only if you fit in despite us telling you we love you if you don't" platitude sodden story.

Ricki and the Flash
Mark: 3
Watched: Wed 9 September 2015

Starring: Meryl Streep with Kevin Kline
Director: Jonathan Demme

Ewwww. Ewww ewww ewwww ewwww ewwwwwww. Right from the clumsily played, overly produced, sycophantically filmed, gratingly saddening opening nanosecond of the first chord of American Girl the countdown clock had started. I don't know if it was meant to be ironic, but if it was, the irony went on and on. I think I managed about 10 minutes, and after the most tortuous day at the pictures ( The Visit and the only just passable No Escape ) I had had enough and ran out screaming. Look, I don't personally hate Meryl Streep, (She was fucking fantastic in her previous film, Into The Woods ), but her roles are eminently detestable sometimes ( Out Of Africa for instance, and today, for me, she sucked balls. Not the clean shaven, perfectly symmetrical, pompadoured testicles of some young, chiselled and freakishly hygienic Norwegian demigod, ... Oh no, These were disgustingly hairy and diseased Syrian camel balls. Ewwww.

The Good Dinosaur
Mark: 3.6
Watched: Mon 7 December 2015

Starring: Raymond Ochoa with Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin, Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, John Ratzenburger
Director: Peter Sohn

Boo! Not boo hate the makers, boo sad, in that this, like Hotel Trasylvania 2, just doesn't seem to be anything more than a colourful screen of what adults think kids would like. Don't get me wrong, kids like MacDonalds, and those beefburgers can provide a quick fix, but like a MacDonalds, the pictures are better than what you actually get shoved through your car window with an "enjoy your meal" from somebody who probably hasn't thought about what they are actually saying. If you are going to have such spectacular rendering, why spoil it with a lead carachter that visually seems about as complex as Scooby Doo? Why even a dinosaur? Unlike Inside Out I actually felt a little insulted by the science, I mean it could have been The Good Dog or any combination of anthromorphic carachters and it would not have made a ha'porth of difference. Patronising, and completely unsatisfying. Tell me how it ended.

Mad Max: Fury Road
Mark: 4
Watched: Wed 3 June 2015

Starring: Tom Hardy with Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz
Director: George Miller

I am confident that many people will enjoy this more than I did. Why have I given this a four, compared to San Andreas and its seven?

Fundamentally it is well filmed, and well acted, but you could really divide the film up into 6 minute segments, shuffle them and it would not be that different. It is 2 hours of vehicles in a petrol poor society going off at random tangents and getting smashed up whilst the protagonists look 'ard say very little and think even less. Save your money and instead of going to watch this film, watch the cam on Town End Junction, Pontefract for more or less the same narrative but without the mental guitarist and his whammy bar flame -thrower.

Poltergeist (2015)
Mark: 4
Watched: Fri 29 May 2015

Starring: Sam Rockwell with Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris, Jane Adams
Director: Gil Kenan

Not that I am anti-horror movie, it's just that it needs something more than this film gave to satisfy me, at least. The first part of the film was reasonably engaging, with some genuine “boo” moments, but sometime approaching the door which said “Paranormal department” It became a bit of an eye roller. If Sam Rockwell had been meant to play a regular dad he wouldn't have been Sam Rockwell, and one could not help thinking if his Seven Psycopaths or Billy the Kid going to burst out. I was contemplating leaving the film, and writing this, I'm glad I didn't, as in the end scene I think I have witnessed the most curiously naff wrap of all time, in terms of the family's temper whilst driving away, like a closing credits from Police Squad

Mark: 4.5
Watched: Fri 11 September 2015

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix with Emma Stone
Director: Woody Allen

This could have been even more disappointing if I had know it was Woody Allen who wrote and directed it. It was, pretentious, unbelievable at the basest of levels, and quite frankly annoying to the extent that it slid from a 6 to a 4.5 by the time I left. The dialogue was something like this... " Blah blah blah the women you have shared experiences with" " The women I have slept with" At that moment I started thinking about leaving, the thing is I know little about Kierkegaard and Sartre and Heidegger, but I do know that being blunt in the face of a euphemism by replacing it with another one is just lame.

Can I describe the lamest dinner part ever? Your daughter cheats on her decent boyfriend, repeatedly lying to him, and ends up with the new lecturer who is twice her age and an alcoholic, so a week later you invite him to dinner and treat him like an old friend. That's not all. You then start talking about the death of a judge, then consider the hypothesis that it was a murder, Then more or less boil it down to how it was done. Oh COME ON!!!

Mark: 4.5
Watched: Thu 15 October 2015

Starring: Michael Fassbender with Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, Jack Reynor, Elizabeth Debicki, David Thewlis
Director: Justin Kurzel

"There is not, in my memory, a single minute of five seasons of Game of Thrones, which is less exciting than any moment from this film. There is not, in my memory, a single word or picture in the book Where's Spot?, which is less exciting than any dialogue or frame from this film.

I am open to persuasion, but COME ON, I left with half an hour to go. Let me quote from a review on IMDB.

visually impressive, intelligently adapted, atmospheric version of a very famous play. Michael Fassbender is stunning in the title role. What an actor he is! Brutal and sensitive, cruel and caressing, he handles the verse effortlessly, the fights viciously, and he radiates a huge wattage of charisma.

The thing is, I agree, but if you want visually impressive just go to Scotland, if you want intelligence read Richard Dawkins, If you want atmosphere turn a smoke machine on. etc etc etc. Personally I like a story, and this one was hard to follow. Please, tell me why I am wrong, but I bet yer bottom dollar when it comes to the critics the King will have a splendid new coat on."

The Visit
Mark: 4.5
Watched: Wed 9 September 2015

Starring: Ed Oxenbould with Kathryn Hahn
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Another two hours waiting for someone to say "Boo!" In it's favour the lad was terrific, and there were some jumps during it but please COME ON!! nobody in any universe would be as stupid as these peoples because their stupid ancestors would have stupided themselves out of the gene pool eons ago. M. Night Shyamalan gets worse, I mean, Sixth Sense = Awesome, Signs = mmm, The Happening = "Amy Adams dodged a bullet", and now this. Didn't watch the last 10 minutes, it's two hours I'll never get back, so let's be positive an imagine that as 600 seconds profit?

The Ridiculous 6
Mark: 4.8
Watched: Tue 22 December 2015

Starring: Adam Sandler with Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Luke Wilson, Nick Nolte, Danny Trejo, Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi
Director: Frank Coraci

I felt, after 30 minutes, that this film was not taking me anywhere, so I abandoned it in favour of Lilyhammer. The fact is, there is so much to watch nowadays that one can afford to be picky, and sure enough, I left this derivative and slightly cringworthy film in favour of something totally immersive. Result! Is it a stellar cast, or is it just Keith Lemmon, The Movie for the Saturday Night Live cast? (I think so). It wasn't the worst thing I've seen this year by any stretch, but once they got to number 3 and the retarded kid I just felt that the best bits of this film have been done a million times before, and the worst bits had me looking for the remote.

Watch Blazing Saddles or Evil Roy Slade instead

Mark: 5.5
Watched: Thu 12 November 2015

Starring: Bradley Cooper with Sienna Miller, Omar Sy, Daniel Brühl, Matthew Rhys, Alicia Vikander, Uma Thurman and Emma Thompson
Director: John Wells

This is the first film I have left early which I have rated more than 5. The thing is, it was nice looking, super cast, but it really isn't my cup of tea, like Southpaw for cooks, it just didn't look like it was ever going to be anything more than a comeback story with lots of pictures of pieces of lettuce which Bradley Cooper had jizzed on. What nailed the walk out (apart from the Top House Quiz) was a meeting in a Burger King (after said shop had featured very obviously in a previous scene) and Cooper delivering a monologue about how the food there was somehow like French traditional food. It was an insult to the viewers intelligence. If you want Bradley Cooper watch Silver Linings Playbook. If you want foodie, I found Chef far more entertaining. And sports stories are just so much more... manly?

Jupiter Ascending
Mark: 5.5
Watched: Mon 9 February 2015

Starring: Mila Kunis with Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw,
Directors: Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski

I don't like religion. It seems obvious to me that it is absolute cockameeme bullshit, and that in any species that develops the level of intelligence that we have it is an advantage to one's genes (to believe in a unseen deity). I'm glad this film came along, as although not conclusive proof of my neutrality, I could not help but compare this to Exodus, Gods and Kings and Noah, and thinking they are much of a muchness, full of bangs crashes and hoards, but thin on narrative and an engaging population. That is, I didn't diss the biblical epics because of the God factor, they were just, plain, not brilliant. As was this. Channing Tatum will not win an Oscar for this.

Mark: 6
Watched: Mon 14 September 2015

Starring: Adrian Grenier with Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven
Director: Doug Ellin

If you liked American Pie and have grown up two decades, you will love this. I didn't hate it, I thought it was a little ostentatious, somewhat amusing, but not particularly compelling, watching the second half a day or two after the first, as one might a TV program to fill in 45 minutes before you go to bed. Look, I'm NOT dissing it, I'm just spoilt (having just watched Machete ).

Hitman; Agent 47
Mark: 6
Watched: Sun 6 September 2015

Starring: Rupert Friend with Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann,
Director: Aleksander Bach

Did I enjoy 50 shades more than this? Yes I did. I am looking back on it quite fondly, and a 6 seems a bit low, but I am not allowed to change it. I think it is the Last Man Standing indestructability of the protagonists which detracts from the plot. I mean, you are not left thinking that a piano is going to fall on them. Poor old Mance Raider :(

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Mark: 6
Watched: Thu 1 October 2015

Starring: Dylan O'Brien with Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Rosa Salazar, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen
Director: Wes Ball

If you said to me "Tell us what Maze Runner 1 and 2 are about" I don't think I could talk for more than 30 seconds. In it's defence, I suspect there may be a complexity which has by-passed me, but somebody will have to bail me out if that is the case. This second instalment left me thinking I will watch the third for the sake of completion, whilst Mockingjay has left me really looking forward to the last part of Hunger Games. There's the rub.

No Escape
Mark: 6
Watched: Wed 9 September 2015

Starring: Owen Wilson with Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan
Director: John Erick Dowdle

"If Gravity was an inverted version of The Poseidon Adventure, then this was the lateral version. Spoiler alert: here is a good idea for a screenplay:

  • Everything seems hunky dory, but after about 10 minutes..
  • Whoops! What's happening??? something goes wrong
  • Pierce Brosnan is Ricky Gervais
  • Whoops! What's happening??? things get worse
  • Meanwhile our protagonist(s) navigate there way through ever increasing jeopardy, discovering depths to their resilience and ingenuity that they had never realised they possessed
  • Our protagonists, against all odds, reach safety by the skin of their teeth. Phew! That was close, aren't we all happy now?"

    Paper Towns
    Mark: 6
    Watched: Wed 2 September 2015

    Starring: Nat Wolf with Cara Delevingne
    Director: Jake Schreier

    Weirdly not totally convincing teen bro/romance which didn't quite hang together but was fairly easy on the eye. It would be interesting to hear the point of view of someone who likes this stuff.

    A Walk In The Woods
    Mark: 6
    Watched: Wed 30 September 2015

    Starring: Robert Redford with Nick Nolte, Kristen Schaal, Nick Offerman, Mary Steenburgen, Emma Thompson
    Director: Ken Kwapis

    So much more of a watch than Wild, this didn't suck half as much as it could have done. I suppose, when all's said and done, Billy Bryson is an entertaining bloke.

    Fifty Shades Of Grey
    Mark: 6.49
    Watched: Fri 13 February 2015

    Starring: Dakota Johnson with Jamie Dornan, Rita Ora
    Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson

    "I’ve seen plenty worse films and fallen asleep during better ones. I am pretty sure that this may suffer from Frozen syndrome, i.e. lots of people who haven’t seen it will tell you it’s rubbish. It differs from Frozen in that it is not a cinematic masterpiece with a clutch of absolutely wonderful songs, nevertheless it is not that bad. I wouldn’t want to pay 12 quid to watch it, but I’m glad I went on my Unlimited card, not just to assuage my curiosity, but I also I enjoyed it!

    SPOILER ALERT: The thing is, it works in its own scheme, and it is a story which has been told a million times before, in that a reasonably hot, but fundamentally unextraordinary, chick has relationship with a chap who just happens to be “The World’s most eligible bachelor”. It also happens that he apparently goes to work but doesn’t do anything when he is there. Of the two central characters I found that he was the most interesting one by miles, but I think that’s the way it was meant to be. Good choices on Thomas Hardy as book choice and I’m on Fire as background music, and yes, it does pose questions about stated and revealed preferences, and realistic ones at that. It is not ground breaking (fisting, both cunt and ass is off the agenda!), It is as clichéd as fuck at times, and some scenes had me reaching for the mobile to check my texts, nonetheless it is a reasonable story told reasonably well.

    The audience was very much of a specific demographic (i.e. not like me). The car park would have been a dangerous place after the packed house for the first showing streamed out at 2:45"

    Fantastic Four
    Mark: 6.5
    Watched: Tue 4 August 2015

    Starring: Miles Teller with Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson
    Director: Josh Trank

    Perhaps we have been spoiled by the last few Marvel outings. This never quite gets the humour of its immediate predecessors, it all seems a little 'make my monster grow'ish. Full of phrases like "His biometric scales are off the chart" the science is imaginative and the logic less than impeccable. This sounds like a diss piece, it is not, it is still worth a watch for free, I just wouldn't want to pay eight quid. This review is unsatisfactory. :(

    Mark: 6.5
    Watched: Thu 23 April 2015

    Starring: Jim Parsons with Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Steve Martin
    Director: Tim Johnson

    Where do I start? I mean, this was a lovely watch, not entirely my cup of tea, but I would love to take Grace to see it (my two year old niece) in two year's time. I enjoyed Rihanna's contribution, as Tip, the heroine, and soundtrack. O (the alien protagonist) would have been better without me thinking of Sheldon Cooper at his gayest all night. Loved some of the homages, I may be wrong but “A bit of a fixer upper” was a direct lift from Frozen, the musical motif was the six note riff from Tomorrow (from Annie ) and really, was there a nod to the Ultimate Dog Tease?

    Monsters; Dark Continent
    Mark: 6.5
    Watched: Tue 5 May 2015

    Starring: Johnny Harris
    Director: Tom Green

    This might just be a better film than I imagined. It was not the roaring, explosion filled, monster fest I anticipated, although it did not lack for monsters and roaring and explosions. It had the feel of American Sniper meets The Day After Tomorrow on 8 mile and, has left me wondering was it an anti-war film. I think it was. SPOILER ALERT: If you want monster action you WILL be disappointed. If a film makes you think about it afterwards, that may indicate that it has merits unrealised. Mmmm....

    I was going to say it had a lot of Godzilla about it and damn, Gareth Edwards was Executive Producer.

    I should have realised and articulated this prior to going to the discussions, but say you took every monster out and replaced them with, say, camels, it would have made no material difference to the film.

    Shaun The Sheep Movie
    Mark: 6.5
    Watched: Mon 9 February 2015
    Directors: Richard Starzak, Mark Burton

    I loved the backgrounds on this. It was just like the land of my life, Yorkshire, the dales, the buses, the walls, the roads, Leeds/Manchester, the shops, the people. If the story had been a quarter of the scenery this would have been a great film. As it turns out it was a pleasant enough watch, perhaps not quite what I would pay £8 for, at least not when Kingsman or The Interview were on next door, but still pleasant enough with the old Unlimited card

    Mark: 6.6
    Watched: Wed 30 December 2015

    Starring: Brie Larson with Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, William H. Macy.
    Director: Lenny Abrahamson

    Well, it held my attention. This film has very competent aspects, notably Brie Larson is remarkably convincing, illiciting incredulity and curiosity from the viewer, I do believe deliberately. Having said that, she needs to be convincing, as one does scratch one's head at her carachter's seemingly cheap submission to her situation. I think there me a better film than my enjoyment quotient may indicate, and for me at least, it certainly became a more compelling a watch proportionate to the time watched

    The Revenant
    Mark: 6.7
    Watched: Sat 26 December 2015

    Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio with Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter
    Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

    Unlike other films that are critically acclaimed that I dislike, this one feels quite different, in that if it walks away with a mountain of awards I would not be surprised in the least, specifically cinematography, actor and support were absolutely top notch. The thing is, it just didn't do it for me story-wise, a little bit like Gravity, it looked great but lacked the most important ingredient, an arc which kept me hooked in. Jake loved it. I can see that.

    SPOILER ALERT: Now if Di Caprio had been a true revenant, that might have been something. Was he???

    The Age of Adeline
    Mark: 7
    Watched: Fri 22 May 2015

    Starring: Blake Lively with Michiel Huisman, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn
    Director: Lee Toland Krieger

    Sitting writing about this and I want to mark it down, nevertheless I'll leave it at the 7 I gave it three quarters of the way through, in that it got much more interesting once Harrison Ford appeared on the screen half way through. It kept me awake, and the science was absolutely terrible. The best bit was Young Indiana Jones doing a great job of the accent. Surely did not like this more than The Lego Movie ?

    Mark: 7
    Watched: Wed 30 September 2015

    Starring: David Oyewolo with Kate Mara, Michael K Williams
    Director: Jerry Jameson

    I didn't like the God bits, but apart from that it was a reasonable story well delivered. I found the ambiguity of Oyewolo's carachter quite intresting, and I enjoy watching Omar's ascent up the billing, but yes, the post end end was a little "what?"

    Danny Collins
    Mark: 7
    Watched: Mon 1 June 2015

    Starring: Al Pacino with Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Plummer
    Director: Dan Fogelman

    So sue me when I go off on one here. John Lennon is overrated. This film has a soundtrack largely made up of post Beatles Lennon material, hell, I bought the albums, but the songs are just not great pop songs, more whingy folk, or nondescript rock. I'm not saying they are terrible, but John Lennon has never, since the Beatles, produced anything like as good as any amount of tracks from Band On The Run or Ram or My Brave Face, Live and Let Die, Mull Of Kintyre etc etc. If a fourteen year old kid went to his music teacher saying " sir, sir!! I've written this song.. " and gave him Imagine I am pretty sure it wouldn't end up in anybody's top thousand.

    In this film, the monkey on Danny Collins' back is a version of Sweet Caroline and his finale is a variation on... Imagine. So, what I am trying to say is, for a music film, the tunes simply do not carry the punch.

    Now.. having let rip on the score the rest of the film is a reasonable 100 minutes. Al Pacino is disarmingly charming, Annette Benning likewise easy on the eye, it is not totally unsatisfying. Wish it had been Judee Sill music though

    Question: What made John Lennon great?

    Answer: Paul McCartney

    Mark: 7
    Watched: Wed 23 September 2015

    Starring: Jason Clarke with Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, Jake Gyllenhaal.
    Director: Baltasar Kormákur

    I know I always compare films to Gravity, but it is a great benchmark, and fits the bill entirely here, in that we have a film that is very strong on the picture, and one can't complain about the actors. This edges it in that the scenery is as good or better, the story is a little more engaging, and it's kind of real life. It fails on some of the detail. Everest harder than K2? An Alpine Chough flying around at 18,000' ? Touching The Void set the benchmark for this kind of stuff at 4% of the budget

    Furious 7 aka Fast & Furious 7
    Mark: 7
    Watched: Thu 23 April 2015

    Starring: Vin Diesel with Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Ludacris Bridges, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham
    Director: James Wan

    A deep, thoughtful exploration of the existential conflict between the perceived nature of human existence and the reality of reality. An almost Derridesque thesis that dissects the relationships of humanity, focusing on the thought at not just the conscious and tangible, but the deep, primal level, casting the shadow of dichotomy onto our mores, our, loves, our lives.

    P.S. It does what is says on the packet, it's fast, it's furious, and if you like this kind of thing you will love this. Seriously, the ending is wonderful.

    Inherent Vice
    Mark: 7
    Watched: Thu 12 February 2015

    Starring: Joaquin Phoenix with Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Martin Short
    Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

    I am not qualified to review this film, as I was late for it and nodded off several times. I don't think that was the fault of the film, as everything was engaging about it, but just lack of attention on my part, and a reasonably complex thread was not conducive to true appreciation. I will watch it again and am sure I will love it! I enjoyed what I saw, with a cool cast and great dialogue.

    James Bond 24; Spectre
    Mark: 7
    Watched: Wed 28 October 2015

    Starring: Daniel Craig with Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes
    Director: Sam Mendes

    These are so, so, much better than most of the earlier films, but they seem more a collection of magnificent set pieces than a coherent story. I definitely reckon Christoph Waltz was underutilised, almost seeming to parody himself. He is more convincing in Big Eyes where, as always, he essentially plays the same part. Worth the watch , but on review, for all their magnificence and huge budgets, neither of the the two films I saw today, this and Pan, were more enjoyable than Locke, which was Tom Hardy sat in a car

    Jurassic World
    Mark: 7
    Watched: Thu 11 June 2015

    Starring: Chris Pratt with Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, B. D. Wong,, Irrfan Khan
    Director: Colin Trevorrow

    The burning question is, how does this film stack up against 1, 2 and 3? At a rough guess (memory fades) precedence would go 1 (outstanding and original), 2 (funny), 4 and 3. Although a pleasant enough watch it doesn't really bring anything new to the table (My favourite aspect was the, still brilliant, musical motifs). Perhaps I am becoming inured to action movies, but this is all that is. The kids are quite annoying (weren't they always?) The dinosaurs are only as impressive as those from over two decades ago, and the owners of the island are every bit just as stupid. I enjoyed the film, but it did not make my life more complete. My daughter is in love with Chris Pratt, so I'll give him a tick. He is definitely an improvement on Sam Neill.

    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
    Mark: 7
    Watched: Sun 6 September 2015

    Starring: Thomas Mann with Olivia Cooke
    Directors: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

    I thought it might be Fault In Our Stars y. It damn well was, what a terrible double header that would be. Having said that things generally worked in this film, Thomas Mann seemed like a young deadpan Bill Murray, and though quirky in the extreme, I felt generally more invested in it as it went along. I'm going to write this down now and see if I've said it already. Olivia Cooke is from Oldham! (No I haven't; she was in that horror film Ouija

    Mark: 7
    Watched: Wed 10 June 2015

    Starring: Sandra Bullock with Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
    Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin

    Sorry fans, but I never quite got on with Despicable Me (Russell Brand gets on my tits), Whatever, given my reticence, this turned out OK for me, with arguably the best animated rendering of real places that I can remember seeing since Shaun The Sheep, if not eva. It kind of has that family friendly irreverance that provides an edge, albiet not dangerously sharp, but if you are looking for mayhem in London, check out Paddington first

    Mission: Impossible 5: Rogue Nation
    Mark: 7
    Watched: Fri 31 July 2015

    Starring: Tom Cruise with Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin
    Director: Christopher McQuarrie

    This is actually a spoof of the series, Simon Pegg is exactly what you would expect, like a Chuckle Brother, despite which, this is a film that is quite a reasonable add to the watch list. Go and watch Spy, or especially Kingsman for a better version of this kind of thing, but don't write this off because of the excellence of them.

    San Andreas
    Mark: 7
    Watched: Fri 29 May 2015

    Starring: Dwayne Johnson with Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Art Parkinson, Paul Giamatti.
    Director: Brad Peyton

    OK, let's put this out there. This is no Being John Malkovich. I think you can just about guess what you are going to get when you get your ticket torn with this one, so you have a cast which read the script and look suitably excited/stressed/determined/moody and a story which could be described is a short sentence and a chief protagonist who's jaw dropping dereliction of duty is exceeded only by the spectacular special effects. And there is the redeeming factor. I would seriously consider this to be the most impressive quality I have seen for a film of this genre. I just might be persuaded to go back and watch it in 3d and/or Imax. Perhaps it caught me in a good mood, but it is one of those rare films which I consider well worth the watch just because of the picture itself. There, I've said it.

    's up for Art Parkison (Rickon Stark) who provides some half decent humour and steals most of his scenes

    Mark: 7
    Watched: Thu 1 October 2015

    Starring: Abbie Cornish with Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrell
    Director: Alfonso Poyart

    I was warned that the ending was flagged up miles before it happened. I missed it, consequently was engaged by a film that was visually very competent, a cast that I felt I knew on a personal level, and an original (at least for me), slightly, but engagingly, fantastical story arc that propelled me another two hours closer to my death, but pleasantly so! Hopkins was a slightly straighter version of Hannibal, Colin Farrell had a quite an amazing part, leaving you thinking, was he bad, or was he good? Well I liked it anyway

    Mark: 7
    Watched: Fri 31 July 2015

    Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal with Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris, Victor Ortiz, Curtis 50 Cent Jackson, Miguel Gomez, Oona Laurence, Rita Ora
    Director: Antoine Fuqua

    In the prices list for the 2015 Oscar, it will not win. Not to say it's not a well made film that tells an engaging tale, just that it will not win. If you had to describe an arc of a boxing film between sips of beer, you could quite easily have come out with this.

    Spooks: The Greater Good
    Mark: 7
    Watched: Thu 14 May 2015

    Starring: Kit Hartington with Peter Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Elyes Gabel, Tuppence Middleton
    Director: Bharat Nalluri

    John Snow is really making a name for himself. A reasonable watch, I enjoyed it, a notch above James Bond and a notch below John Le Carré in terms of the seriousness of the contents. Dare I say it seemed a little too PC, apart from the Arabs (who we know are all bad guys). Actually, when I think about it, the criminal mastermind had some good qualities.

    Mark: 7
    Watched: Fri 22 May 2015

    Starring: Britt Robertson with George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw
    Director: Brad Bird

    Sitting writing about this and I want to mark it up, nevertheless I'll leave it at the 7 I gave it three quarters of the way through, in that it was cram full of stunning scenes and action, and an absolutely brilliant speech from Hugh Laurie, when the girl looked up from designing cars at the end it kind of exposed it as the cop out it was. SPOILER ALERT, the film is based on the premise that if you are optimistic everything will be peachy. That is a complete non sequiteur

    Mark: 7
    Watched: Sat 2 May 2015

    Starring: Shelley Hennig
    Director: Levan Gabriadze

    SPOILER ALERT: five or six American teens get embroiled in spooky shit, but instead of running away ASAP, they get dragged in, with frightening consequences. The thing is with this it is very originally and cleverly done, and maintains the interest for the short running time of less than 90 minutes (Watch it, you will see what I mean). Good story, good cast, good concept, the most original horror film since Blair Witch

    Beasts Of No Nation
    Mark: 7.2
    Watched: Wed 6 May 2015

    Starring: Idris Elba with Abraham Attah
    Director: Cary Fukunaga

    "Please don't look at the 7.2 mark here as anything more than the enjoyment I got from this film. The fact is it was extraordinarily uncomfortable to watch, nevertheless I would not be shy about using the word 'brilliant' to describe it. I noticed that Idris Elba was a producer on this - is he a true artist?, because his performance was scarily breathtaking, and, coupled with a child performance I have never seen bettered, from Abraham Attah, this, almost documentary, of war in Africa is as thought provoking as a film can get. Can I say it was beautifully filmed? Can I say the sountrack complimented, not patronised. Can I say say gives insight and understanding into that people doing terrible things are not bad people?

    Here is the biggest ""Can I?"" Can I compare this to Mean Girls?

    SPOILER ALERT: The thing is, it IS the same story, that of assimilation of an individual by a group, who becomes corrupted, does terrible things and seeks redemption. The contrast of delivery could not be starker, and therin lies the dichotomy; to get a message across do we sweeten it, or punch it? I really don't know, my heart says punch, but my reviews say sweeten. Of course, I guess, both are valid, but which is effective? Perhaps niether. Sad face :("

    The Hunger Games: 3 Mockingjay Part 2
    Mark: 7.3
    Watched:Thu 26 November 2015

    Starring: Jennifer Lawrence with Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Natalie Dormer
    Director: Francis Lawrence

    How wierd is that. I've just ordered two Mockingjay badges and I like the films even more! Probably the most unimaginative thing I'll ever do in my life is compare this too Maze Runner 2, and it is unfair too, as this is a whole lot classier, with better carachters and a wider definition of story arc. Take some popcorn to get you through the Lord of The Ringsish last 10 minutes, but that is scant criticism for a film which, I am sure, will satisfy for the fan and constitutes a good watch for the completist (I fall into the latter bracket). How did they get all that stuff with Phillip Seymour Hoffman?

    Mark: 7.3
    Watched: Wed 28 October 2015

    Starring: Hugh Jackman with Levi Miller, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Amanda Seyfried, Nonso Anozie, Cara Delevingne
    Director: Joe Wright

    I like this less now than I did when I saw it. I expected worse, it could have been much better. In terms of imagination it was terrific, Rooney Mara sufficed, Hugh Jackman could not outhook Dustin Hoffman, the story was reasonable and imaginative, the cinematography was absolutely magnificent and I enjoyed it. The trouble is, Hook casts a long shadow over the Peter Panstory. I think it may have been set up for a sequel, as there were no Lost Boys, no Darling family, no Nana and no Rufio, Rufio, Ruf-ee-oooo. Singing Smells like the Teen Spirit? Moulin Rouge did it already.

    It has been set up to prequel Hook, as though Peter was just out of the age range to become Peter Banning in London, Julia pointed out that in Neverland he does not grow up. Call.

    Crimson Peak
    Mark: 7.4
    Watched: Thu 29 October 2015

    Starring: Mia Wasikowska with Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver
    Director: Guillermo del Toro

    Wow! This is pretty full on as Gothic horror/romance gets. It's shear, unashamed and absolutely relentless in its total embracing of the genre, and because of that, it can be forgiven many sins. Tom Hiddleston was absolutely perfect, the sets, especially the indoor ones were awesome, the horror was scary, all in all it was quite a spectacle. I would almost call it comedy horror. Don't expect any connection between the horror and the plot, but sit back and enjoy nevertheless. Jessica Chastain. Bad bitch!

    Child 44
    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Thu 23 April 2015

    Starring: Tom Hardy with Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, Charles Dance, Vincent Cassel
    Director: Daniel Espinosa

    Well I liked it, I really liked it. A somewhat confusing set of characters (I don't immediately recognise Tom Hardy) slowly build a tableau of deceit, loyalty, damnation and salvation in an intricate web of plots that actually leave me wanting a sequel to be made. Interesting from a historical viewpoint to, and let's face it, even Kenneth Brannagh does not convince me personally with a Russian accent. My first picture back with a Cineworld card, plus Meerkat Movies and my son Grom, it made me re-realise how much I love the cinema

    Divergent Series: Insurgent
    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Wed 29 April 2015

    Starring: Shailene Woodley with Theo James, Octavia Spencer, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet
    Director: Robert Schwentke

    Dare I say I like this better than Hunger Games ? Would Jennifer Lawrence be offended? It is very much of the same spirit, Dystopian future, haves and have nots, evil boss, friendship, treachery, kick ass heroine all very teen+ but this just edges it for me in the genre. I kind of enjoy watching Shailene Woodley, and the scenery seems just a tad more believable (still pretty unbelievable). They even have the plot device of total simulation to engineer exciting scenes. You disagree? That is totally cool by me, I am still really looking forward to Mockingjay 2, and The Hanging Tree is still the best song from 2014 movies. By a long chalk.

    The Drop
    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Sun 13 September 2015

    Starring: Tom Hardy with Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, James Frecheville
    Director: Michaël R. Roskam

    Probably a better film than my enjoyment quotient indicates (and I thoroughly enjoyed it). It was not the sets which held the eye here but a slew of terrific performances from each and every member of the cast, including the dog!). There was a bar, there were backlots, there were poorly lit rooms, and the odd street, but in a 12 Angry Men vein, this story lives off emotion, arc and ambiguity. Sorry if that sounds poncy, but it really deserves credit as an example of story telling for story telling's sake. There are many films I have marked higher, but I would feel less inclined to recommend. I know I'm behind the times, but after Legend (literally unbelievable) and this, I am finally 'getting' Tom Hardy. Shortly to join him on the A list of actors (as opposed to celebrities) is Matthias Schoenaerts, who I have seen play a Frenchman, an Englishman and a New Yorker with equal aplomb in three terrific films ( Far From The Madding Crowd, and this.

    It would be amiss of me not to mention James Gandolfini, who died after making this film. Lots of actors do lots of stuff well, but like Leslie Nielsen, James Gandolfini was special, in that he took an archetype character and set the benchmark for playing it. No person will ever, ever exceed the set of traits in such depth and balance as played by Gandolfini as Tony Soprano. Fear, humour, single mindedness, more fear, loyalty, family, ruthlessness, not suffering of fools, being a fool, command, begrudged admiration, genuine admiration and let's not forget fear again. When our Jake says he is the greatest TV character of all time, I cannot, at this moment, think of a good argument to contradict that plaudit.

    Ex Machina
    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Tue 3 February 2015

    Starring: Domhnall Gleeson with Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander
    Director: Alex Garland

    This kind of forms a trilogy with Her and Under The Skin, and like both those it is a thoughtful and believable interpretation of the " would a thing pretending to be a woman start behaving like a woman? ". I was fascinated by the characters, especially Amy, and the story was ... good. Yep, I'd recommend this to a film fan.

    P.S. Gorgeous soundtrack

    Far From The Madding Crowd
    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Sat 2 May 2015

    Starring: Carey Mulligan with Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple
    Director: Thomas Vinterberg

    "I'd like to take this opportunity to give a real big thank you to all the teachers at my school, along with The Joint Matriculation board, for putting me off Thomas Hardy for 30 years*. Considering I was an avid reader, independent thinker and blossoming socialist when I was 15, that must rank as a real mother fuckin' feather in your stupid arrogant, arse licking hats (whoa, have I got a chip on my shoulder or what?). But come on, Hardy was brilliant and only retired from writing because of critics who didn't understand him, then he is flavour of the month for everybody who has to be told why.

    *PS I was 15 when I was ordered to read the book, I had never even been wanked off by a chick and was three years off losing my cherry, so how the Earthly fuck did you expect me, as a person who had been bought up a catholic, ergo sex was something you didn't do, to begin to understand this?"

    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Fri 18 September 2015

    Starring: Paul Gascoigne with Gary Linekar, Jose Murhino, Wayne Rooney
    Director: Jane Preston

    A much more enjoyable film than I imagined it would be. If Paul Gascgoine is the best player in blah de blah, why did this documentary resort to showing the same goals several times over. It kind of increased my respect for him as a player a tad, but more as a man, in that this guy has had demons by the dozen to confront.

    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Fri 11 September 2015

    Starring: Tom Hardy with Emily Browning, Christopher Eccleston, Paul Bettany, Colin Morgan, David Thewlis, Tara Fitzgerald, Taron Egerton, Duffy
    Director: Brian Helgeland

    This was not a bad film at all; I expected less, but got a pretty riveting watch, with some uncomfortable humour, some insight into names I have known all my life, and timed my Subway Salad to perfection for the start of the film. Frankly, I am always pleased when the Studio Canal Logo opens up a film. This probably is not a spoiler alert but SPOILER ALERT. please do not read any further if you have not seen the film, then come back and tell me I am clueless. I never ever realised the both Krays were played by Tom Hardy. Fekkin' genius, I am so glad I did not pay much attention to the trailers and adverts, even though I did ponder why Tom Hardy was credited but the actor playing Ron wasn't. I thought it was Vic Reeves or somebody. One case in point where ignorance was bliss!

    The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Tue 1 September 2015

    Starring: Henry Clavill with Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Grant
    Director: Guy Ritchie

    2015 is turning into a vintage year for spy/spoof movies, with this delivering a fun reboot of what might have been one of my favourite programmes when I was a kid (I have been told to re-watch them).

    Arnie Hammer and Henry Clavill are kind of perfect in their parts, and, at last, a Hugh Grant role which doesn't annoy, but amuses completely. He has to get a recurring role in James Bond, in fact, feck it – this franchise has got some roll left in it. With hindsight it is just a vehicle for tried and tested clichés, but that is what makes it good, they work, and they are delivered with not just wit, but respect. If you like the idiom, watch this when you are in a good mood and I hope it will entertain

    The Martian
    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Wed 30 September 2015

    Starring: Matt Damon with Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor
    Director: Ridley Scott

    "Yep, a lot more fun than Interstellar but it's not Apollo 13

    I read that the science is good, but ... Ah, it's just a yarn, and with a Sub and coffee and biscuits and fruit and nut on it's release day with our Grom it was a nice place to be.

    P.s. I thought the film quality was terrible, like they had left all the backgrounds in 3d."

    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Wed 2 September 2015

    Starring: Adam Sandler with Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Brian Cox, Sean Bean, Dan Aykroyd, Daryl Hall, John Oates, Matt Frewer, Serena Williams
    Director: Chris Columbus

    This turned out better than I expected and kind of didn't flag much at all, Adam Sandler was Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage, I'm afraid to say, is far more convincing as Tyrion (at which he is genius). I feel, in retrospect like marking this up. Great solid comedy with an otherwise reasonable cast, and a lovely concept. No Mario :(. And it got critically pasted. Fuck 'em I really enjoyed it.

    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Thu 23 July 2015

    Starring: Ryan Reynolds with Natalie Martinez, Matthew Goode, Victor Garber, Derek Luke, Ben Kingsley.
    Director: Tarsem Singh

    I have a feeling this may have been an eight, but since I saw it I have been all topsy turvey. I walked in and there were loads of women in, and I did not know what to expect, so I thought it was going to be a romance.. eeewww! As it 'appened it was a well put together film around a fascinating premise, Ben Kingsley IS awesome and Ryan Reynolds, the object no doubt of the female attention kicked ass. Recommended for a home viewing at least. Oh, Tarsem Singh – I might have guessed

    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Sun 11 October 2015

    Starring: Emily Blunt with Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro, Daniel Kaluuya, Maximiliano Hernández, Victor Garber
    Director: Denis Villeneuve

    Emily Blunt caries off the feminine 'hero' perfectly. Like The Day After Tomorrow, her part is believable, even more so in this film during which her character displays not just toughness but she loses sass in favour of real vulnerability and you are rooting for her. The rest of the lead cast are ace, and the story works. The first half is better than the second, but it is still a good second half. Ahh, it's great that 2015 movies are back on track after a pretty dull September.

    Terminator 4: Genisys
    Mark: 7.5
    Watched: Tue 7 July 2015

    Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger with Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke,, Jai Courtney
    Director: Alan Taylor

    Liked it! I know it's heresy to say, but I like it more than the first one! All the cast are convincing, the delivery is spot on, and it has bought modern film making techniques with good effect into this classic franchise.

    Mark: 7.6
    Watched: Sun 11 October 2015

    Starring: Ethan Hawke with Emma Watson, David Dencik, David Thewlis
    Director: Alejandro Amenábar

    A good first half, a great second half, a superb true-life psychological thriller in which.... wait for it... Emma Watson nails it! Not only is the film a great watch in it's own right, it creates believable horror, and is the second film this year to provide real insight into the workings of the human mind (the first being, of course, Inside Out. What a pair!

    I'm glad this only gets 7.5% on Rotten Tomatoes. It kind of adds substance to my theory that people won't believe the resolution. Watch Compliance, and if you don't understand why am calling you a self deluding fuck, you are a self deluding fuck.

    Kill Your Friends
    Mark: 7.7
    Watched: Thu 12 November 2015

    Starring: Nicholas Hoult with James Corden, Craig Roberts, Joseph Mawle, Ed Skrein
    Director: Owen Harris

    You know, From the reviews I expected this to be a lot worse. It was actually very funny and quite intriguing, with an absolutely hatefull list of carachters and a very unpleasant view of London and the music industry. I can't give anything away, but listen and watch for Steven's reaction to the "You might as well" advice from Parker-Hall.

    Funnily disgusting.

    Mark: 7.8
    Watched: Sat 12 September 2015

    Starring: Sharlto Copley with Dev Patel, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman, Watkin Tudor Jones (Ninja), Yolandi Visser
    Director: Neill Blomkamp

    Well I loved it. I liked the theatrics, I loved the actors, the music was well 'ard, and I loved the way the characters played out. The most interesting aspect was the infantile anthormorpasization of the title character, how it is so easy to strike the right chords with a gullible person like me.

    Mark: 7.8
    Watched: Thu 11 June 2015

    Starring: Melissa McCarthy with Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Nargis Fakhri, Allison Janney, Jude Law.
    Director: Paul Feig

    Poor Melissa McCarthy! I really quite like her films, Tammy, St Vincent, and this are all quite excellent movies, but like Helen Shapiro going on a headlining tour with The Beatles as support, this funny and well made film has come out a few months after Kingsman and consequently loses in comparison to that masterpiece. So let's put that to bed and say, go and watch, it's a hoot, Jason Statham is hilarious, The cast are all engaging and witty and the story is good. Whatever your thoughts are about Miranda Hart, they will be amplified by this.

    Mark: 7.9
    Watched: Tue 29 December 2015

    Starring: Jennifer Lawrence with Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Diane Ladd, Édgar Ramírez
    Director: David O. Russell

    A solid watch of a film, with Jennifer Lawrence carrying one through the duller bits, and David O Russell delivering a film which was more frustrating than fullfilling. Julia said she wished it hadn't been based on a true story, and I am very much coming 'round to her way of thinking, as I can't help thinking, in retrospect that Joy was just a bit too good to be true (the person, not the film)

    Steve Jobs
    Mark: 7.9
    Watched: Wed 18 November 2015

    Starring: Michael Fassbender with Kate Winslet , Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Katherine Waterston, Michael Stuhlbarg, John Ortiz
    Director: Danny Boyle

    Good film? Damn straight its a good film, captivatingly and cleverly filmed with superb, really suberb, dialogue, fascinating and ambiguous characters, an eminetly listenable soundtrack of variety and precise timing, with Michael Fassbender putting in a bid for Oscar nomination (Though I have a feeling that Eddie Redmayne might do the double). It's a given that the tale is a good one, so add to this the biograpy and the company and this typifies what makes for a great evening at the flicks. Unlimited cards rock.

    Mark: 8
    Watched: Thu 23 July 2015

    Starring: Paul Rudd with Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip T.I. Harris, Wood Harris, Michael Douglas
    Director: Peyton Reed

    Well, could this be my favourite Marvel film so far? Paul Rudd is excellent, he doesn't cloy like Robert Downey or other Marvel heroes, the humour is – well humorous, the action is ace, the surprise high, I just thoroughly enjoyed it. Oh, and Edgar Wright. I might have guessed.

    Avengers: Age of Ultron
    Mark: 8
    Watched: Thu 23 April 2015

    Starring: Robert Downey Jr. with Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson, Stan Lee
    Director: Joss Wheldon

    Being senile and square, I am just getting the hang of who's who in the Marvel Universe, consequently I identified more with this instalment than all it's predecessors. It is a proper film, and I am sure that the vast majority of the pretty full house must have gone away well satisfied . SPOILER ALERT: The story was leaked prior to release (every Power Rangers episode), but hey! If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Awesome, awesome characters, fantastic special effects, hilarious dialogue (especially Thor), this film would be as good a reason as any to explain why one goes to the movies

    Get Hard
    Mark: 8
    Watched: Tue 28 April 2015

    Starring: Will Ferrell with Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, Edwina Findley, Craig T Nelson, T.I., John Mayer, Jimmy Fallon
    Director: Etan Cohen

    This seems weird, giving it an eight, because really an eight is pretty good loft to the boundary, and this seemed far too derivative to be given this high accolade, nevertheless, in terms of personal enjoyment I was giggling all the way through and Will Ferrell's genius carries any weaknesses.

    Somebody please tell me that the scriptwriters looked at Trading Places and thought “ We can't remake a film so perfect, so we will change a few cosmetic plot elements, leave loads of them in along with a couple of scenes, and not credit the original ”. The more I think about it the more blatant it becomes.

    Whatever, If you like Will Ferrell, you will like this, If you like the juxtaposition of a fundamentally good, but privileged, ergo deluded white guy with a sassy, street wise, struggling brother, you will like this. I am struggling to prevent myself from a retrospective downgrade, but don't. I liked this!!!

    The Gift
    Mark: 8
    Watched: Tue 11 August 2015

    Starring: Jason Bateman with Joel Edgerton, Rebecca Hall
    Director: Joel Edgeton

    Absolutely cracking movie, with loads of respect for Joel Edgerton, who, if there was an Oscar Triathlon for writing, directing and acting would win! A $5 million budget (compared with the 100s you normally get) has put a film up which delivers suspense and mystery but without resorting to the paranormal, and if the devices it uses are pre-loved, they were impeccably re-packaged and, at least to me, seemed fresh and good to go. There were lots of questions unanswered, curiosity was piqued to say the least about the past and futures of the cast, Rebecca Hall looks like Emily Blunt, and Jason Bateman took his Paul role to the next level, and would sit with honour on any list of acting award nominees come the end of the year. But Joel Edgerton – wow, the new Alfred Hitchcock! Roll on The Gif2

    A Little Chaos
    Mark: 8
    Watched: Thu 30 April 2015

    Starring: Kate Winslet with Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Helen McCrory, Matthias Schoenaerts, Steven Waddington, Pauline Moran
    Director: Alan Rickman

    "Goodness, there are some excellent films to watch. This film definitely scores high on the feel-good factor, not totally unlike Cinderella (2015), which I watched the day before, it forms a sumptuous collage coupled with a rockin' cast to provide something artistic and satisfying.

    An excellent film was taken to another level by the best score I have noticed since Grand Budapest Hotel (n.b. It was by a bloke called Peter Gregson, and it was his feature film debut. ONE TO WATCH (or listen too). Absolutely brilliant! Might be a good value bet for best score at the Oscars

    Stanley Tucci never fails, and Kate Winslett. Nearly two decades after Titanic and she is still hot, but... she goes into this monologue about a rose and its ageing and I thought “ man that wouldn't half be appropriate if it was self-referential ” (given that she was Rose in Titanic )"

    McFarland, USA
    Mark: 8
    Watched: Tue 29 September 2015

    Starring: Kevin Costner
    Director: Niki Caro

    There is no escaping the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It is a Disney sports rags to riches story, and it is done well enough to quickly slash away my cynicism and pull me along on an escapist reflection on David and Goliath in which Kevin Costner is likeable and the rest of the cast magnetic in a cool runnings kind of way. It's formlaic, but it's a formula that works. There is also some 'based upon a true story' about it, which adds to it's value

    Straight Outta Compton
    Mark: 8
    Watched: Tue 1 September 2015

    Starring: O'Shea Jackson Jr. with Corey Hawkins, Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr., Jason Mitchell, Paul Giamatti
    Director: F. Gary Gray

    "Super bit of film, in fact super lotta film, as it is almost two and a half hours; when the end credits dropped I was surprised then disappointed in that I was so thoroughly captivated by it that I didn't think the time was up and I want more! Paul Giamatti was the only cast member I knew, but of the rest, they were awesome. Great story, fantastic music, yes, it was produced by the subjects and cannot avoid a hagiographic aspect, but it works as a slab of entertainment and a contribution to the knowledge. As a film describing the African-American condition this is every bit as good as Selma and, for me, better than 12 Years. O'Shea Jackson, Jr. IS Ice T! "

    Mark: 8
    Watched: Thu 15 October 2015

    Starring: Carey Mulligan with Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson
    Director: Sarah Gavron

    This year's Pride. Altogether darker and much less fun, nevertheless a film where I was more interested how bad most people were than how good the protagonists were. I wonder if it makes a film more enjoyable if you really believe you would not be a total pussy in the same situation. Recommended for good story, good history, super acting, listen to the soundtrack, and not too much Meryl Streep.

    Mark: 8
    Watched: Wed 2 September 2015

    Starring: Amy Schumer with Bill Hader, LeBron James, Chris Evert, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, Daniel Radcliffe, Marrisa Tomie, John Cena, Matthew Broderick
    Director: Judd Apatow

    Wow! Surprised to enjoy a rom com as much as this, it actually rocks, hard and long, there were times a third of the way through when I was toying with 8.5 for this, it was that good. A host of cool cameos, If there was a girlie award for writing and acting, Amy Schumer would be the winner. She is super hot without being a model, the dialogue is dope and yes, music does make moments. Not as zany as Vacation, yet it's seeming blend of humour and intelligence are, at least to me, most appealing. Serendipity eh?

    Mark: 8
    Watched: Tue 1 September 2015

    Starring: Ed Helms with Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann, Chris Hemsworth, Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo
    Directors: John Francis Daley/Jonathan M Goldstein

    Literally a laugh-a-minute goof-fest, from start to finish, this, I discover, is a sequel, a re-make and a re-boot! I didn't have to be too self-conscious about laughing out loud as I was most definitely not alone. I was only slightly disappointed in that... Nah, that would be a spoiler alert, see if you can spot it. And yes.. (I'm thinking to myself) music does make moments. Excellent, so happy I saw it. I'm sorry that this is not a more coherent review, but it is a bonding road trip movie, and anything else would just give away the elements. I'm sure if you don't enjoy this at least a bit you can go and watch Metropolis or something, and ignore my reviews of American comedies in future.

    Woman In Gold
    Mark: 8
    Watched: Wed 6 May 2015

    Starring: Helen Mirren with Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes, Tatiana Maslany, Max Irons, Charles Dance, Elizabeth McGovern, Jonathan Pryce
    Director: Simon Curtis

    Very solid bout of enjoyment, I think I am now officially mainlining movies. I look at the crop of films on this first week in May of 2015 and realise that each of them, that I have seen brings something to the table. Helen Mirren will get a nod for best actress, the film might not, but I sat for two hours and was sucked in to the David & Goliath story. I do feel uncomfortable that the tale may sanctify the protagonists a tad, nevertheless, taken with a pinch of salt it is a stand-alone adventure which gave me a wide-a-wake Wednesday. Good quiz shit in it as well, with the art, music, history and geography of the piece.

    The picture is Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt.

    Mark: 8.4
    Watched: Sun 27 December 2015

    Starring: Mark Ruffalo with Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci
    Director: Tom McCarthy

    Unlike last year's Oscar favourite (Boyhood), I can fully understand why this is the lead contender for 2015. Not my favourite film of the year by several positions, nevertheless it is absolutely fascinating, and thoroughly engrossing. Not since Straight Outta Compton has the end of a film been so 'too soon' for me. Loads of the parts had me intrested in them, and philosophically it sits alongside Gentleman's Agreement as an insight into the human psyche when faced with a room full of elephants. Really, why don't people accept that films like this are a criticism of themselves, not everybody else?

    Mark: 8.5
    Watched: Mon 21 December 2015

    Starring: Amy Poehler with Tina Fey, John Cena, John Leguizamo
    Director: Jason Moore

    Ha! An absolute laugh a minute comedic home run, another for Jason Moore (who did Pitch Perfect and originated Avenue Q). There was one other bloke in a theatre filled with wimmin, and I think he and I might have laughed most. Amy Pohler nails this part so well, slightly awkward, really good hearted and such latent hilarity without cracking. I love her!

    Daddy's Home
    Mark: 8.6
    Watched: Wed 30 December 2015

    Starring: Will Ferrell with Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, Bobby Cannavale, John Cena
    Director: Sean Anders

    What is there not to enjoy about Will Ferrell getting bullied? When I say this film is formulaic, ergo predictable, I mean that as a compliment. There is little to no point in reviewing this film to fulfil the baramoter of watchability, 'cos you know , more or less, exactly what you will be getting. The cast more than competently dole out laugh after laugh and there is a happy ending - Sweet.

    This was, believe it or not, the first time I have ever been to a movie and it was 'sold out'. Top Tip: They always leave 4 seats free for some reason in a middle row, so buy tickets to see the film next door and 'lose your way'

    The Walk
    Mark: 8.8
    Watched: Sun 11 October 2015

    Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt with Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz, Steve Valentine
    Director: Robert Zemeckis

    How can they possibly make a feature length film about a bloody tight-rope walk? I mean next thing you know they'll be filming a dozen cantankerous old bastards in a room to argue with each other for 90 minutes over some punk who is bang to rights for knifing his dad

    Cinderella (2015)
    Mark: 9
    Watched: Wed 29 April 2015

    Starring: Lily James with Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Nonso Anozie, Derek Jacobi, Stellan Skarsgård
    Director: Kenneth Brannagh

    For months I had this at a ten, I even went to see it again to check, and confirm, yet throughout 2015 it has nagged me. Now the end of the year is upon us I have shaved a point off and I realise why - it's because I enjoyed, for instance, Kingsman and Bridge Of Spies more. Like The Force AwakensI am retrospectively reducing the mark, and I suppose it is for the same reason, and that is, although both films are absolutely and totally awesome, they just don't have the original story which puts a film in the "can't do more" bracket. Here was my original review, which I will leave unedited.

    Ten? Yeah ten. Straight One zero. Maximum. I am so conflicted to give a fresh film this massive mark, but the fact is just about every single thing is right about it. The story and characters are tried and tested, but this is done so well, it is truly a triumph for Kenneth Brannagh who has stuck perfectly to the story but delivered it with a fantastic cast, witty script, and absolutely breathtaking cinematography. I doubt if it will make best film, but if it doesn't win best costumes there is something special coming out later this year. I am gagging to look at all the trivia right now... Loved Helena Bonham Carter. I have never seen such convincing CGI animals. Nailed.

    Went to watch it again (5/5/15) to confirm my thoughts. Yep, that's OK

    The Dressmaker
    Mark: 9
    Watched: Mon 7 December 2015

    Starring: Kate Winslett with Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Sarah Snook, Caroline Goodall
    Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse

    Yes!!! One of the best films of the year. Hilariously funny without a laugh track, visually a complete treat, and an absolute feast of fantastic caricatures to engross the psyche and invest the emotion. Boom! Kate Winslett makes a lot of films which are exceedingly easy on the eye, I'm sure the cinematographers for this, Labour Day and A Little Chaos didn't swap the lenses.

    There defininitely was a surreal 'magic' streak running through this film, I won't tell you the reasons I think that, but I can't wait to talk to somebody to see if they agree. The makers missed a trick by using Macbeth when they could have used Romeo and Juliet and quoted "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

    If you are going to watch it... Oh just go and watch it. Starts like Tarantino, continues like Tarsem Singh, finishes like Hitchcock.

    "There's a mirror tree outside"

    The Interview
    Mark: 9
    Watched: Mon 9 February 2015

    Starring: James Franco with Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park, Diana Bang, Eminem, Rob Lowe, Bill Maher, Seth Meyers, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
    Directors: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

    9 Definite 9. I mean there were sequences in this when I was giggling uncontrollably. I loved James Franco doing comedy in Your Highness, yet he strikes me as the kind of actor who might annoy you trying to be funny, but if I could buy a TV channel it would feature Dave Skylark (and Ron Burgundy and co, of course). Eminem... WHAT??? The thing is, the cast were great, 4 people who you absolutely wanted to know more about and the story, though a comedy was captivating. They didn't need all the hype for this, it would always have been a classic, and no doubt the source for dozens of quotes over the next 30 years. Watch it.

    Man Up
    Mark: 9
    Watched: Mon 1 June 2015

    Starring: Lake Bell with Simon Pegg, Olivia Williams, Rory Kinnear
    Director: Ben Palmer

    I am so seriously worried about myself. SPOILER ALERT: Man and woman thrown together in unforseen circumstances, have their differences but eventually resolve them to find true love. There I've given it all away. The thing is, it's a story I like, and, in this case, it is done exceedingly well. Thoroughly entertaining script, Pegg and Bell are superb individually and as a team, it never takes itself too seriously, it's just one of those. The sets are the same as used in Bededict Cumberbatch's Sherlock (look at the chase through London with a taxi scene). So err... I feel, four hours later like giving it less than a 9, but it was just a great afternoon's fun which pushed all the right buttons and very few wrong ones

    Pitch Perfect 2
    Mark: 9
    Watched: Fri 29 May 2015

    Starring: Anna Kendrick with Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Hana Mae Lee, Adam DeVine, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks
    Director: Elizabeth Banks

    If you hated the first one, I don't think you will like this. Once again, the story is probably the least original one in the cannon, nevertheless, it's always a good one when done properly and in this film, it is. The music is quite excellent and the humour is refreshing. It seems like they are taking back PC. Racist jokes may be uncouth, but we laugh because they're based on truth. Many genuine clap moments, and almost constantly either hilarious or musically ,dare I say, captivating, and the lack of originality pays dividends in that the little 'in' jokes are definitely rewarding.

    I keep a penny underneath my tongue

    Bridge Of Spies
    Mark: 9.2
    Watched:Tue 24 November 2015

    Starring: Tom Hanks with Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, Alan Alda, Jesse Plemons, Domenick Lombardozzi
    Director: Steven Spielberg

    One of the best films of 2015, which of course will doom you to dissapointment if you haven't seen it yet. Steven Spielberg is good, Tom Hanks is good, Mark Rylance is good, the history is good, the story is good, the carachters are good, the filming is good, and the music is good. That is what I would term erring on the conservative. I have never had an insight into what Berlin was like when I was little, or the relationships between East Germany, the USSR and the USA at that time, but I am sure this gets close, not only holding up some ideas, but couching them in a fist pumping yarn that grows with every five minutes. Mark Rylance at his most Cromwellesque for the best supporting actor. No Brainer..

    N.b. We didn't need to be told what bridges we were looking at and we didn't need to be told how thoroughly great America is compared to the East to the extent including that when it is sunny spring in New York it is deepest winter in Berlin

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Mark: 9.5
    Watched: Thu 17 December 2015

    Starring: Daisy Ridley with Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow, Gwendoline Christie
    Director: J.J. Abrams

    I crossed my fingers for the first five minutes of this film. From the moment BB-8 broke the fourth wall after two minutes I knew it was in safe hands with the genius that is J.J. Abrams writing and directing. The over-arching satisfaction I got from this film was its sense of balance, incorporating comedy, action, pathos, respect to the franchise (so important), surprise and believability. The fucking cinematography was super awesome but the nitty gritty was there of people and plot. Rey and Fin, the newbie stars were fantastic, I don't know what I was most pleased with, the acceptance of Rey as an empowered female, or the slight, but very watchable comedic side to FN2157. Given the history of this franchise it is a justified shoe-in for the biggest grossing film of all time.

    Spoiler AlertPlease somebody tell me that's a flux capacitor behind Hal and Fin as they fly off in the Falcon.

    N.B. I had this down for a ten but retrospectively took half a mark off due to the constant nag that it was Episode 4, new and improved, which, there is no getting away from it, it is

    Kingsman: The Secret Service
    Mark: 9.6
    Watched: Mon 26 January 2015

    Starring: Taron Egerton with Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Boutella, Jack Davenport, Mark Strong, Mark Hamill, Will Smith
    Director: Matthew Vaughn

    Welcome to 2015. What a welcome. This is an absolute blast, from start to finish. Humorous, yet with real respect for the genre. Eye popping action. A boxful of characters that delight every time they light up the screen. Colin Firth is straight in as the target for the 2016 supporting actor. A dense script that surprises and entertains. I have not thought about much else for the last 8 hours, and am sad to say that this review may spoil your experience because you may expect too much given my gushing praise of it, but I’ve gotta be truthful! If you loved Kick-Ass this will not let you down. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes? Hey, I’m not alone. The film drips with class, is bursting with references and whether we like it or not, we love our movie-stars. Oh – the music rocks, the church scene was perfectly scored to Freebird, it... it... Oh I’m fucking speechless!

    Inside Out
    Mark: 10
    Watched: Tue 28 July 2015

    Starring: Amy Poehler with Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Richard Kind, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan
    Director: Pete Docter

    I have exited cinemas before wondering “Is that the best film I have ever seen?” ( Fellowship, Titanic ). This is different, not least because it is only after 48 hours that that thought has begun nagging me more and more. I feel reluctant to address it, like somebody who won’t tell somebody you love ‘em for fear of rebuttal. Have I got it wrong? Is just emotion?

    I am reasonably sure this is an absolute masterpiece, but not a masterpiece of singular visions, be it Frank Capra, John Landis or Robert Zemekis etc.; no, this has the feel of a work of collaboratory genius; the story seems completely original, the rendering is absolutely, stunningly, breathtakingly perfect, the characters are just, just nailed, each one multi-faceted yet completely endearing, The concept is brilliant, the sub threads devastatingly surprising, and, to top it all, the science! Look, I know dick about the way brains work, but I left this film feeling totally convinced that I had gleaned some insight. Tell me it’s wrong! Many films are accoladed as being for children with subtle adult themes. I think this may go a step further in catering for the adult who has lost his inner child, in that although the picture is infantile (in the nicest sense of the word), if one cuts through the cutesiness, we have a challenging proposition to ponder without being burdened by esoteric complexity.

    I rarely use the bookmakers. Last year I had one bet. Birdman to win the best film Oscar at 9/2, a fifty pound wager that ended up paying for this year’s Unlimited ticket. This year it is £14.10 (maximum bet) at 16/1 for this being the first animated film to win best picture.

    I went to watch it again a fortnight later. I am happy with my bet!

    You will go and watch the film after reading this and be immediately disappointed after reading this hagiography. You will say that Toy Story, and Up, and Shawshank Redemption and.... blah blah blah were all much more enjoyable. Can’t fault you for that, you may well be right. That’s the thing you see, I’m still thinking about this one... shit, I thought I woke up in my old house at Carleton Road the morning after I watched this film and could not orientate myself to the reality of where I actually was, and I guarantee you, it was because of this peak of human creation.