September 2014: A Recap

A brief recap of all the stuff I wrote in September 2014.

Review: The Giver (2014)

Like so many films of its ilk, The Giver extols the virtues of individualism while simultaneously conforming to every youth-centric, dystopian trope in the book – ★★

TV Review: Doctor Who – The Caretaker (S8, E6)

The “monster of the week” sucks major balls, sure, but The Caretaker has other, more intimate charms that make it a fun and worthwhile episode – ★★★

Review: A Most Wanted Man (2014)

The late Philip Seymour Hoffman delivers a masterclass in reticent fragility in this is slick and calculated thriller from Anton Corbijn – ★★★★½

Review: Let’s Be Cops (2014)

There’s definitely an audience for Let’s Be Cops‘ brand of witless humour, and it does a decent job of appealing to them. Alas, I’m not a member of said audience… – ★½

Review: If I Stay (2014)

If I Stay is inauthentic and gutless; the very epitome of upper middle-class mawkishness masquerading as something much more meaningful and profound – ★

Review: The Riot Club (2014)

I can’t say that I ever really enjoyed The Riot Club, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t think it’s “good” – ★★★

Review: Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

Woody Allen has made a few clunkers in the last fifteen years, but Magic in the Moonlight marks a whole new low for the once legendary director – ★½

TV Review: Doctor Who – Time Heist (S8, E5)

There are lots of nice ideas at the heart of “Time Heist”, but thanks – somewhat ironically – to the constraints of time, they’re all underdeveloped and muddled – ★★

Review: The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

I didn’t want to resort to food puns but The Hundred-Foot Journey is flavourless, undercooked and much too sugary – ★★

Review: Sex Tape (2014)

Cameron Diaz plays Cameron Diaz in, with the exception of The Other Woman (also starring Diaz…), the most humourless and flaccid comedy of the year – ★

Review: The Boxtrolls (2014)

The Boxtrolls is far from perfect, though in the final months of a year that has been nothing short of dreadful for children’s films, it feels like a real breath of fresh air – ★★½

TV Review: Doctor Who – Listen (S8, E4)

Listen has all the hallmarks of a typical Moffat episode, but for the first time since The Pandorica Opens they come together to produce an episode that is as poignant as it is thrilling – ★★★★

Classic Movies: Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Soviet propaganda at its most evocative and daring, Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin remains the high watermark of its genre – ★★★★★

Review: The Guest (2014)

It’s impossible to pigeonhole Adam Wingard’s The Guest into a single genre, and that’s exactly what makes it so good – ★★★★

Review: Pride (2014)

The most authentic and joyous “feel-good” film to emerge from Britain since the nineties, Pride is affectionate, witty and utterly heart-warming – ★★★★★

Review: Before I Go To Sleep (2014)

The performances are decent but they aren’t enough to save this generic thriller from painful mediocrity – ★★

Review: As Above, So Below (2014)

As Above, So Below gets off to a genuinely decent start, only to completely surrender to the worst excesses of convention and cliché in the final act – ★★½

Review: Lucy (2014)

Lucy is a genuine balls-to-the-wall Summer blockbuster that doesn’t chicken out in its final act. For that alone, it deserves a lot of credit – ★★★

TV Review: Doctor Who – Robot of Sherwood (S8, E3)

Plot wise, “Robot of Sherwood” is a ramshackle mess, but it makes the most of Capaldi’s comic skills and is, despite its flaws, still mildly entertaining – ★★½

Review: Fruitvale Station (2014)

Fruitvale Station wears its heart and its politics on its sleeve, but it tells a story that needed telling and, most importantly, it tells it well – ★★★★

Classic Movies: Sin City (2005)

Frank Miller’s neo-fascist fantasies, splayed out for all and sundry to gawp at, do not make for an enjoyable viewing experience – ★★

Review: Deliver Us from Evil (2014)

Deliver Us from Evil‘s conformity to every cliché in the book is actually its one saving grace – ★★★

TV Review: Doctor Who – Into the Dalek (S8, E2)

Capaldi is still the stand-out but, after a shaky start last week, it seems the writing might finally be beginning to catch-up with him – ★★★★

August 2014: A Recap

A brief recap of all the nonsense I wrote in the month of August

Review: What If (2014)

What If riffs off the same styles and ideas as (500) Days of Summer. Make of that what you will… – ★½

Review: The Expendables 3 (2014)

The formula has been toned down to such a fatal extent that The Expendables 3 doesn’t even pack the cheap, mindless thrills of its predecessors – ★★

Review: Into the Storm (2014)

Into the Storm is about as thrilling as passing wind, and just as uncomfortable, embarrassing and rancid – ★

Review: Évocateur – The Morton Downey Jr. Movie (2013)

Morton Downey Jr; if you thought Glenn Beck was a shrieking crackpot, you ain’t seen nothing yet… – ★★★

Review: X-Men – Days of Future Past (2014)

Bryan Singer uses Days of Few-CHA Past to retcon the fuck out of the universe he helped to bring to the big screen and has a helluva lot of fun in the process – ★★★½