Dressed to Kill

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De Palma’s sordid love letter to Hitchcock’s Psycho, Dressed to Kill is yet a complete and curious beast of its own. Trashy, artful, erotic, violent, silly; it’s never better than when staging its tense set-pieces, particularly the central about-turn, which is to die for. An odd and maybe brilliant film.

 

 

Homefront

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Homefront, boasting the unlikely face-off Statham vs. Franco, should have been the guilty pleasure of the year, but instead it’s a disappointingly po-faced thriller, derivative of several current TV shows, and neutered by the seemingly endless procession of villains, each one deferring to the next, until finally not much happens.

Thor: The Dark World

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Dark Elves, Aether, beautiful arms, something about a convergence, Darcy! Something something Loki! An absolute banger of a cameo – no, not Stan Lee – some genuinely exciting action, more Loki! More jokes! A climax that’s more farce than drama, but that’s ok too – no, Loki! Yes, Loki! OMG WHO IS THAT?

Now You See Me

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A perfect example of why performance magic doesn’t work on film, Now You See Me can’t tell you how its CGI-augmented tricks are done because it simply does not know, instead distracting you with an absurd “twist” at the end, hoping you’ll be too entertained to care. Over-directed, over-written nonsense.

Blue Jasmine

Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine

The tragedy of a woman trying to re-write her past and provide for her future, Blue Jasmine is simultaneously timeless and of its time, a surprisingly bleak, late-career masterpiece for a director many had long – foolishly – discounted. Cate Blanchett is flawless. One of the films of the year.

One Chance

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OC, the unlikely-sounding film charting ordinary Welshman Paul Potts’ rise to fame via Britain’s Got Talent, begins earnestly but actually rather winningly, with the romance between its two leads developing sweetly. But the plot soon becomes repetitive, while asking us to see the working class as essentially tragic remains… problematic.

 

White House Down

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In which the American president’s home is besieged, for a second time this year, and much more entertainingly, by terrorists. Tatum charms as the jock-hero, while everyone else has a blast with material that is smart enough to know it’s stupid, while acknowledging that it’s directly ripping off Die Hard.