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Non-Review Review: Flight

Flight has a lot to recommend it. It has an interesting subject, a fantastic central performance and wonderful supporting cast. As a result, it’s a shame that the movie makes such a mess of all these things. Flight is never less than interesting and Washington is always watchable, but it isn’t quite as compelling as a two-hour drama film needs to be. Director Robert Zemeckis struggles a bit with the tone of the piece, and Flight seems to be a bit all over the place, making it quite difficult to enjoy and hard to engage with.

Things are looking up...

Things are looking up…

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Non-Review Review: The Artist

It’s funny that The Artist should end up being so accessible. It’s a black-and-white silent film, shot in an abandoned aspect ratio, set in old Hollywood from a French director. It sounds like an exercise in arthouse excess, and yet it’s easily one of the most charming and engaging stories in recent memory. It’s hard to put a finger on which part of the film works so well, so I’m going to opt for a massive copout: they all do. It’s a love letter to cinema, but not necessarily to “classic cinema” – the movie feels pretty timely for a story set in the twenties. In short, if you are any sort of cinephile, do yourself a favour and check it out. You won’t regret it.

Released just in time for New Year’s, it seems like 2011 might have saved the best for last.

Now THAT's Entertainment!

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Red State Red Band Trailer

Kevin Smith’s latest film, Red State, seems like a break out of the director’s comfort zone. While the director has tackled the idea of organised religion before (in the superb Dogma), his latest effort seems like something decidedly more serious. Being entirely honest, I’m always eager to see an established director attempt something that we’d never expect from them, and Smith’s cast (John Goodman, Melissa Leo and Kevin Pollack) is populated with enough skilled (and underrated) performers that it looks to be well worth a chance. If nothing else, the exploration of extremist religious groups in the United States always makes for a juicy viewing experience, even if Smith might not be going for a lot nuance. It looks like a mish-mash of a whole host of subgenres – from the hints at awkward teen comedy at the start to a sinister horror thriller through to an all-out action adventure. It seems like a lot for the director to handle, but the cocktail is intriguing enough to grab my attention.

Non-Review Review: Monsters Inc.

If you don’t love Pixar, you should see a doctor immediately. Because you clearly have no heart, which can lead to all manner of unpleasant complications. Okay, maybe Monsters Inc. is one of the more conventional entries in Pixar’s animated canon, but it’s an example of how – even when being as close to conventional as they can – Pixar are still absolutely incredible, blowing all the other major American animation studios out of the water.

Scarily good...

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Non-Review Review: The Big Lebowski

Apparently The Big Lebowski wasn’t anything special when the Coen Brothers drafted it. Just a routine little film with a main character very loosely based on a film producer that they used to know. To this day they’re still a little perplexed at the massive success the film has had, becoming a cult phenomenon and a serious contender for the mantle of “Best Coen Brothers Film”. In a way, that’s almost perfectly suited to the kind of film this is. It’s a lot of hubbub over a film clearly meant to be very small, much like the film itself is a very big story wrapped around a very ‘small’ character, so to speak. It’s always reassuring to know that The Dude abides.

"This is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules."

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