• Black Widow

    Black Widow

    ★★★½

    For thousands of people, Black Widow will have been the first film they watched in the cinema since lockdown. For me, it was the first in around ten years.

    Since I recovered from illness in January, it seems the rate at which I get used to old activities has been accelerating. It was perhaps a few weeks before shops and public transport felt something like normal and routine (not helped, of course, by the masks and other covid accoutrements, plus…

  • Jumper

    Jumper

    ★★½

    Seemed like a lacklustre prototype for Looper (2012), but as I fell asleep for over half the film, can't be entirely sure.

    Will probably rewatch, as I don't like knowing so little about a film I technically saw this recently - but that should also be when tired, as I'd rather expend more awake, higher-quality attention on something better.

  • High-Rise

    High-Rise

    ★★★½

    The One Where She Finally Understood the Fuss about Tom Hiddleston. (A phrase where pronoun 'she' felt more comfortable than it often does.)

    So I know what it is now. Hiddleston himself, as a personality and in presentation, is too clean-cut for my tastes. Laing's suits are initially similar to those TH wears for menswear photoshoots - but in role as the morally ambiguous Laing, he acquires a just-dark-enough edge, rather like the vibe Mads Mikkelsen posesses even when being…

  • Crimson Peak

    Crimson Peak

    ★★★½

    If Crimson Peak were a book - and Victorian-set gothic horror stories have been big in contemporary fiction over the last decade - it's all too obvious what the cover would look like. On a dark background would be an ornate, twee pattern involving repeating motifs, and/or tendrils, and/or a silhouette of a young woman in floor-length period dress. It wants to be sumptuous, but to non-fans, it looks increasingly tired.

    When I was ill and spent most of my…

  • Ghostbusters

    Ghostbusters

    ★★★

    How does a film with three such big personalities among the lead characters end up so flat? The movie itself lacks screen presence except when Chris Hemsworth is there in his supporting role, as what a friend recently described as "the archetype of the contemporary himbo". (I'd never thought of Hemsworth as a charismatic actor, because of Thor's chumpishness in the MCU, but apparently he is when not sharing cinematic real estate with the superlatively magnetic likes of RDJ.) It's…

  • Kong: Skull Island

    Kong: Skull Island

    ★★★½

    Oh, man, the sequence where they're flying into the island is like something I've been waiting for half my life. I love the exhilaration of action movies (and even more so watching them whilst exercising, which I'm doing on account of having set up an exercise bike at home about a year after everyone else did) - but even whilst I revel in the explosions and the fights and overturned cars and buildings, I'm always thinking about the environmental waste…

  • My Favorite Year

    My Favorite Year

    ★★★★

    A film could hardly be more dependent on the lead performance unless it were a monologue. It's this goofy, likeable little 1h 30 comedy that's fairly predictable but which ended up with a Best Actor Oscar nomination all because of him. And Peter O'Toole's presence is so magnificent it's hard to believe a person can do that. (Even stranger that the role wasn't written specially for him and was first offered to Albert Finney, who then made sure it was…

  • Kung Fu Hustle

    Kung Fu Hustle

    ★★★★★

    Yes, there are a few things because of which one possibly shouldn't give it 5 stars (slurs, the arc of the romantic relationship), but everything else is so great, why emphasise the negatives? This is one of my all-time favourite action films and I have such fondness for the personalities in it, just wish some of them could have been around a bit longer.

    This time round, I've been wondering how kung fu stories - of supremely talented individuals with…

  • Constantine: City of Demons - The Movie

    Constantine: City of Demons - The Movie

    ★★½

    Usually it's me wondering why others have rated an action or comic book film so low. Here, though, I can't understand how the average is as high as 3.4 stars. I thought there was a lot I'd forgive as far as Matt Ryan's John Constantine is concerned (and not only that four years after first playing him, he still lapses into his native Welsh accent at times - even if that surprised me).

    And perhaps, as I found a couple…

  • Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

    Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

    ★★★½

    In case I CBA to finish the longer review:

    - This isn't *just* the clumsy political fanservice I thought it was on first viewing (when I hadn't seen series 3), but that is there. It's a bit more layered and contradictory than I once thought (e.g. Mycroft as Mr Creosote) but it's still pretty embarrassing and heavy handed.

    - There is a lot going on with references to series 3, and foreshadowings of series 4 (which I've not seen but…

  • Cat Listening to Music

    Cat Listening to Music

    This is what happens when I actually read the Letterboxd feed: discovering odd and lovely little shorts.

    This one had to be watched immediately because: Chris Marker. (A director I actually have a tag for, from my old days on here, as I loved his major films so much.) Also, cat! What on earth would Chris Marker do with a cat video?

    At first this seems random and unpolished because we are now so used to cutesy cat videos made…

  • Restoration

    Restoration

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Adaptation of a historical novel I read in my teens. Stars a very young, very pretty and rather androgynous RDJ. (He would have actually been 30 at time of filming.)

    Somehow this adaptation never registered on my radar when I was younger, although it was released two or three years after I read the book, when I would have liked it best of all. I suspect this was because it was released in term-time, and during an academic year when…