• The Descendants

    The Descendants


    (Alexander Payne ranking)
    (2011 ranking)

    There aren’t many better directors at balancing humour and profundity like Alexander Payne, and The Descendants may be the best showcase of both ends of the scale being on full display that I’ve seen so far. 

    It features several really huge revelations and moments which will shape the rest of these characters’ lives. Real open mouth moments galore, which completely has you engaged, hooked and second-guessing what will come next. 

    Both George Clooney and Shailene…

  • Futurama: Bender's Game

    Futurama: Bender's Game


    (2008 ranking)

    Starts off strong and there are a lot of good gags but it doesn’t hold up for the full 90-minutes. It has a tendency to feel like it’s getting distracted by subplots and the story just starts darting all over. Not bad but not very good either.

  • Christmas with the Kranks

    Christmas with the Kranks


    (2004 ranking)

    Literally no Christmas magic in this movie whatsoever. It’s about community yes, but Christmas is treated as some sort of arduous obligation rather than something anyone actually enjoys. 

    Even the party at the end is a complete facade for their daughter, rather than hosting festivities because they actually want to. 

    Some jokes are fine. The music is nice. I like Tim Allen. I like Jamie Lee Curtis. That’s pretty much it.

  • Napoleon



    (Ridley Scott ranking)
    (2023 ranking)

    Ridley Scott reunites with Joaquin Phoenix for the first time in 23 years, but Napoleon sorely lacks the magnetism and dynamism of the Best Picture-winning Gladiator, let alone Scott’s even better works. 

    The craftsmanship is admittedly off the charts here, particularly the costumes and the battle scenes, as a lot of what unfolds is a titanic spectacle. But once you’ve seen about 8 battle scenes, it all just becomes rather redundant and monotonous.

    It’s ultimately…

  • Stray Dog

    Stray Dog


    (Akira Kurosawa ranking)

    Maybe my favourite Kurosawa, or certainly close to. It may not be as ambitious as Seven Samurai, as emotionally effective as Ikiru, or as innovative as Rashomon, but Stray Dog is such an extremely taught mystery thriller which hits sweet spot after sweet spot, and is executed to perfection. 

    The pacing is key. I find some scenes can be a little slow in Kurosawa’s movies which of course makes the big moments even bigger, but here it…

  • The Footballer Fraudster

    The Footballer Fraudster


    (2023 ranking)

    Proof that a good story doesn’t make a good documentary. Very run-of-the-mill made-for-TV tabloid gossip meets gritty crime Netflix formula stuff. Engaging and interesting but that’s pretty much it.

  • Hollow Man

    Hollow Man


    (Paul Verhoeven ranking)
    (2000 ranking)

    Verhoeven’s take on The Invisible Man is both refreshing and unique, and whilst it boasts some strong scenes and exceptional visual effects, it is let down by its under par acting, script and style. 

    It feels like anyone could have directed this, as if it was some sort of director for hire job. There are some of Verhoeven’s voyeuristic touches which add something different and interesting, but the tired sci-fi and slasher tropes don’t work too…

  • Final Destination

    Final Destination


    (2000 ranking

    Picking a movie for four people who all have different tastes is tough, but this is what we landed on. It’s fun, it’s got cool deaths, and it deservedly spawned a relatively solid franchise. 

    But the characters are barely indistinguishable from one another and all of them are rather annoying. Plus the acting is pretty poor and the script isn’t great. But an enjoyable enough as a whole.

  • A Man Escaped

    A Man Escaped


    (Robert Bresson ranking)

    Perfectly depicts the monotony and repetitiousness of prison life and the painstaking effort and patience required to plan an escape. 

    But because of that, the film itself can similarly feel monotonous, repetitious and can be a patience tester. Thankfully, Bresson always makes sure the high stakes are always felt to make sure to keep you invested and engaged. 

    There’s also about 5 scenes of people actually talking to each other. I’d say about 75% of the movie…

  • Sisters



    (Brian De Palma ranking)

    Again De Palma’s love of Hitchcock comes to the fore in Sisters, with clear inspiration from the likes of Rope and Rear Window, as well as Psycho yet again. But thankfully this is less like the copy and paste exercise of Dressed to Kill. 

    There is certainly clear De Palma-isms all over this, with the best utilisation of his trademark split screen I’ve seen across any of his work. He really can mix sex and violence…

  • Jackals & Fireflies

    Jackals & Fireflies


    (Charlie Kaufman ranking)
    (2023 ranking)

    This looks great considering it’s shot on a Samsung phone, but that will likely be the main thing I take away from this, rather than anything from the poetry or direction. 

    There really isn’t much of Kaufman here at all really. It just feels like a visual accompaniment to a poem and nothing else. A nice ode to NYC, but it comes off as pretentious and bombastic for the most part.

  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles

    Planes, Trains and Automobiles


    (John Hughes ranking)
    (1987 ranking)

    Becoming a bit of a yearly tradition now. I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but this feels like a perfect entry point into the Christmas film period. 

    Hilarious and poignant. When John Hughes gets it right, it really is magic.