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March 15, 2014
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Recently watched

True Detective

Friday Night Lights – ★★★☆☆
– poignant with some tense Football action

The Lego Movie (3D) – ★★★☆☆
– enjoyable (despite Cineworld screwing up the 3D, again)

True Detective (tv) – ★★★★☆
– TV gets better and better. Journey better than destination, but what a journey

À l’intérieur – ★★☆☆☆
– brutal French horror. Incredibly inept cops and unsympathetic heroine

Fantastic Mr. Fox – ★★☆☆☆
– U.K as imagined by someone who has never been, little of the books charm

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – ★★☆☆☆
– forgettable mildly comedic modern crime noir

House of Cards (tv) – ★★★☆☆
– more of the same, so depends if you enjoyed season 1 (or Boss)



December 27, 2013
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Best of 2013: Film

My best of 2013, released in 2012-2013. Not a big a list as 2012.



Gravity (3D) – ★★★★☆
– visually stunning 3D and doesn’t overstay its welcome

Captain Phillips – ★★★★☆
– Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks great in this modern day Somali piracy

Argo – ★★★★☆
– Affleck may have taken liberties with the story but the result is a brilliantly tense film

The Impossible – ★★★★☆
– moving tsunami drama



A Hijacking – ★★★★☆
– gripping view of a hijacking from the those not on the ship


Honourable mention

Jack Reacher – ★★★☆☆
– surprisingly enjoyable thriller. Like to see more



2 Guns – ★★★★☆
– fun over the top comic adaptation



American Mary – ★★★★☆
– whaaaaattf?! Fine “Cronenberg” body horror



The Act of Killing – “This is really about all of us, and it’s not just about the impunity and the banality of evil; it’s also about the insistent fascination of evil, in which we also all implicated” – Joshua Oppenheimer


November 5, 2013
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Freddy vs. Jason review

by Oli Jeffery on Letterboxd


“Do you want to hear a scary story?”

“Do I?”

“Um… do you?”


“So, there’s this disabled kid…”

“This isn’t scary.”

“It gets scary, so there’s this kid…”

“What’s wrong with him?”

“He’s disabled.”

“That’s… not a thing.”

“He’s sort of lumpy.”

“You’re a terrible person.”

“…and he drowns.”

“A terrible, terrible person.”

“Then his mum comes back and kills all the kids that were responsible for this death, then they kill her.”

“Okay, getting better.”

“Then one of them gets away, but BOOM zombie kid comes out of the lake and drags her down.”

“Wait, there are zombies now?”

“So, a few weeks later, the zombie has grown up.”

“Zombies can grow up?”

“This one can.”

“Despite not growing up for the thirty years or so that he was in the lake?”



“And he’s not a zombie anymore. He’s a guy who lives in a shack with a bag on his head and eats beans and stuff.”


“So he kills some more people, then gets a hockey mask and kills some other people and then gets killed by a little kid…”

“Really? Just a kid?”

“No. Not just a kid. A kid with a shaved head.”

“Okay. Makes perfect sense.”

“I know, right? Then someone pretends to be him for a bit and kills some other people.”

“That sounds sort of pointless.”

“It is. But don’t worry, because the original kid is raised as a zombie by some lightening.”

“I thought he was already a zombie.”

“Yeah, well, now he’s a zombie again.”

“Okay. Fine. So what happens?”

“Well, they find a magic spell to trap him.”

“What’s the spell?”

“Strapping him to a rock and dumping him in a lake.”

“…that’s not strictly magic.”

“But then this girl with telekinesis accidentally raises him.”

“Since when has there been psychic powers in this story?”

“Since now. But also always.”

“Fine. So then what happens?”

“He gets dragged back into the lake by the psychically reanimated corpse of the telekinetic girl’s father.”

“Well, obviously. Does he come back again? Don’t tell me, someone… hits him with an anchor and he just wakes up.”



There’s more…


Too good, Oli Jeffery is one to follow


July 13, 2013
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Recently watched

Cassandra's Dream

Cassandra's Dream

The Book of Mormon (theatre) – ★★★☆☆
– irreverent song and dance about the Mormons

Before Sunrise – ★★★☆☆
– talking love

Crossing Lines (tv) – ★☆☆☆☆
– euro women in peril. Nope

The Act of Killing – “This is really about all of us, and it’s not just about the impunity and the banality of evil; it’s also about the insistent fascination of evil, in which we also all implicated” – Joshua Oppenheimer

Cassandra's Dream – ☆☆☆☆☆
– the lecherous camera as offensive as the accents and dialogue

Odd Thomas – ★★☆☆☆
– dark horror that doesn’t fit the dodgy CGI and TV movie look and feel

Trance – ★★★☆☆
– twisting art heist hypnotic fun

Being Mary Jane (tv) – ★★☆☆☆
– why did I watch this? Not the worst thing I’ve seen, but not for me

Hatfields & McCoys (tv) – ★★★☆☆
– how not to settle a dispute



June 30, 2013
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Recently watched

Freebie and the Bean

Freebie and the Bean

Freebie and the Bean – ★★★☆☆
– before The Blues Brothers, Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys. 30 years since I first saw

Unstoppable – ★★★★☆
– unashamedly edge of the seat action, as good on small screen as big

Family Tree – (tv) ☆☆☆☆☆
– not my cup of tea

The Expatriate – ★★☆☆☆
– enjoyable Bourne/Taken lite Euro thriller

13 – ★★☆☆☆
13 Tzameti was a nail-biting headfuck. This isn’t a bad remake

Hummingbird – ★★☆☆☆
– thoughtful Jason Statham

Olympus Has Fallen – ★★☆☆☆
– a Die Hard in the Whitehouse


June 27, 2013
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Wil Wheaton – Table Top

Table Top - Smash-Up

Table Top – Smash-Up

Board games were the default nerd pastime before video games became knocked them for six, but are enjoying a third or fourth or even fifth golden age and resurgence.


The video reviews for them, from the likes of The Dice Tower, Undead Viking and Joel Eddy are as much a part of YouTube as video game reviews, and the biggest difference between them and their digital counterparts is the social aspect. Wil Wheaton’s Table Top perfectly captures that – five or six people playing a game after a brief introduction from Wil.


And the videos are immensely geeky, crying out to have animated gifs created from scenes, plus gag reels and extended interviews with the guests.


For a while computers seemed to kill the need for getting out and setting up a board game; on a PC you could play without that hassle, with always willing AI opponents and the CPU to do the grunt work that was once the bane of wargames* class=”small”>* with their CRT’s and DRM’s, but fast connections and the internet means videos are a easily created and even easier to surf, and if you are even vaguely interested in board gaming you can quickly discover a range of games that might interest you.


And Wil Wheaton is creating some of the best. The latest episode, with Mad Men’s Rich Sommer, Cara Santa Maria, and Jen Timms is a great place to start if you haven’t seen any.



*See alos: REINVENTING TACTICAL WARGAMES: Game Design Blog for War Stories



June 27, 2013
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Recently watched



It’s a Disaster – ★★★☆☆
– dark uncomfortable comedy of manners

The Lookout – ★★☆☆☆
– forgettable quirky bank raid semi-thriller

Veep (tv) – ★★★★☆
– brilliant two-faced backstabbing political comedy (season two)

Mad Men (tv) – ★★★★☆
– season six great surreal storytelling

Sex Toy Stories (tv) – ★★☆☆☆
– mish mash of female needs/design/production/inside homes of rich and famous

Inside Jaws, A Filmumentary – ★★★☆☆
– didn’t think I needed to see Jaws again, but this Jamie Benning “Filmumentary”…

Hannibal (tv) – ★★★☆☆
– misses being compulsive viewing, but better than The Following

Twenty Twelve (tv) – ★★★★☆
– second series even funnier than the first. Olivia Colman is brilliant


June 14, 2013
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Recently watched

Valhalla Rising

Valhalla Rising

Fight Club – ★★★★☆
– still great

The Purge – ★★☆☆☆
– not bad, could have been more. Probably better on DVD

Dead Man Down – ★★☆☆☆
– tv format and pace as a film

Valhalla Rising – ★★★☆☆
– walk, sit, talk, kill (repeat). A light romantic comedy it’s not

Broken City – ★★☆☆☆
– cinema scene with Wahlberg and Martinez glimpse of potentially interesting film

Pusher – ★★★☆☆
– brutal, nihilistic Danish thriller

Case Histories (tv) – ★★★☆☆
– enjoyable, and surprisingly violent

Behind the Candelabra – ★★★☆☆
– drags a bit two thirds way through, but stellar cast

Life of Crime (tv) – ★★☆☆☆
– so so tv thriller. Shame, hoped for more

Bullet to the Head – ★☆☆☆☆
– the “old” jokes are getting old



May 25, 2013
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Recently watched

Power of a Few

Power of a Few, Nicky Whelan, gratuitous trunk shot

A Good Day to Die Hard – ★☆☆☆☆
– time to fix the franchise

The Power of a Few – ★★☆☆☆
– entertaining if a bit rough around the edges

Side Effects – ★★★☆☆
– not what I was expecting

I Give it a Year – ★☆☆☆☆
– no Four Weddings and a Funeral and far from Notting Hill

The Place Beyond the Pines – ★★★☆☆
– generation spanning thriller



May 9, 2013
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Recently watched



The Following (tv) – ★☆☆☆☆
– too many “really?!” moments and too-many-unanswered-questions ending

Parker – ★☆☆☆☆
– slow moving and dull despite Statham. Lopez peaked in Out of Sight

Danny Boyle: Man of Wonder (tv) – ★★★☆☆
– Kermode and Danny Boyle. Wanted more, too short by half

Maniac – ★★☆☆☆
– original which I haven’t seen an odd choice for a remake I didn’t need to see

Iron Man 3 – ★★☆☆☆
– full cinema for so so finale, is Chinese version better?

The Last Stand – ★★★☆☆
– better than expected retirement home action

Jack Reacher – ★★★☆☆
– enjoyable thriller