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Surveillance

Hunt For The Wilderpeople

Accomplished, charming NZ indie comedy that wears its influences well.


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1st Feb 2017

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Raiders

The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

Inspiring doc about the kids remaking Raiders over 7 summers.


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24th Jan 2017

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The Beatles

Eight Days a Week

Inspiring reminder of the sheer volume of trail blazing laid down by The Beatles.


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22nd Jan 2017

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The Goonies

Seminal kids movie that I underrated in '85. Shot with an easy pace, until the free-swim at the end.

Halliwell says: The bottomless pit of the Spielberg genre, a silly tale which takes forever to get going and is acted by children who have not studied elocution. The trick effects when they come are OK, but it's a long annoying haul to that point.


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22nd Jan 2017

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The Jungle Book

Seamless CGI remake, lacking in humour and executed with the seriousness of LOTR or Apocalypse Now.


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30th Dec 2016

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Bridge of Spies

Solid Cold War drama. Unfortunately lacking the impact of both Spielberg and Hanks' best.


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18th Dec 2016

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The Magnificent Seven

A classic story and allstar cast, but John Sturges' vintage western seems slow and dated now.

Halliwell says: Popular western based on the Japanese Seven Samurai; good action scenes, but the rest is verbose and often pretentious.**


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2nd Nov 2016

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The Big Short

Smart-ass financial drama. OTT Bale, reasonable turn from Pitt, Reynolds steals the show.


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2nd Oct 2016

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The Day After

Terrifying post-nuclear drama. Dated to the mood of its era, but still effectively realistic.


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30th Sep 2016

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Magnum Force

It's only episode 2, but it's Dirty-Harry-by-numbers. Luckily those numbers still add up to something.

Halliwell says: Toned-down sequel to Dirty Harry; the violence is still there but the hero no longer commits it.


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18th Sep 2016

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Pete's Dragon

Superior kids movie. ET meets King Kong. Bit slow, but ten times deeper than the wafer thin original.


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1st Sep 2016

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Dope

Super sharp teen movie, bursting with style and originality and loaded with an impeccable soundtrack.


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17th Aug 2016

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Contact

Ambitious 90s sci-fi. Not entirely successful, but it has a seriousness and scale that's rarely seen today.


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2nd Aug 2016

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101 Dalmatians

Dated effort from 60s Disney, sacrificing production value for cheap gags.

Halliwell says: Disney's last really splendid feature cartoon, with the old flexible style cleverly modernized and plenty of invention and detail in the story line. The London backgrounds are especially nicely judged.**


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8th May 2016

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The Pledge

Remarkably restrained turn from Jack Nicholson in a decent but dated 00s thriller. Sean Penn directs.


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6th Apr 2016

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Cobain Montage of Heck

Unconventional doc that manages to put an interesting spin on an otherwise downbeat subject.


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16th Jan 2016

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Sicario

Immensely stylish, accomplished DEA procedural, full of great performances. Like Traffic on drugs.


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31st Dec 2015

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The Incredibles

Decent Pixar effort that's lost a bit of its shine with age.


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21st Dec 2015

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It Follows

Intense, stylish, post-modern horror. Beautifully directed. Drive meets Halloween.


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3rd Nov 2015

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What We Do In The Shadows

Chuckle-a-minute vampire documentary. Perfectly pitched and performed.


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15th Oct 2015

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St Vincent

Charming @BiIIMurray vehicle. If you've read the logline you've pretty much seen the movie.


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4th Oct 2015

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Hyena

Despite the clichéd plot, a top cast and stylish direction elevate this violent UK cop pic out the doldrums.


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28th Aug 2015

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Return of the Jedi

Lazy re-hash, adequately directed but saved by outstanding art direction and big set pieces.

Halliwell says: More expensive fantasy for the world's children of all ages, especially the undemanding ones.*


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11th Aug 2015

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The Skeleton Twins

Up-market indie with a decent cast putting in solid performances.


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1st Aug 2015

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'71

A decent premise and classy art direction aren't quite enough to elevate this Troubles pic into greatness.


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23rd Jul 2015

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The Lion King

1990s re-imagining of Bambi. Equally scary for kids in places, but lacking a certain charm.


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16th Jul 2015

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The Imitation Game

Solid, safe wartime biopic from the British-Oscar-hopeful template.


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11th Jul 2015

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Clear and Present Danger

Despite the Twitter-unfriendly title, this old fashioned 90s thriller holds up well.


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18th Jun 2015

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Downfall

Powerful and impressive, but the chamber-piece presentation creates an Abigail’s-Party-for-Nazis vibe.


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17th Jun 2015

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Thunderheart

Solid, old fashioned studio thriller with enough of an angle to keep it fresh.


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21st May 2015

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The One I Love

Intriguing, thought-provoking indie dramedy. Would have benefitted from a bit more structure.


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17th May 2015

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While We're Young

Close-to-the-bone indie pic that avoids the obvious. Noah Baumbach directs. Ad-Rock co-stars


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9th Apr 2015

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Big Hero 6

Mostly derivative Disney pic with anime influences and a few magical moments.


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29th Mar 2015

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Post Tenebras Lux

Abstract Mexican art house pic. Intense and engaging, if not entirely successful.


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15th Mar 2015

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Metro Manila

Depressing slice of life on the breadline in Manila. Slow to start but stylish and well crafted.


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15th Mar 2015

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Shaun the Sheep the Movie

Typically witty masterclass in stop motion from @aardman. Dialogue free!


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8th Mar 2015

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Birdman

Bravura Oscar winner. Stunningly shot, but you can guess the shortcomings of this 'single take' showpiece.


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23rd Feb 2015

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Dead Man

Stark, not entirely successful western. A relic from days gone by, when Johnny Depp was in arthouse films.


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8th Jan 2015

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Gone Girl

While it's less gripping once you know the twists, Fincher's cold thriller evolves into a dark comedy.


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1st Jan 2015

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Maps To The STARS

Twisted, Lynchian melodrama ...from Cronenberg. Dark and original, though possibly not enjoyable.


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1st Jan 2015

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Starred Up

Brutal, gruelling prison drama - anchored by a raft of solid performances.


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31st Dec 2014

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Le Week-end

Talky, thought provoking middle aged comedy about dreams v life. Solid script from Hanif Kureishi.


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24th Dec 2014

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For Lovers Only

Inspiring arthouse pic from the Polish Brothers. Remarkably offhand et casual. A bit pretentious.


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20th Nov 2014

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Filmage: The Story of Descendents / All

Nostalgic doc that doesn't avoid the realities of being pop punk pioneers. @Descendents.


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15th Nov 2014

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Gone Girl

David Fincher pushes Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike into dark corners of marriage in a long, twisty thriller.


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26th Sep 2014

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X~Men

Days of Future Past

Text book comic book time hopping antics. Clever twists and a heathy franchise future.


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15th Sep 2014

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Edge of Tomorrow

Smart sci-fi mashing Private Ryan with Groundhog Day. 3rd act wobbles before a strong finish.


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13th Sep 2014

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Ali

Michael Mann's kaleidoscopic biopic is a technical masterpiece, but it plays out like a 3 hour montage.


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4th Sep 2014

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Enough Said

Smartly-scripted romcom that flips a lot of tropes for analysis through the middle-aged divorcee lens.


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24th Aug 2014

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Gravity

Without the 3D or IMAX, this visually impressive space flick stretches a little too thin.


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23rd Aug 2014

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