Compelling, stylish, indie-ish sci-fi. Laced with originality, if a little heavy handed in places.
5th Dec 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Electrifying modern thriller. Great script and a breakout turn from Donnie Darko. He's going to be big.
4th Nov 2014Read more 4 star reviews
If you like being punched in the emotional face you'll love this Pixar tearjerker. One of the best openings ever.
25th Aug 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Classy slice of 70s film noir, with a fantastic, effortless script and a star turn from Gene Hackman.
Halliwell says: Apparently a Chandlerish mystery, this is really a Pinterish audience-teaser with obsessions about communication and the meaning of life. A smart-ass entertainment for eager trendies.*
31st Jul 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Outstanding, intriguing, moving documentary about a deep black hole in the music industry.
20th Jul 2014Read more 4 star reviews
A mind bending time travel loop does a magnificent job of distracting you from an otherwise thin plot.
7th Jul 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Intense cat and mouse chase between two incredibly well drawn characters.
26th Jun 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Well handled drama with a powerhouse performance from McRomcomedy. Tad long.
8th Jun 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Intense modern piracy drama, skilfully handled as Paul Greengrass builds the tension and intensity.
29th Mar 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Celine and Jesse walk and talk nine years on, as teen dreams echo through 40s reality looking for love.
23rd Mar 2014Read more 4 star reviews
70s Aussie fever dream about an uptight teacher stuck in a booze-drenched Outback town full of menace.
20th Mar 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Intense, harrowing slavery biopic. Steve McQueen leaps forward with a more accomplished hand.
8th Mar 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Tense, brutal film noir. Updating western sensibilities and old-fashioned tension for the 90s.
25th Jan 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Epic indie odyssey from Rick Linklater, following lead actor Ellar Coltrane through 12 years of high school.
20th Jan 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Great Matthew McC perf as a cowboy hustling unapproved drugs in the early days of the Aids crisis.
10th Jan 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Kurosawa's Tohoscope tour de force packs in action, a princess on the run and some great shots.
1st Jan 2014Read more 4 star reviews
Dense, old-fashioned thriller with ratcheting tension and powerhouse turns from Gyllenhaal and Jackman.
31st Dec 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Over the top, unsubtle, bombastic and thoroughly enjoyable Scorsese picture. Great script, great turns.
30th Dec 2013Read more 4 star reviews
The bronze medal of Indy movies, but Connery and Phoenix expand the formula.
26th Dec 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Stylish, classy, sprawling oil epic from Traffic's Stephen Gaghan. Backed up by a great ensemble cast.
6th Dec 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Smart, touching near-future parable, with a great turn from Frank Langella.
30th Nov 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Quirky, erratic Texan rockers go super tight and loud. So good.
20th Nov 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Subtle sci-fi that plays with ideas of memory loss, family & ageing - and has a great one last heist.
19th Nov 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Witty, tense, effective police procedural, despite the contrived hidden cameras. Heat meets Blair Witch.
3rd Nov 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Taught, surprisingly Hitchcockian thriller, that makes for a great final film from Steven Soderbergh.
2nd Nov 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Bullock & Clooney float in space. 3D pushed to the limit, breathless tension, great shots. A proper cinema film.
31st Oct 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Deftly handled period thriller, anchored by a solid script and a wide range of decent performances.
19th Oct 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Too long as usual, but relative restraint from Tarantino makes for his best pic since Jackie Brown.
11th Oct 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Classy love letter to NYC from Spike Lee, with a great script and a rare, restrained turn from Ed Norton.
10th Oct 2013Read more 4 star reviews
A semi-re-boot for James Bond, that's convoluted but with many thrilling moments and some nice twists.
8th Jul 2013Read more 4 star reviews
I hated this kaleidoscopic, fractured thriller in '99. In hindsight it's one of Soderbergh's highlights.
5th Jul 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Well rounded marital LOLs from @JuddApatow ...that's a little close to the bone.
29th Jun 2013Read more 4 star reviews
The Complete Novel
Despite Coppola's tinkering, this melodramatic 80s classic still stands up well.
Halliwell says: Oddball youth melodrama, a curious choice for a director with big successes behind him.
13th May 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Taut, economical thriller with a strong cast filling out some juicy roles as the financial bubble bursts.
12th Mar 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Stylish, tightly written DIY indie sci-fi, with a cult leader claiming to be from the future.
25th Jan 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Flawless police whodunnit from Jane Campion. NZ's entry into the "unmissable TV" category.
21st Jan 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Spectacular low budget sci-fi that builds a touching human story in front of a high-concept backdrop.
12th Jan 2013Read more 4 star reviews
A great story helps carry this career-launching slice of 80s New York cool briskly along.
3rd Jan 2013Read more 4 star reviews
Witty, totally enjoyable fairy tale romp, with Homeland's Saul sans beard. Modern classic.
31st Dec 2012Read more 4 star reviews
Engaging, stylish black comedy with DeNiro on rare decent form. Great Bruce WIllis beard cameo.
31st Dec 2012Read more 4 star reviews
Inspiring, slow-burning sentimental Christmas classic with vintage waterworks finale. #BTTFII.
26th Dec 2012Read more 4 star reviews
Touching homage to cinema from that guy that did Goodfellas, tucked away behind a broad brushstrokes kids film.
25th Dec 2012Read more 4 star reviews
The edgy extremities may have worn with time but David Fincher's masterpiece still packs an accomplished punch.
16th Dec 2012Read more 4 star reviews
No Can Do
I stupidly under-rated this album for a few weeks. So many hooks.
12th Dec 2012Read more 4 star reviews
Ingenious Spanish thriller that ties itself up in all kinds of knots.
6th Dec 2012Read more 4 star reviews
3rd Dec 2012Read on Twitter
Daniel Day-Lewis is Oscar-bait in Spielberg's history lesson, a West Wing 1860 full of wit & political drama.
13th Nov 2012Read more 4 star reviews
Solid, stylish, well-rounded Bond - that tips its hat while also serving as something of a reboot.
26th Oct 2012Read more 4 star reviews
(dir. Ben Affleck)
Trenchcoats, crazy CIA plans, beards and a gripping true life hostage situation - there's a lot to enjoy in Ben Affleck's latest. Following The Town and Gone, Baby Gone, this is another assured directorial job from Affleck, here channeling the spirit of 70s classics like All The President's Men and Klute to craft an intelligent, grown-up thriller that doesn't have to resort to shoot-outs to ratchet up the tension. Bonus points for Van Halen and Led Zep on the soundtrack.
Tehran 1979: Ayatollah Khomeni's revolution is in full swing, the US embassy is stormed, 52 hostages taken - but six staff members manage to escape in the confusion and seek refuge in the Canadian embassy. Back in Washington, Carter-era spooks concoct "exfiltration" plans - with "the best bad idea" being a fake Hollywood production company scouting middle eastern locations for a Star Wars rip-off.
The film keeps the potential for any "Hollywood - so CRAZY!!" stuff to a minimum - managing to contrast it with the intensity of 70s revolutionary Tehran without resorting to Get Shorty wackiness. Max graininess in the cinematography (shot with an Arri Alexa, fact fans, as well as "on film, cut in half, blown up 200%" according to IMDB trivia) combines with actual news footage to build convincing period atmosphere.
Affleck plays Tony Mendez, the CIA agent leading the plan, a role that plays to his strengths. The rest of the casting is spot on - Bryan "Breaking Bad" Cranston, Tate "Damages" Donovan, John Goodman as Hollywood make-up expert John Chambers (responsible for Planet Of The Apes' apes and Spock's ears), Alan Arkin, Victor Garber, Rory "Dazed And Confused" Cochrane, Titus (Lost's Man in Black) Welliver, Scoot (Monsters) McNairy and a cameo from Adrienne Barbeau in the goofy Argo cast's table read.
For more background, here's the Wired article on the actual CIA operation and the real-life fake movie. It's a great read, though obviously it's pretty much the entire plot. One nice detail that gets a little lost in the film - Captain America co-creator Jack Kirby did the original comic strip-style production drawings.Read more 4 star reviews