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Surveillance

Cold In July

Sparse, atmospheric indie thriller - which quickly breaks the template with a couple of left turns.


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17th May 2015

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Sleeping Beauty

Genre-pushing 1950s Disney fairytale, this time in epic widescreen. Tastefully done.

Halliwell says: Rather stodgy, unwisely Cinemascoped feature cartoon of the old legend; very fashionable and detailed, but somehow lifeless.*


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29th Dec 2014

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Terriers

Great characters, fantastic scripts, a long-game season arc and a bunch of good twists make this very watchable TV.


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26th Dec 2014

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Peter Pan

Rich, action-packed Disney entry, benefitting from J. M. Barrie's more layered source material.

Halliwell says: Solidly crafted cartoon version of a famous children's play; not Disney's best work, but still miles ahead of the competition.***


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26th Dec 2014

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The World's Fastest Indian

Textbook, sentimental, heartstring-plucking tale - done flawlessly.


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25th Dec 2014

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Genre-defining animation from Disney. Dated in some ways, but still full of style.

Halliwell says: Disney's first feature cartoon, a mammoth enterprise which no one in the business thought would work. The romantic leads were wishy-washy but the splendid songs and the marvellous comic and villainous characters turned the film into a world-wide box office bombshell which is almost as fresh today as when it was made.****


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22nd Dec 2014

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The Hunt

Intense, paranoid witch hunt. Thought provoking and intricately crafted, with many stand out performances.


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19th Dec 2014

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Labor Day

Powerful, stylish drama. Beautiful cinematography, anchored by strong performances and a solid script.


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12th Dec 2014

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I Origins

Compelling, stylish, indie-ish sci-fi. Laced with originality, if a little heavy handed in places.


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5th Dec 2014

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Nightcrawler

Electrifying modern thriller. Great script and a breakout turn from Donnie Darko. He's going to be big.


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4th Nov 2014

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Up

If you like being punched in the emotional face you'll love this Pixar tearjerker. One of the best openings ever.


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25th Aug 2014

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Night Moves

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.*


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31st Jul 2014

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Searching For Sugarman

Outstanding, intriguing, moving documentary about a deep black hole in the music industry.


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20th Jul 2014

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Timecrimes

A mind bending time travel loop does a magnificent job of distracting you from an otherwise thin plot.


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7th Jul 2014

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No Country For Old Men

Intense cat and mouse chase between two incredibly well drawn characters.


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26th Jun 2014

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Dallas Buyers Club

Well handled drama with a powerhouse performance from McRomcomedy. Tad long.


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8th Jun 2014

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Captain Phillips

Intense modern piracy drama, skilfully handled as Paul Greengrass builds the tension and intensity.


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29th Mar 2014

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Before Midnight

Celine and Jesse walk and talk nine years on, as teen dreams echo through 40s reality looking for love.


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23rd Mar 2014

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Wake In Fright

70s Aussie fever dream about an uptight teacher stuck in a booze-drenched Outback town full of menace.


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20th Mar 2014

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12 Years A Slave

Intense, harrowing slavery biopic. Steve McQueen leaps forward with a more accomplished hand.


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8th Mar 2014

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One False Move

Tense, brutal film noir. Updating western sensibilities and old-fashioned tension for the 90s.


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25th Jan 2014

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Boyhood

Epic indie odyssey from Rick Linklater, following lead actor Ellar Coltrane through 12 years of high school.


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20th Jan 2014

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Dallas Buyers Club

Great Matthew McC perf as a cowboy hustling unapproved drugs in the early days of the Aids crisis.


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10th Jan 2014

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The Hidden Fortress

Kurosawa's Tohoscope tour de force packs in action, a princess on the run and some great shots.

Halliwell says: In medieval Japan, the heiress of a feudal lord is saved from a bandit by a samurai. Roistering eastern Western.**


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1st Jan 2014

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Prisoners

Dense, old-fashioned thriller with ratcheting tension and powerhouse turns from Gyllenhaal and Jackman.


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31st Dec 2013

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The Departed

Over the top, unsubtle, bombastic and thoroughly enjoyable Scorsese picture. Great script, great turns.


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30th Dec 2013

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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The bronze medal of Indy movies, but Connery and Phoenix expand the formula.


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26th Dec 2013

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Syriana

Stylish, classy, sprawling oil epic from Traffic's Stephen Gaghan. Backed up by a great ensemble cast.


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6th Dec 2013

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Robot & Frank

Smart, touching near-future parable, with a great turn from Frank Langella.


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30th Nov 2013

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White Denim

Village Underground

Quirky, erratic Texan rockers go super tight and loud. So good.


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20th Nov 2013

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Robot & Frank

Subtle sci-fi that plays with ideas of memory loss, family & ageing - and has a great one last heist.


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19th Nov 2013

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End of Watch

Witty, tense, effective police procedural, despite the contrived hidden cameras. Heat meets Blair Witch.


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3rd Nov 2013

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Side Effects

Taught, surprisingly Hitchcockian thriller, that makes for a great final film from Steven Soderbergh.


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2nd Nov 2013

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Gravity

Bullock & Clooney float in space. 3D pushed to the limit, breathless tension, great shots. A proper cinema film.


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31st Oct 2013

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Argo

Deftly handled period thriller, anchored by a solid script and a wide range of decent performances.


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19th Oct 2013

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Django Unchained

Too long as usual, but relative restraint from Tarantino makes for his best pic since Jackie Brown.


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11th Oct 2013

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25th Hour

Classy love letter to NYC from Spike Lee, with a great script and a rare, restrained turn from Ed Norton.


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10th Oct 2013

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Skyfall

A semi-re-boot for James Bond, that's convoluted but with many thrilling moments and some nice twists.


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8th Jul 2013

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The Limey

I hated this kaleidoscopic, fractured thriller in '99. In hindsight it's one of Soderbergh's highlights.


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5th Jul 2013

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This Is 40

Well rounded marital LOLs from @JuddApatow ...that's a little close to the bone.


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29th Jun 2013

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The Outsiders

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.


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13th May 2013

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Margin Call

Taut, economical thriller with a strong cast filling out some juicy roles as the financial bubble bursts.


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12th Mar 2013

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Sound Of My Voice

Stylish, tightly written DIY indie sci-fi, with a cult leader claiming to be from the future.


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25th Jan 2013

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Top of the Lake

Flawless police whodunnit from Jane Campion. NZ's entry into the "unmissable TV" category.


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21st Jan 2013

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Another Earth

Spectacular low budget sci-fi that builds a touching human story in front of a high-concept backdrop.


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12th Jan 2013

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Desperately Seeking Susan

A great story helps carry this career-launching slice of 80s New York cool briskly along.

Halliwell says: Mildly diverting romantic mystery which could have been both funnier and more thrilling.*


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3rd Jan 2013

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The Princess Bride

Witty, totally enjoyable fairy tale romp, with Homeland's Saul sans beard. Modern classic.

Halliwell says: Rather strained fantasy with occasional bright moments.*


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31st Dec 2012

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What Just Happened?

Engaging, stylish black comedy with DeNiro on rare decent form. Great Bruce WIllis beard cameo.


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31st Dec 2012

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It's A Wonderful Life

Inspiring, slow-burning sentimental Christmas classic with vintage waterworks finale. #BTTFII.

Halliwell says: Superbly assembled small-town comedy drama in a fantasy framework; arguably Capra's best and most typical work.****


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26th Dec 2012

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Hugo

Touching homage to cinema from that guy that did Goodfellas, tucked away behind a broad brushstrokes kids film.


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25th Dec 2012

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