Review Roundup - You Know the Name...

SKYFALL (2012)

James Bond is back, what a shocker. I enjoyed nearly everything they did with Casino Royale which still holds up as a really edge of your seat action adventure, with just enough hints of characterisation to keep me involved. The set pieces and the score also helped a lot. What keeps me watching in this sort of thing however is the pacing of events and the staging of the action. The badly thought out sequel in the other hand took things in totally the wrong direction with all the shaky cam rubbish. Someone was desperate to remain relevant and ape the likes of Jason Bourne. But they're back again to give it another shot. The reactionary nature of this series is well documented, is this a return to form or at least an improvement?

Review Roundup - It's about time...

LOOPER (2012)

Rian Johnson's ultra stylish time travel thriller almost lives up to the positive buzz, thanks to some great performances all round and some nifty near-but-not-quite here yet future ideas that nicely realise the world without going overboard on visual effects.

Review Roundup - Kaneda??


A director like Danny Boyle venturing back into to the creepy stuff is always good news. His more human films are often excellent, but I do have a thing for horror and suspense when they're done well. Throw in some science fiction style exploration, some existential dread and a few set pieces involving the vacuum of space and I'm good to go.

Scores Explained


While ten star ratings do admittedly offer some nuance, they often confuse me. How much worse than nine is eight? Is everything below six worthless? How far from give stops being average? There's just too much going on and I don't like it. I don't like change. Admittedly there are many levels that need to be expressed at times, but they're usually levels of bad. I have of course got into them when writing elsewhere and I really have to distinguish a three from a four out of ten.

But here I try and stick to using a simple five points rating, from great ... to irate. These are basically satisfaction ratings so don't expect one particular three star movie to be comparable to another in a straight up way. Things that work in one instance may not in another, and a mid tier action film and a mid tier drama have to work in their own right and inside their own genre. There are many factors to consider, these are simply how satisfied I felt at the end of the day when considering the overall pros and cons.

5/5 ☆☆☆☆
Flawless victory? Well nothing's perfect. Except when they are. It's a big personal preference, and this is a rare score given to those movies which give me a certain vibe or a particular feeling. Something that really strikes a nerve and leaves a mark. Often they are films that I have seen many times before and have grown to this status with time, but every so often one will come along. A rare score from me. Platinum medal.

4/5 ☆☆☆☆
A good movie and a standard recommendation. Some flaws may be present but they can be overlooked as it's still a satisfying experience overall. Very entertaining, or engaging. No anticlimaxes or weak acts during the narrative unless they're very minor. Whether or not I would consider watching it multiple times is another question but there are qualities here to be considered. Gold medal.

3/5 ☆☆
Disappointing in some ways but still okay. A story that falls down due to notable flaws but isn't a total train wreck. Has some good points to talk about but is never brilliant except perhaps in short bursts. Perhaps watchable or even something I like to revisit frequently but never excellent outside a few memorable moments. Perhaps one element spoils the fun or it's just not exceptional overall. This is where things get sketchiest and an average acceptable film can get the same as a mild let down. Silver medal.

2/5 ☆☆
Below average with big flaws that detract from the film. There may be things I like but there are not enough to win me over. Often a big failure to capitalise on certain elements in what might have been a good idea but is poorly executed. Perhaps the pieces are all here but they've been scattered rendering them almost useless. Not rock bottom but doesn't go anywhere towards being watchable either. A failure to be interesting consistently or something that just becomes boring outside a few scenes. Bronze medal.

Useless, or truly annoying. The good points are barely visible or totally overshadowed; it's just sunk by too many holes. Incredibly disappointing or tedious. Sometimes simple movie making incompetence is shown, but it may be very dull or very irritating. Maybe both. Tin medal.