The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)


Perhaps my first review was over-harsh (, but nevertheless I feel this version misses a lot of what makes the 1958 film so good.  Rather than being a critique of 1950s American paranoia, this version is rather more running away from the military, and some random destruction by robot bugs and less of the Earth actually standing still.

WALL.E (2008)


A lovely story of intergalactic friendship, with a healthy dose of environmentalism, all set to the incredible sounds of Ben Burt.  Top notch design and animation on both Wall-e and Eve creating real empathy with these personified robots.

RED (2010)


A very fun, tongue in cheek action thriller.  Inventively directed by Robert Schwentke and cleverly shot (I particularly liked “travelling by postcard”) and the all star cast hit pretty much all the right notes, including a great Richard Dreyfus role.

The story was fairly straightforward with enough intrigue and twists to keep it fresh.  All this make for a surprisingly fun film, more so than I expected.  But, you know, that’s just, like, my opinion man.

Zootopia (2016)


On the one hand this is a cartoon about a bunny wanting to be a cop, with lots of fish-out-of-water gags as the naive rabbit is variously patronised.  On the other hand, the main themes of standing up for what you believe in as well as cultural/racial tolerance are really quite serious.  This last point is particularly relevant in the political climate these days as some people believe that all members of one particular religious group are evil.

Of course this is a Disney animated kids film though, and as such it does everything right.  The jokes are thick and fast, the creation of the utopian animal world is excellent with so much detail that repeat viewings will doubtless reveal ever more unnoticed touches, and the voice cast it excellent.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)


I’ve not been aware of anything else that the Russo brothers have done, and, apart from the sequence on the ship at the start of the film which gave me a headache because the camera was all over the place, the direction was fine.  Nothing particularly fancy or inventive, but not ham fisted either.  Just fine.  However, the direction was probably helped by a great story.

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Paddington (2014)



I’ve not heard of director Paul King before, but what he’s done with Paddington is craft a clever, witty and heart-warming film.  With a plot which contains a couple of stories from the first of Michael Bond’s book about the bear from Darkest Peru, the main theme is that of wanting to belong and finding one’s place in the world as Paddington comes to London to find somewhere to live.

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