Category Archives: Declan Cochran

Avengers Assemble, movie

Too punchy, too explodey, and it takes itself too seriously: Avengers Assemble (review)

Avengers Assemble, movie
Avengers Assembler: there are only two Avengers who have anything like a relationship… and it’s not these two

You’d be hard pushed to find someone at the moment who isn’t aware of the Avengers movie. Everywhere you look, from the IMDb top 250 to the sides of buses, you will see the Avengers. In truth, it was a little hard to know what to expect; on the one hand, this could be the same but bigger, with Iron Man, Thor, et al just doing their individual bit and leaving. On the other hand, this could have been something a bit more complex, a film that explores relationships within the group and ditches the recent Blockbuster conventions to deliver something deeper, that does justice to the decades of character that sprung from this film’s source, the Stan Lee Marvel comics.

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, movie

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – a bio-pic with vampires (review)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, movie
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: historically accurate… apart from the vampires

Presumably, a lot of eyes were rolled when this film was released onto the unsuspecting public. Taking a well-known historical figure and placing him in a film with some kind of contemporary twist has never, ever ended well for anyone (take Churchill, The Hollywood Years).

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11.14, movie

11:14, an obscure gem of a movie (review)

11.14, movie
11.14: Hilary Swank in the multi-viewpoint movie

This is one of those films you probably haven’t heard of, that remains obscure despite its big name cast (Hilary Swank and Patrick Swayze), and that is actually quite good. I watched it with the thought in my head that it’s a damn shame this wasn’t caught up by more people. It is an original and darkly funny little gem, mining the vein opened by Tarantino in intertwining stories and off the wall characters, and it overcomes its flaws with boldness.

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Hard Eight, movie

Hard Eight shows early signs of Paul Thomas Anderson’s talent (review)

Hard Eight, movie
Hard Eight: superb performances underpin Paul Thomas Anderson's first feature

When people talk about Paul Thomas Anderson (who is surely one of the best directors alive today) they think of There Will Be Blood, Magnolia, etc. All great films, most of which are worthy of the title ‘masterpiece’. Yet one film is invariably left unspoken of, and that is Hard Eight, his little-known, much-maligned first feature, which I’m told was riddled with studio interference.

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The Devil Inside, movie

The Devil Inside: more Spinal Tap than Blair Witch (review)

The Devil Inside, movie
The Devil Inside: ' horrendously jarring faux documentary style'

The Devil Inside begins with an unnecessarily expository sequence showing the gratuitous aftermath of the killing of three people. In a horrendously jarring faux documentary style, the camera lurches from body to body, before the killer, a possessed woman called Maria, leaps at the camera in what I roughly perceived to be a “jump” moment. But to jump would suggest a build-up of tension, which in turns shows some technical skill, and this dreadful film has none of those things in any measure.

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Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, movie

Goodwill abounds at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

 Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, movie
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Judi Dench and Celia Imrie, just two of the delightful bunch of actors that make up the movie

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a thoroughly charming and delightfully British effort, will no doubt become a stalwart of the Christmas and Boxing day rituals of years to come. It emanates goodwill out of every pore, with its delightful story of people at retirement age taking a trip to India to see the eponymous hotel in India, and finding it to be falling apart at the seams, as its manager, Sonny (Dev Patel), tries to make ends meet.

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Akira

Akira: cyberpunk, science fiction, nihilistic, post apocalyptic cinema

Akira
Akira is more than just an excellent Anime

Upon hearing of the remake, and being slightly aware of the influence and fanbase of this film, I finally made a conscious decision to watch it. It’s the Anime that non-Anime fans like, up there with Spirited Away, a massively popular piece of cyberpunk/science fiction/nihilistic/post apocalyptic cinema that transcends most genres and becomes a work of it’s own. Not just an excellent Anime, but an excellent movie: one that anybody with an appreciation of good movies can enjoy.

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The Artist, movie

The Artist may be novel, but it lacked the charm of a silent movie

The Artist, movie
The Artist: there's plenty of hype surrounding this novel film

This slender, slight film seems destined to pick up quite a few Oscars, and by the time you’re reading this, it probably has. I can see why. Even from the synopsis alone, you can tell it’s Oscar bait. A film about a silent movie star who fails to make the leap to talkies, and finds his career coming to a standstill while the girl he helped make it to the big screen overtakes him as the biggest talking movie star on the planet. And it’s predominantly silent, and in black and white.

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Exit Through The Gift Shop documentary

Exit Through The Gift Shop – in cahoots with Banksy

Exit Through The Gift Shop documentary
Exit Through the Gift Shop: a winning documentary about street art…

I am not the world’s biggest fan of documentaries, much though it shames me to say it. I often find them dry and uninteresting. I can’t invest in them in the same way I would with a fictional film. Unless it’s related specifically to something I am interested in personally, you’ll have to try very hard to get me to watch one.

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The Woman in Black

When it wants to be, The Woman in Black is a harrowing, atmospheric experience

The Woman in Black
Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman in Black, his first major outing since playing 'the boy who lived'

This film is many things. It’s atmospheric, tense, well made, it looks very good indeed, and it has a number of set-pieces that are on a par with the ones in Paranormal Activity. The director James Watkins has made this, when he wants it to be, genuinely scary, which is a rarity these days. When the film is inside the haunted house, it is very impressive, up there with such films as The Others.

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