My Dinner with Andre (1981)


In the three decades since its release, My Dinner with Andre has gained a reputation as a poster child of boring and pretentious art films. As its title indicates, it consists of nothing more than two people sitting down for dinner and having a conversation for two hours. Andre Gregory and Shawn Wallace play characters who appear to be thinly veiled versions of themselves. Having not seen each other for a number of years, Shawn is surprised to receive a dinner invitation from Andre and reluctantly agrees. Andre then proceeds to regale him with stories of the adventures he has had over the past five years.

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The Raid 2 (2014)


The first The Raid was a genuine eye-opener that gave new meaning to the word “visceral”. Cinema-goers who have been inured to sanitized Hollywood fighting were reminded that physical violence causes actual pain and damage. You couldn’t help but wince at the snapped bones, crushed cartilage and mutilated tissue that are the inevitable result of people seriously trying to kill one another. It turned the limitation of its low budget to its advantage, setting the entire film within the confines of a single apartment complex and focusing on the fighting with laser-like intensity.

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The Counselor (2013)


Ridley Scott is of course a celebrated Hollywood director, even if he is actually British, especially notable to me for such films as Alien, Blade Runner and Black Hawk Down. Unfortunately his recent output is of more questionable merit. Like many people, I was enthusiastic when Prometheus was first announced, but ultimately didn’t bother to watch it because its reviews were so uniformly bad.

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The Seventh Seal (1957)


Despite the extra care and seriousness with which I’ve taken to watching films recently, my knowledge of cinema remains sadly inadequate. There remain an endless number of classics of world cinema that I really should watch but have never done so. I must include in this the entirety of the work of Ingmar Bergman, a film-maker  whom I have always found to be too intimidating and perhaps inscrutable to approach.

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Noroi (2005)


Japanese horror films have a reputation for being both creative and being actually scary. Most American horror films by contrast aspire to little more than gore and jump-scares. This one was recommended by a regular on Broken Forum and because it has been a while since I have watched an entry in the  J-Horror genre, I decided to give this one a whirl.

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City of Life and Death (2009)


The Nanking Massacre is well known as a rallying call for Chinese nationalism and a sore point of contention in Sino-Japanese relations. Given the prickliness of Chinese pride in recent years, it was always doubtful that China could be capable of producing an even-handed account of the tragedy. City of Life and Death however has been excellent reviews by a number of foreign critics so I thought it might be worth watching.

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The unexamined life is a life not worth living