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You're reading a comic book? What are you, retarded?

Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut (2009)
(SPOILERS) It’s a decade since the holy grail of comic books finally fought through decades of development hell to land on the big screen, via Zach Snyder’s faithful but not faithful enough for the devoted adaptation. Many then held the director’s skills with a much more open mind than they do now – following the ravages he has inflicted on the DCEU – coming as he was off the back of the well-received 300. Many subsequently held that his Watchmen, while visually impressive, had entirely missed the point (not least in some of its stylistic and aesthetic choices). I wouldn’t go that far – indeed, for a director whose bombastic approach is often only a few notches down from Michael Bay (who was, alarmingly, also considered to direct at one point), there are sequences in Watchmen that show tremendous sensitivity – but it’s certainly the case that, even or especially in its Ultimate Cut form and for all the furore the change to the end of the story provoked,…
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I’d kill you too, Keanu. I’d kill you just for fun, even if I didn’t have to.

Always Be My Maybe (2019)
(SPOILERS) The pun-tastic title of this Netflix romcom is a fair indication of its affably undemanding attributes. An unapologetic riff on When Harry Met Sally, wherein childhood friends rather than college attendees finally agree the best thing to be is together, it’s resolutely determined to cover no new ground, all the way through to its positive compromise finale. That’s never a barrier to a good romcom, though – at their best, their charm is down to ploughing familiar furrows. Always Be My Maybe’s problem is that, decent comedy performers though the two leads may be – and co-writers with Michael Golamco – you don’t really care whether they get together or not. Which isn’t like When Harry Met Sally at all.

Bleach smells like bleach.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)
(SPOILERS) I’d like to be able to say it was beyond me how Clint’s misery-porn fest hoodwinked critics and the Academy alike, leading to his second Best Picture and Director double Oscar win. Such feting would naturally lead you to assume Million Dollar Baby was in the same league as Unforgiven, when it really has more in common with The Mule, only the latter is likeably lightweight and nonchalant in its aspirations. This picture has buckled beneath the burden of self-appointed weighty themes and profound musings, which only serve to highlight how crass and manipulative it is.

A distillation designed to eliminate the George Washington syndrome.

The Avengers 6.14: False Witness
Season Six has found something approaching form over the past four or five episodes. You wouldn’t mistake them for peak-Avengers fare, but they’ve hit a certain groove, especially since Mother has joined as regular. False Witness is a story played mostly straight, and succeeds on those terms, yet its (absurd) premise – a drug that compels the victim to respond to “yes” as “no” and “no” as “yes” and any variations of the same – could easily have been played entirely for laughs. Notably too, it’s another Jeremy Burnham teleplay, who earlier took to the series like a duck to water with You’ll Catch Your Death.

You have six minutes in which to win, or lose, our game of Super Secret Agent.

The Avengers 6.13: Game
If you’re casting around for villain seeking revenge… look no further than Peter Jeffrey (4.9: Room without a View, 5.15: The Joker). In The Joker, he wanted payback against Mrs Peel, whereas this time, Steed’s on his list. Jeffrey’s a formidable presence even in a limited role, of course, and Game – a disappointingly spartan title – can at least boast variety of content, particularly during the finale.

He made me look the wrong way and I cut off my hand. He could make you look the wrong way and you could lose your whole head.

Moonstruck (1987)
(SPOILERS) Moonstruck has the dubious honour of making it to the ninth spot in Premiere magazine’s 2006 list of the 20 Most Overrated Movies of all Time. There are certainly some valid entries (number one is, however, absurd), but I’m not sure that, despite its box office success and Oscar recognition, the picture has a sufficient profile to be labelled with that adjective. It’s a likeable, lightweight romantic comedy that can boast idiosyncratic casting in a key role, but it simply doesn’t endure quotably or as a classic couple matchup the way the titans of the genre (Annie Hall, When Harry Met Sally) do. Even its magical motif is rather feeble.

In England, Colonel, the historic mission of the proletariat consists almost entirely of momentary interest.

Billion Dollar Brain (1967)
(SPOILERS) A reluctant Ken Russell (his second feature, and helming under protest, so he said) at least ensures this final (well, until the ‘90s, if we really mustgo there) looks good. Crucially, however, it’s all but devoid of internal tension, except momentarily when Harry experiences an altercation or two with a couple of heavies. Which invariably leads to a ream of exposition from his captor; this is about as far from an espionage investigation or mystery begging to be solved as it gets, and while the Bond comparisons batted its way are slightly unfair, Billion Dollar Brain does support a similarly incidental approach to plotting.

Don’t care much for Berlin, sir. You’re liable to get your head shot off.

Funeral in Berlin (1966)
(SPOILERS) A serviceable follow-up to The Ipcress File, but conclusive evidence that it wasn’t Michael Caine’s insolent performance as Harry Palmer alone – “You really work on the insubordinate bit, don’t you?” – that made it special. With Sydney J Furie conspicuously absent (Harry Salzman very much did not ask him to return), the directorial reins were passed to reliable go-to Guy Hamilton (Goldfinger). While Otto Heller returns as cinematographer, painting a suitably drab, austere Berlin, Bond editor Peter Hunt is absent, and so is the indelible score (Konrad Efers replaces John Barry). Gone too are the pep and verve of the original. This could be any Cold War spy movie, but with a pair of spectacles and an occasional quip.

You're always sorry, Charles, and there's always a speech, but nobody cares anymore.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)
(SPOILERS) To credit its Rotten Tomatoes score (22%), you’d think X-Men: Dark Phoenix was a travesty that besmirched the name of all good and decent (read: MCU proper) superhero movies, or even last week’s underwhelming creature feature (Godzilla: King of Monsters has somehow reached 40%, despite being a lesser beast in every respect). Is the movie’s fate a self-fulfilling prophecy, what with delayed release dates and extensively reported reshoots? Were critics castigating a fait accompli turkey without giving it a chance? That would be presupposing they’re all sheep, though, and in fairness, other supposed write-offs havecome back from such a brink in the past (World War Z). Whatever the feelings of the majority, Dark Phoenix is actually a mostly okay (twelfth) instalment in the X-franchise – it’s exactly what you’d expect from an X-Men movie at this point, one without any real mojo left and a variable cast struggling to pull its weight. The third act is a bi…