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The Raven: murders inspired by Edgar Allan Poe stories mark him as a suspect, however he and the police must use his specific knowledge to crack the case and find the real killer. Despite Renner, McGregor and Phoenix being marked for the lead, I don’t think any would have been as entertaining as Cusack, who film heavily relies on to elevate it above a standard thriller – he nailed the hard job of playing a watchable, likable asshole. Supporting cast are also solid, from Evans doing a Nelson Van Alden to Alice Eve‘s boobs and teeth – Gleeson‘s accent though, WTF?! The story’s dark, accompanied with some explicit gore and graphic death scenes. There’s some sneaky misdirection towards the end, and the killer could have been anyone really; the post script in Paris is also a little out of tone with the rest of the movie. It’s well-directed, with some great suspense built up, particularly in the pursuit and masked ball scenes – it also never drags. The script is generally good, although there’s some tactical swearing and spats of dialogue that seemed a little obvious and uninspired for such a great mind. Sure, a killer looming over foggy candle-lit 1800s streets isn’t a new idea, but I’m surprised at the heavy critical bashing this has taken; although perhaps it’s because this is only my first Poe movie, so have no comparison? For me, The Raven was a thoroughly enjoyable, old-fashioned, ‘classical’, gothic, Hammer-esque, atmospheric murder mystery romp with a hint of Giallo – and all the better for being a blend of fact, fiction and Poe’s famous works.

Score: 7.5/10

Sex and the City 2: The gals have another fashion-fuelled 90 minutes on the silver screen. I went in expecting the worst; a gratuitous reprise at best, but was quite surprised to find that it was at least a film of two halves. The first of which was quite respectable; setting the scene again, and playing on different kinds of relationships, which most couples could relate to. There was a bunch of cameo appearances and The Irish Nanny (!!), Penelope Cruz & Kim Cattrall kept things interesting for us gents too. All was well. Unfortunately the second half in Abu Dhabi was atrocious, losing sight of everything – including what little plot and story had been developed – to focus on flogging the “Eastern values / Western values culture clash horse; the only thing holding it together was Samantha’s filthy, but funny, one-liners. The most irritating thing for me was that every single time a character cracked a ‘funny’ another would force out a terrible laugh… every damn time. Even though Sex and the City 2 was as shallow as a puddle, camper than a row of tents, and desperately milking a franchise I have to say… I… kind of… enjoyed it?! (Yes, I hate myself for typing that – Male Fail). It’s not supposed to be serious so I switched off, sat down and enjoyed it for the most part. Brownie points from my better half in the bag too.

Score: 6/10