Captain America: The Winter Soldier

For the first hour of its running time, the somewhat inevitable Captain America sequel is not what you expect. For one, for a film based on the most square jawed of square jawed heroes appears to have the beginnings of a subversive streak. Secondly, the usual mismatched buddy aspect that has driven the other Marvel films of late is missing, replaced by something far sparkier (and a welcome relief from a more serious, down to ear,h plot). If it unfortunately slides into a more conventional Marvel pattern during the last half hour, it is at least more interesting in the manner in which it gets there. This isn’t top flight summer blockbuster territory (it doesn’t really explore any deeper issues then “big government is bad”), but it is solid entertainment.

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Thor: The Dark World

Thor’s back, but he’s pissed because someone’s forgotten the plot.

Okay that isn’t completely fair, but Thor: The Dark World (henceforth T:TDW) spends much of its slim running time getting by on the Hiddleston factor, using a hugely charismatic actor to do the emotional heavy lifting when there isn’t much else to do. The film noticeably improves whenever he’s on the screen, and the director realises that he’s both the star and the villain everyone wants to see, effectively reducing Christopher Ecclestone (clearly in “Cheque Please!” mode or being given very short shrift by the director) to a series of walk on cameos as he tries to progress the meagre plot.

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The Bourne Legacy

Now here’s an oddity. It’s not a remake, a reboot or strictly a sequel, but rather a branch from an existing movie franchise. It clearly exists in the same world, taking place at the same time as the latter half of the third film – and there are connections – but in many ways it feels like an attempt to shoehorn a new story onto an existing franchise to capitalise on brand recognition. It’s still a fun film, but somewhere along the way it doesn’t quite sit right meaning that it’s firmly middling in quality rather than a high point in the year that the last one was.

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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Cut Salmon Fishing in the Yemen in two, and written straight through it would be the words “A BBC Film”. This isn’t a criticism, but rather an indication of the sort of gentle, moderately sized and well intended film that it is. It’s never going to set the box office alight, nor win awards – indeed its likely fate is to end up being shown on a Sunday afternoon as a reminder about what the BBC does best.

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