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David
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Shrek

A smart, funny, and endearing modern day fairy story movie which manages to be as popular with adults as it is with children.

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Shrek 2

The first Shrek film was such a critical and commercial success because of its smart writing and directing and, with the voice talents of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz, two lead characters who were fully rounded, funny, and identifiable.

By keeping the core cast intact and introducing new characters in the form of Princess Fiona's parents (voiced superbly by John Cleese and Julie Andrews), the wonderful Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders), Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) and Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas), this sequel manages to stay fresh with an entertaining and endearing storyline, great characters, and animation that still looks superb a decade after it was theatrically released.

As sequels go, it may not be Toy Story 2 or The Godfather Part II, but it is a film which is both laugh out loud funny and emotionally engaging.

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Shrek the Third

I always feel this is overwritten and little baggy without the wit and intelligence of the previous two films. Part of the problem is that the story with Artie (Justin Timberlake) never has the emotional impact it should, and the the chemistry between the characters isn't as strong as the first two films in the series. There are a few good laughs but it's a fairly mediocre film which is mostly redeemed by the feeling it leaves you with because of the final scene.

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Shrek Forever After

Much darker in tone than the previous Shrek films, this one is clearly challenging Frank Capra's Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life as it sees Shrek looking at a world where he had never been born. As with Capra's film, it sees protagonist yearning for everything he left behind, a life which was previously leading to a sense of ennui and a very, very short fuse.

The tonal shift is welcome following the third instalment in the Shrek series this one seems more introspective and soulful than the films which succeeded because they were comedic riffs on traditional fairy tales and movie tropes.

The tone is reflected in the aesthetics, so the film is visually darker, but still has superb animation and, again, a brilliant cast to lend their characters their vocal talents to great effect.

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1917
Scarecrows
Straight Outta Compton
Drive Angry
Steve Jobs
Little Women

This latest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's celebrated novel is an absolute delight and a triumph of filmmaking by Greta Gerwig. It is very cleverly written, incorporating how the book was written and the visualisation of the book, all using the same cast.

It's a film that looks as if the production costs are high, with great costumes, make-up, and all other aspects of the production department who have recreated 19th-century New England on location, so it feels authentic. The film has a lush, evocative soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat and a magnificent ensemble cast including Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern, Tracey Letts, Bob Odenkirk, and Meryl Streep without a single weak link.

This is Gerwig's second collaboration with Ronan after 2017's multiple Oscar-nominated Lady Bird, and it would be astonishing if history wasn't repeated with Gerwig and Ronan receiving Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Actress, respectively.

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A Most Wanted Man

In his final film, the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman shows exactly why he was generally acclaimed as one of the finest living screen actors.

With this beautifully plotted adaptation of the John le Carré novel of the same name, Anton Corbijn (a director I've liked since his music videos for Nirvana, Metallica and U2) shows he is more than just a music video director, building on the promise he showed with the brilliant Control (2007) and The American (2010) to make a film with increasing levels of suspense, making it a thoroughly engrossing experience.

This isn't something you can put on while ironing or browsing the Internet, but a film which deserves your full attention and rewards your time and mental energy, drawing you into a web of espionage with a powerful dénouement.

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South Park: 22x06 Time to Get Cereal

Great episode. It is a bit like the saying how it takes a big person to say sorry, so Matt and Trey basically apologising for ridiculing Al Gore and, by extension, climate change in something which is funny and meaningful is quite an achievement and reflects well on them. I hope there's a continuation of this story arc next week.

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