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No Country For Old Men
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The first truly deserving Best Picture Oscar winner in many a year, No Country For Old Men is simply one of the most mesmerising two hours of cinema ever made. To say it is a return to form for the Coen brothers is to do the film a disservice - this is more like a rebirth. Indeed, just about the highest compliment I can pay it is to say that it is, without doubt, the Coens finest film to date - and these guys gave us The Big Lebowski, Millers Crossing and Fargo. Immaculate acting, jawdroppingly beautiful cinematography, dialogue to die for and the best villian since Darth Vader - there just isn't one single remotely weak link in the movie. In fact, the only worrying thing is that I honestly can't see how the brothers will ever be able to top this - it's that perfect a film.
The Sopranos: The Final Episodes (Season 6 Part 2)
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Well, probably the greatest show ever, as HBO's little seen The Wire certainly gives it a good run for its money, but that's another story. The weakest of all the Seasons by a long way it has as many plodding episodes as great ones. It starts off strong with one of the best season openers ever but seems to lose its way long before the much maligned ending. Far too much focus on A.J. who, in all fairness, has always been one of few annoying characters in the show, absences of logic in things that well established characters do (including Tony - where did his gambling problem suddenly appear from?!), burst of violence that, for the first time ever in The Soprano's, seem over-stylised and gratuitous. And where has the humour gone? I understand that this was always going to be a 'dark' season, it could never have been anything else, but the complete lack of the jet black humour that has characterised the show since its inception is bewildering - much of it is borderline depressing to watch. And Phil Leotardo has proved himself a very dull adversary - criminal considering he's played by the legend that is Frank Vincent. For all my griping though, it's the final 9 episodes of TVs (probable) finest hour. I'm going to miss it like hell.
24: Season 6 Box Set (7 Discs)
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After the brilliance of Season 5 (the best Season by a country mile in my opinion) this was always going to have it's work cut out. But to fail so spectacularly was unexpected and sad. To say the writers seem out of ideas is the understatement of the year. Repetetive, at times downright silly and, most unforgivably, dull and boring for the most part this is just not good enough for a show that has (until now) been consistently superb since its debut season. There are far too many incredible shows out there at the moment - Heroes, The Wire, Battlestar Galactica to name but a few - for this to be anything like good enough. I live in hope though - for me all the weakest 24 seasons have been the 'even number' ones - 1,3 and 5 easily being the most gripping. Hopefully Season 7 will continue the trend and get the show back to its awesome best.