Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

More stars than the heavens

Like most critics, I will take any opportunity to rant about the star-rating system that has become unavoidable in the majority of publications over the last 20 years. Indeed, I wrote a lengthy blog post about it two years ago. …

Wed, Sep 5, 2012, 13:51

   
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Like most critics, I will take any opportunity to rant about the star-rating system that has become unavoidable in the majority of publications over the last 20 years. Indeed, I wrote a lengthy blog post about it two years ago. So, I won’t do so again.

Despite my whining, I have to admit that I do pay attention to the ratings on reviews and occasionally find myself monitoring trends in such things. Indeed, sad fellow that I am, I often glance at the release schedule and wonder if there is any hope of this or that week’s Ticket featuring the full range of one- to five-star reviews. It happens extremely rarely. There was an incident earlier this year, but the five-star film was a re-release — Antonioni’s Red Desert, I believe — so that didn’t count. I honestly can’t remember the last time that it happened. It is certainly several years ago.

Anyway, not that you care, this week’s Ticket carried the full range. If you are a maniac, you can work your way from garbage heap to nirvana without leaving the cinema. (Well, you may have to change cinemas. But you know what I mean.)

The films were…

A FEW BEST MEN: Dire, dire, dire Australian wedding comedy. *

TOTAL RECALL: Shoddy, perfunctory science fiction remake. **

IN THE DARK HALF: Promising near-horror set in Bristol. ***

SAMSARA: Hypnotically beautiful follow-up to Baraka. ****

BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO: Brilliantly knotty study of the sound designer’s lot. *****

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