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How's this for a hatchet job?
John Carter is one of those films that is so stultifying, so oppressive and so mysteriously and interminably long that I felt as if someone had dragged me into the kitchen of my local Greggs, and was baking my head into the centre of a colossal cube of white bread. As the film went on, the loaf around my skull grew to the size of a basketball, and then a coffee table, and then an Audi. The boring and badly acted sci-fi mashup continued inexorably, and the bready blandness pressed into my nostrils, eardrums, eye sockets and mouth. I wanted to cry for help, but in bread no one can hear you scream. Finally, I clawed the doughy, gooey, tasteless mass desperately away from my mouth and screeched: "Jesus, I'm watching a pointless film about a 1860s American civil war action hero on Mars, which the inhabitants apparently call Barsoom. I can't breathe."
That was Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian. It's fair to say he wasn't taken with the movie.
His counterpart on the Times, Kate Muir, takes even less time to dismiss a newly-released gangster flick:
You just want to shove Hard Boiled Sweets "dahn the khazi" and flush - and that's exactly what happens to the head of Cockney gangster Jimmy. Hackneyed and crass, this so-called thriller has each gangster, pimp or prostitute represented by a different boiled sweet. So Jimmy is 'The Mint Imperial: the king of mints even though it looks like a mothball'. The script was also written in two minutes on a sweetie packet.
Paper Monitor enjoys a vituperative one-star review as much as the next office worker approaching the end of a busy week.
But sometimes wry condescension is more satisfying than bile.
David Edwards of the Daily Mirror's review of a remake of Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs concludes consolingly: "Rather than spinning wildly in his grave, Peckinpah is probably merely rotating."