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  • The Man Who Sleeps

    The Man Who Sleeps 1974

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 21 Apr, 2015

    Imagine that devastating Dianne Wiest-delivered voiceover that concludes Synecdoche, New York stretched to 77 minutes, and you might have some idea why I struggled to sit still in the course of this film. It is too real, really, too close to the way I perceive the world, and too good at pointing out the perils of that perception. It is at once—by way of depiction—a validation of the way I think and a challenge to it, a welcome show of…

  • Starry Eyes

    Starry Eyes 2014

    ★★ Watched 18 Apr, 2015

    Another day, another ho-hum horror to make me seriously sceptical of any popular good word within the genre. A strong central performance and committed direction can't overcome the issues of a supporting cast that's dedicatedly inexpressive and a central conceit that might, at best, be excused as earnestly overzealous. It's just a hot mess, really, neither able to sell its subtlety-free allegories for more than a second nor skirt the sense that its visceral provocation—like so much of its makeup—is anything more than an indulgence in commercially-viable cliché. Snore.

  • Goodbye to Language 3D

    Goodbye to Language 3D 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 25 Mar, 2015

    I've scoffed at Godard's soi-disant radicalism before, but there's something about, y'know, actually seeing a movie within the context it's addressing that really emphasises the enormity of what's going on. Not too keen on this genre? Close an eye, try another! Sick of the male gaze? Shut that lid, look to wangward! Not entirely on-board with everything that's going on here, but happy to hold my hand up high and call myself a convert.

  • Spring

    Spring 2014

    ★★★ Watched 26 Mar, 2015

    Never quiiiite nails the kind of Possession-esque body horror allegory for which it so admirably shoots, but that it makes an effort on that scale is almost impressive enough in itself. It's an ambitious piece that benefits from a strong, subtle directorial sensibility and a pair of performances that really, truly commit, no matter the nonsensicality of that which starts to unfold around them. That I couldn't help but laugh a few times is a mark against the movie; that I left it pretty won over all the same is indication enough of the strengths it has to its name.

  • A Clockwork Orange

    A Clockwork Orange 1971

    ★★★★ Rewatched 10 Mar, 2015

    Rewatch, now that I've read Burgess' source. Not entirely sure Kubrick's transgressive streak isn't actually responsible for exacerbating some of the novel's more concerning aspects, but no doubt his vision of the future is an efficiently over-the-top and exorbitantly articulated work of cinematic craftsmanship par excellence. It's also absolutely hilarious in that wonderful way that has you wishing you weren't cackling *quite* so much.

  • Gone Girl

    Gone Girl 2014

    ★★★ Watched 23 Mar, 2015

    Never did get around to reading the book, but having spoken to a good many people who did, it sounds like I'm not entirely incorrect in assuming this is another case of Fincher, the consummate craftsman, caring little for the material he's adapting in anything much more than a visual sense. It's rather nice to look at, no mistake, but if I'm to train my eyes on something—especially for so long; it could lose a half hour at least—I expect…

  • 22 Jump Street

    22 Jump Street 2014

    ★★★ Watched 22 Mar, 2015

    Little surprised to find myself enjoying this quite so much, but then it does not take a lot more than repurposing an Allen gag to homoerotic ends to get me on board.

  • Last Summer

    Last Summer 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 08 Mar, 2015

    Yes, its amateur production qualities and evidently first-time stars keep it from being anything extraordinary, but I can't let that stand in the way of the film's marvellously tender depiction of gay longing and—more importantly—the subtlety with which it's explored in a wider social context. An issue movie it ain't, but Mark Thiedeman has done something special here in both presenting a normalised depiction of homosexual romance and visually construing that which makes such a depiction, still, something noteworthy. See…

  • Ejecta

    Ejecta 2014

    ★★ Watched 28 Feb, 2015

    Review from Next Projection

    No movie that includes an accreditation for “taxidermy wrangler” has the right to be anything near as interminably unexciting as is Ejecta, whose implementation of that original credit is the sole shred of intrigue it manages to awaken. This—that resume-topping title aside—is a dreadful bore of a film, tediously trying to invigorate its over-familiar found-footage aesthetic with an alien interrogation framing device that only serves to distance the viewer all the more from its under-wrought efforts…

  • Waves

    Waves 2015

    ★★½ Watched 17 Feb, 2015

    Review from Next Projection

    A friend once asked whether that which wins Best Picture ought not also, by default, take Best Director, and—forgiving the technical ignorance—it’s not a difficult assumption to appreciate. That the idea of the respective Oscar statuettes being awarded to different films remains a relative novelty is indication enough that even at Hollywood’s heart, the strengths of a film and of its maker are thought of as all but inextricable. Thank goodness, then, for movies like Waves,…

  • The Backward Class

    The Backward Class 2015

    ★★★ Watched 15 Feb, 2015

    Review from Next Projection

    For all the gasps that may fill the cinema as Mala, one of the more prominently featured members of the eponymous group in The Backward Class, describes a vague recollection of an argument between her parents that left her mother ablaze, it’s the quiet moments of half-held gazes and forlorn looks that leave a far deeper impression. In chronicling the final year of these students’ journey to sit India’s university entrance exams—the first of their caste…

  • A Most Violent Year

    A Most Violent Year 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 10 Feb, 2015 3

    Doyle's Third Law of Cinema™
    Only in the most extraordinary of circumstances is the phrase "as you know" occurring in movie dialogue anything other than Exceedingly Ill-Advised.

    A Most Violent Year's frankly unforgivable committing of the cardinal sin of breaching this sacred law no fewer than four times is emblematic all at once of its most crippling weakness and the magnitude of its strengths, given that they allow it to be overcome. A brilliant filmmaker, Chandor proved his scripting skills…