RSS feed for Ronan
  • Solaris 2002

    ★★★½ Watched 25 Jan, 2015

    Not to be saying bad words about gorgeous George, who very generously serves up his peachy behind for our viewing pleasure no fewer than two times here, but he's oft-emblematic of Soderbergh's Solaris' uneasy tensions between heady and Hollywood sci-fi styles: wandering about this space station to the eerie accompaniment of Cliff Martinez's excellent score, he's got an ideally expressive face to communicate the strange sense of aimless isolation the story so well evokes; as a mouthpiece for some of…

  • American Sniper 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 18 Jan, 2015

    Given that he spent two films deconstructing perhaps the most iconic image of the stars and stripes in action, it is beyond baffling to me that so many can see Clint Eastwood and an American flag and cry jingoism without a deeper thought. So here's an only-slightly-irate essay I wrote for Next Projection: "Clint Eastwood and (Re-)Issues of American Masculinity"

    When, at an early juncture in American Sniper, Clint Eastwood frames Bradley Cooper in the doorway of a barn silhouetted…

  • The Imitation Game 2014

    ★★ Watched 19 Nov, 2014

    Feel it's about time I set to words my issues with this, given all those eyebrows I've cocked (my housemates just the other day wandered into the room looking terrified: "We have a confession to make. We liked The Imitation Game.") and the fact it just keeps festering, so here goes.

    Quite apart from the fact that's its a prototypical pudding of a biopic, feeling more like an inert montage of historical moments than a functional exercise in narrative storytelling,…

  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory 1971

    ★★★★ Rewatched 11 Jan, 2015

    Come with me, and you'll be, in a wooooorld of pure fucking terror at screamy Gene and his decapitated chicken tunnel. It's indicative of the singularity of Dahl's style that his works have manifested in such varied interpretations, none quite capable of interpreting his world without distorting its unique oddity; even more so than Roeg's The Witches, Willy Wonka comes awfully close, all the while adding in its own dash of classical Hollywood musical magic.

  • Roald Dahl's Esio Trot 2015

    ★★½ Watched 13 Jan, 2015

    Nonsensically unnecessary narration and a peculiar penchant for crude sexually suggestive humour don't wholly derail what is, in the end, a fair crack at fleshing out a pretty thin story. But the thinness, in the source, was part of what made it so wonderful: Esio Trot is Dahl at his most affably eccentric, and as much as Walsh's colourful aesthetic emphasises the strange sweetness of the source, the script from which she works loses the simplicity of it all with so much sub-par stuffing. Still, Dustin and Dench give it exactly what you'd expect. They are eminently watchable, which I suppose makes the movie so too.

  • Predestination 2014

    ★★ Watched 01 Jan, 2015

    Review from Next Projection

    “Luck is the residue of design,” proffers Predestination enigmatically in one of the many lines of dialogue that betray this as a movie with neither to its credit. Playing out like a slapdash Frankenstein’s monster of hokey time travel twists and sci-fi set design, this latest effort from Daybreakers helmers Michael and Peter Spierig hasn’t the fortune to feel even accidentally interesting as it trundles on interminably toward its terribly telegraphed endpoint. It makes, at least,…

  • Blue Ruin 2014

    ★★★★ Rewatched 08 Jan, 2015

    Funnier for me this time, and yet somehow so lingeringly disconcerting in its violence too. Mmm, this Saulnier chap's got it going on alright. I previously had the minor criticisms that the ending's a little forced and the underlying social critique's a little undercooked. I previously was a fool.

    Oh, and Macon Blair. That man would have made millions in the silent era.

  • The Most Dangerous Game 1932

    ★★½ Watched 06 Jan, 2015

    If you can forgive the hilariously flaccid hero, the utterly redundant romance ("these two are opposite genders, that could work" is, in fairness, as good a start as many a marriage those days got), the entirely insufficient screentime for an otherwise entertaining villain, and the dog fistfight denouement atop a waterfall (srsly), then... well, then you're rather more forgiving than I am, really.

  • Stranger by the Lake 2013

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 30 Dec, 2014

    2014 Top Ten: #1

    Much as I may have proclaimed What Now? Remind Me as the year’s greatest love story, it’s this deceptively simple thriller that says more than any other film this year—and many more before it—about love. Superlatives be damned: Stranger by the Lake is a movie of technical perfection, meeting the stunning sun-streaked cinematography of Claire Mathon with Jean-Christophe Hym’s exceptional on-the-beat editing to craft a picture as fine-tuned as any I’ve ever seen. But it’s less…

  • The Congress 2013

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 15 Nov, 2014

    2014 Top Ten: #2

    Imagine having to follow-up the masterpiece that was Waltz with Bashir, Ari Folman’s extraordinary animated documentary debut that stands, for my money, as one of the finest films ever made. And imagine doing so as well as he does with The Congress: here we have confirmation of one of the world’s foremost film talents, a narrative segue that transplants Forman’s formidable abilities in reconstituting and re-realising reality through the seeming security of a screen to a…

  • Leviathan 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 17 Dec, 2014

    2014 Top Ten: #3

    The greatest shot of the year is that in which Leviathan announces itself a product of the Russian Ministry of Culture, a searing cinematic coup d’État that makes of this magnificent movie perhaps the most powerful political publication of the year. Brilliantly curating a smoke-and-mirrors story that has in essence allowed him to produce state-sponsored anti-state propaganda, Andrey Zvyagintsev deservedly took home the script award at Cannes this year, a fitting recognition of one of the…

  • The Dance of Reality 2013

    ★★★★ Rewatched 27 Dec, 2014

    2014 Top Ten: #4

    Would that but a fraction of those (rightly) touting the wonders of Jodorowsky’s Dune had sought out the eponymous director’s latest, the production of which that doc delightedly announces at its endpoint. It is illuminating to imagine the Chilean master’s failed Frank Herbert adaptation, but imagination alone is insufficient given a talent so utterly, enormously singular. Not since 1990’s Santa Sangre has the world had a movie anything like this, and nor shall it again until…