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  • World of Tomorrow

    World of Tomorrow 2015

    ★★★½ Watched 22 Jun, 2015

    Same story as with (the feature length) It's Such a Beautiful Day for me: if this were my first Hertzfeldt, I dare say I'd adore it. But that was Everything Will Be Ok, and for all the ecstatic aesthetic invention on display here, I'm not sure I took anything from World of Tomorrow I didn't already get from that first encounter*. He's a pretty singular filmmaker, Don, but I'm starting to worry that singularity's being exhausted on a single idea, however dynamically dressed-up it might be.

    * Sudden recollection that I saw Rejected before the lot; huh, make that "first positive encounter", I guess.

  • Weekend

    Weekend 2011

    ★★★★ Rewatched 12 Jun, 2015

    It's always nice to have your take on a film subtly shift over multiple viewings to appreciate its nuance, but I can't help but look back on misreadings with a wince. To lament the film's dual normalisation of gay love and lust and its impassioned anger toward heteronormativity, as I once did, is rather to miss the point: we can't have this relationship just as the story of two people falling in love, because we haven't been allowed to. Haigh…

  • [REC]⁴ Apocalypse

    [REC]⁴ Apocalypse 2014

    ★★ Watched 14 Jun, 2015

    From a genuinely exciting first entry that gave us one of all-too-few astute uses of found footage to genuinely chilling effect to this, a horror so resolutely indistinct I've already forgotten exactly what happens. Had the misguided hope that Balaguero—who spent his time off from the franchise as Plaza made the at-least interesting Genesis crafting the terrific Sleep Tight—might bring something of note back into the series, but nope: any claim Rec ever had to noteworthiness in the genre is now confined to the history books. It's hard to even get too upset when this is so utterly, utterly bland.

  • Boys

    Boys 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 19 Jun, 2015

    Not even remotely distinctive in its coming-out-and-of-age narrative on paper, but there's such lovely life to Mischa Kamp's marvellous aesthetic—even if it's a tad over-eager in its extreme close-ups and slo-mo—that I couldn't help but be won over by the vibrant sensuality of it all. It helps, too, that the big stand-off into which it consistently threatens to devolve never quite happens: Boys is stuffed with the archetypes that always occupy these stories, but none of them quite behaves as expected; none get in the way of Kamp's deeply touching evocation of the simple, sublime joy of falling in love.

  • The Tribe

    The Tribe 2014

    ★★★ Watched 15 Jun, 2015

    Review from Next Projection

    Code Unknown, Michael Haneke’s masterpiece of miscommunication, concludes with the unsubtitled shot of a mute child signing, his half-minute gesticulations an evidently articulate evocation of a meaning to which the great majority of the audience, of course, will have no access. It’s the ideal bookend, together with the charades-centric opening scene, for a film fixated not only with the limits of language, but with the cinema’s capacity to transcend them too. That’s ostensibly the idea behind…

  • Set Fire to the Stars

    Set Fire to the Stars 2014

    ★★★ Watched 27 May, 2015

    Review from Next Projection

    Though it would take a purist pedant to legitimately lament the evolution of colour stock as a negative turning point in film history, there’s no doubt something was lost in Technicolor’s takeover as monochrome movies moved from mainstream to niche, and the basic joy of black and white became impossible to appreciate without express attention. It’s the great strength of Andy Goddard’s Set Fire to the Stars that its self-conscious emulation of yesteryear’s style in its…

  • Tab Hunter Confidential

    Tab Hunter Confidential 2015

    ★★★ Watched 20 May, 2015

    Review from Next Projection

    The long-lamented lack of an Academy Award for casting may come from the misgiving that the job’s all about booking big talent, but any aware audience appreciates the additions and ironies brought about by the tensions between player and played. That’s the tangential takeaway of Tab Hunter Confidential, a movie whose inability to entirely achieve its ostensible aims doesn’t preclude a poignant side-effect star studies success. As a portrait of the eponymous Hollywood heart-throb whose all-American…

  • Summer

    Summer 2014

    ★★ Watched 18 May, 2015

    Review from Next Projection

    “In the name of the father, the son, and almighty electricity” murmurs the petty paterfamilias of Summer from the head of his table, clumsily consolidating the movie’s key ideas in a way typical of this terribly erratic effort. Proposing a cultural context forged of vague religious heritage and emergent industrialisation, Dutch director Colette Bothof’s second feature’s backdrop is about as convincing as the set of a pre-school’s nativity play, and not nearly as charming. That’s a…

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    Mad Max: Fury Road 2015

    ★★★ Watched 24 May, 2015 2

    Do forgive what must—given its widespread adoration by everyone, ever—seem like silly contratianism for contratianism's sake, but I'm really convinced at this stage that I must just be No Fun Whatsoever. Doubtlessly Miller's something of a treasure for so wholeheartedly committing to action that's actively fucking bonkers, and I won't for a second suggest his shredding-through-a-sandstorm sensibility isn't refreshing to see in the same auditorium I've watched so much sterile blockbuster cinema of late, but between the front-loaded frame rate…

  • The Second Game

    The Second Game 2014

    ★★½ Watched 13 May, 2015

    Have all the time in the world for Porumboiu, but there's about ten minutes of allegorical anecdote here stretched across the space of ninety minutes of football, which—now—is the most sport I've ever watched all at once. It is beyond me to understand how people find football interesting, but demonstrably they do—chief among them Porumboiu Sr, who seems to enjoy this so much he just stops talking for moments on end. Nice idea. Very little more.

  • 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.