RSS feed for Ronan
  • 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 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 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 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…

  • 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 2013

    ★★★★ 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.