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  • The Grand Budapest Hotel

    The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 15 Mar, 2014

    Ohhh, daaarling. In doing Fantastic Mr. Fox, I think, Wes Anderson came to the valuable conclusion that actors and sets ought really to be treated in much the same way. Hence the label of "dollhouse" that, despite its saturation, really does fit here. Where the whimsy of Moonrise Kingdom was just a mite too much for me, here the self-aware historical structure allows a neat distance from the decadence, like those many lovely moments where one character will stop another…

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel

    The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

    ★★★★ Rewatched 01 Jan, 2015

    One of my many New Year's resolutions (I know, who'd have thought I was a closet optimist all along?) is to keep up-to-date here on LB, cos that did not work out well last year. Gonna cheat a bit here and just copy the few 'graphs I wrote for Next Projection's annual awards even before this rewatch, but hey, anything to get that little reviewed icon showing, eh?

    Best Actor - Ralph Fiennes
    The finest example yet of Wes Anderson’s…

  • Django Unchained

    Django Unchained 2012

    ★★★½ Watched 18 Jan, 2013 4

    It was about 90 minutes into Django Unchained that I turned to myself and, slightly aghast, asked:

    "Is this Tarantino's best work to date Ronan?"
    "It could be," I replied, just as surprised to be saying it as I was to be suddenly engaged in a dialogue with myself, "It's yet another of his gratuitously violent revenge fantasies, but it's rooted in a surprisingly affecting emotional foundation and almost unbearably entertaining."
    "Right," I nodded, "His strengths are here particularly strong,…

  • The Wolf of Wall Street

    The Wolf of Wall Street 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 04 Feb, 2014 3

    "Sell me this man".

    That, there, is the task Scorsese took upon himself in making The Wolf of Wall Street, to use this drug-soaked sprawl of an epic to dupe us into delighting in sharing in the atrocious antics of his Jordan Belfort. And if ever there was a man to succeed in aligning us to risible fellows, it was Scorsese. I went in, obviously, already with an opinion: not of the film's quality, in any respect, but of the…

  • Gravity

    Gravity 2013

    ★★★★½ Added

    Review from my 2013 Top Ten: #5

    The film student in me was fascinated, the critic in me was compelled, the existentialist in me was enveloped, but above all the child in me was elated by the awe-inspiring enormity of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, surely the final word in the debate as to digital’s long-perceived “inferiority” to film. What an immaculate achievement this is, a movie that thrusts us into the great unknown with a technically-driven theatricality that lends every cut…

  • Gravity

    Gravity 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 07 Nov, 2013 1

    Proof positive that the animation that is digital technology—or painting with pixels, as Lev Manovich would have it—has reached a point of expression that allows its abstractions every bit as much verisimilitude as does live-action, and also—much more importantly—that as unreal as cinematic imagery may be allowed to become as we progress further into these new realms, it's the emotional reality that keeps us attached.

  • 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…

  • Birdman

    Birdman 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 03 Jan, 2015

    Nosedives into dreadfully self-serious hokum at times, and most of its ideas have all the subtlety of a neon-flanked Broadway sign, but my gosh is it fun(ny). And that, really, is the Big Achievement here: the single-shot* conceit is a little too strained to efficiently make the point that technical spectacle is not the realm of the blockbuster alone (give us another time-lapse sky shot, sure, Alejandro), but the pulse-teasing pace of the thing sure reminds you that there's big…

  • The Avengers

    The Avengers 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 26 Apr, 2012

    When I first heard Joss Whedon was the man chosen for the job, my immediate thought was "...why?" I like Whedon as much as any other sane person, but with three cancelled TV shows and an underperforming movie to his name, he seemed an odd choice to helm the point of convergence of four multi-million dollar franchises. Having seen the finished product in the company of a massive turnout, I finally got it. This movie is a guaranteed profit; you…

  • The Avengers

    The Avengers 2012

    ★★★★ Rewatched 11 May, 2012

    Thoughts on a rewatch:
    —It is a little slow to start, as some have complained. Didn't think it first time, so probably a symptom of knowing what's to come.
    —Cap is still the best Avenger. His relationship with each of the other three is perfect, plus he has believable connections to most of the support.
    —Whedon has stolen Tony Stark from Jon Favreau. This Stark is a billion times funnier than both individual outings thus far.
    —I can't recall the…

  • The Avengers

    The Avengers 2012

    ★★★★ Added

    Review from my VOD column "This Week on Demand"

    Among the myriad surprising things that surround Marvel’s shining centrepiece The Avengers—its staggering box office take, its successful connection of five other films, its proof that Marvel Studios’ seemingly self-destructive shared universe idea could actually work—what’s perhaps most striking of all is that it’s such a great movie. That the studio handed the most valuable set of keys in Hollywood to a helmer the like of Joss Whedon is indicative of…

  • Pulp Fiction

    Pulp Fiction 1994

    ★★★½ Added 1

    Review from my VOD column "This Week on Demand"

    I hardly need say much in support of Pulp Fiction, a film by now so indelibly intertwined with popular culture as to be impossible not to have experienced at some point, in some form. Even without having seen the film—unthinkable as that is—almost every person connected to the modern world will be familiar with its multitude of famous lines, scenes, and characters. It’s undoubtedly the purest distillation of Tarantino’s pulpy proclivities,…