RSS feed for Ronan
  • 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 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,…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • Pulp Fiction

    Pulp Fiction 1994

    ★★★½ Rewatched 16 Jan, 2013 1

    It's a strange case with Pulp Fiction, that I can listen to someone describe why they consider it among the greatest films ever made and nod heartily at each reason they provide, yet at the same time I rate it so (comparatively) low. It's merits are clear: the rhythm of its speech; the stylised sheen; the interweaving stories, crafting a hybrid super-narrative born of classical formulae; the exorbitant cool of Winston Wolf. I enjoy it hugely every time I watch…

  • The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight 2008

    ★★★★ Watched 17 Jul, 2012

    Having never before seen Christopher Nolan's alleged masterpiece of comic book adaptation, I figured I'd better finally get it watched ahead of the third installment's release. I'm glad to say I found it to be well deserving of much—though certainly not all—of its praise, being a significant improvement over its predecessor and a surprisingly involving work of dramatic engagement. Where Batman Begins faltered in the heavy-handed approach it took to its themes, with every second word of dialogue being "fear",…

  • 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.