RSS feed for Ronan
  • 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,…

  • 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 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.

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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 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 Dark Knight Rises 2012

    ★★★ Watched 20 Jul, 2012 2

    I'm starting this review without knowing what my rating will be, cos still I'm not sure what it deserves. It is something of a disappointment, this I know. I liked, but was baffled by the love for, Batman Begins when I watched it first, finding its aspects of realism appealing but its eventual descent into a traditional actiony third act with little dramatic stakes a waste of so much characterisation. Seeing The Dark Knight for just the first time the…

  • 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…

  • 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 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 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",…