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  • Magic Mike XXL

    Magic Mike XXL 2015

    ★★★½ Watched 29 Jun, 2015

    Review from Scannain

    “It feels like the first time,” Foreigner sang over the closing credits of Magic Mike back in 2012, “like we’ve opened up the door”. And boy, did that movie, to a frisky new franchise that’s both a prototypical product of today’s studio system and an all-too rare example of the various angles it often opts to ignore. Explicitly catering to the same mass multiplex audience each year’s slate of straight male fantasies leaves wanting, Magic Mike XXL

  • Lava

    Lava 2015

    ★★½ Watched 26 Jul, 2015

    Lavaing something doesn't make any fucking sense, Jesus Pixar.

  • Inside Out

    Inside Out 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 26 Jul, 2015

    Woke up after a particularly far-ranging and fluid-intaking catch-up night with an old friend with all the voices in my head united, for once, in a single sentiment: ouch. So naturally I crawled my way into a room stuffed with very loud children and proceeded to do my best to save even just a handful of them from drowning in the river of mine own tears I eventually sailed out on. Most of them (the tears) were of laughter, actually:…

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • Waves

    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

    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

    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…

  • Roald Dahl's Esio Trot

    Roald Dahl's Esio Trot 2014

    ★★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.

  • American Sniper

    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

    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,…