RSS feed for Ronan
  • Leviathan

    Leviathan 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 17 Dec, 2014

    2014 Top Ten: #3

    The greatest shot of the year is that in which Leviathan announces itself a product of the Russian Ministry of Culture, a searing cinematic coup d’État that makes of this magnificent movie perhaps the most powerful political publication of the year. Brilliantly curating a smoke-and-mirrors story that has in essence allowed him to produce state-sponsored anti-state propaganda, Andrey Zvyagintsev deservedly took home the script award at Cannes this year, a fitting recognition of one of the…

  • The Dance of Reality

    The Dance of Reality 2013

    ★★★★ Rewatched 27 Dec, 2014

    2014 Top Ten: #4

    Would that but a fraction of those (rightly) touting the wonders of Jodorowsky’s Dune had sought out the eponymous director’s latest, the production of which that doc delightedly announces at its endpoint. It is illuminating to imagine the Chilean master’s failed Frank Herbert adaptation, but imagination alone is insufficient given a talent so utterly, enormously singular. Not since 1990’s Santa Sangre has the world had a movie anything like this, and nor shall it again until…

  • A Coffee in Berlin

    A Coffee in Berlin 2012

    ★★★★ Rewatched

    2014 Top Ten: #5

    It's not just the coincidence of seeing their posters set side-by-side that makes an effective double bill of Ida and Oh Boy (wastefully retitled A Coffee in Berlin for the US market to capitalise on alphabetical on-demand order): both grapple delicately—and dramatically differently—with the legacy of loss that looms over Europe in the modern age. Fluidly flipping from episodic comedy to dark dramatics with a searing self-analysis every bit as black and bitter as the elusive…

  • Enemy

    Enemy 2013

    ★★★★ Rewatched 31 Dec, 2014

    2014 Top Ten: #6

    Embracing potential is the name of the game in the latest from Denis Villeneuve, which opens on eerie oddity and proceeds only to get stranger still from there. Jake Gyllenhaal will continue to earn plaudits for his perky performance in the seventies cinema mash-up that is Nightcrawler, but it’s his dual performance here as Torontonian doppelgängers that’s the true career peak. Like the inevitably comparable The Double, Enemy is a film alive with obvious influences—from locations…

  • Under the Skin

    Under the Skin 2013

    ★★★★ Added

    2014 Top Ten: #7

    That what seems at the start so singular a cinematic experience should turn toward something comparably conventional en route to an endpoint is the terrible tragedy of Under the Skin, a movie that might easily have topped this list had it stayed the course. But as much as this meta-textual musing on gender and identity politics may bow to a more basic binary as it hits the highlands, Jonathan Glazer’s third feature outing as director is…

  • What Now? Remind Me

    What Now? Remind Me 2013

    ★★★★ Added

    2014 Top Ten: #8

    Indulgent, excessive, overbearing, and endlessly affecting for it, Joachim Pinto’s year-in-the-life study of an experimental new treatment for HIV is a work of astonishingly evocative honesty that captures human consciousness in a way next-to-no others have. Drugged-up and despairing, the director-cum-subject agonisingly intercuts his all-hours anguish with stirring scenes from the life to which he tries desperately to cling, movie and mindset intertwining in a nightmarish haze of transport and treatment. Inevitably assuming a role far…

  • Ida

    Ida 2013

    ★★★★ Added

    2014 Top Ten: #9

    Aesthetically indebted to the spiritually ponderous cinema of the time of its setting—think of the likes of Winter Light—Pawel Pawlikowski’s stunning study of selfhood in a snow- and smoke-shrouded post-war Poland might be the most beautifully-framed movie of the year, ironically espousing the impossibility of ever really containing past or present with its tight ratio and excess of overhead space. Hot off the desperately dull The Woman in the 5<sup>th</sup>, Pawlikowski enacts the sharpest and most…

  • Ernest & Celestine

    Ernest & Celestine 2012

    ★★★★ Rewatched 21 Dec, 2014

    2014 Top Ten: #10

    Few would have predicted the next film from Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier, the Belgian maestros behind the madcap stop-motion magic of A Town Called Panic, one of this young century’s most exceptional animated offerings, could seem so comparatively canon. But the ingenious duo, in pairing with Oscar-nominated A Mouse’s Tale director Benjamin Renner to adapt a much-beloved series of children’s novels, have not so much made a traditional animated picture as reminded us how reductive…

  • The Godfather

    The Godfather 1972

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 05 Jan, 2015 1

    Poppin' my housemates' Godfather cherries. They have eyes and ears and souls and sense, how do you think it went?

  • Make Way for Tomorrow

    Make Way for Tomorrow 1937

    ★★★★ Watched 04 Jan, 2015

    Ah, so that's how everyone felt after Love Is Strange then. Superlative performances. Don't you pretend you don't treat your folks like that too.

  • 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 Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

    The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! 1988

    ★★★★ Rewatched 02 Jan, 2015

    It's kind of a miracle the ZAZ approach to comedy ever worked at all. Back in the '80s, those guys had some really sticky shit.

    Achievement unlocked: write about The Naked Gun without just quoting The Naked Gun