RSS feed for Ronan
  • 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,…

  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

    Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory 1971

    ★★★★ Rewatched 11 Jan, 2015

    Come with me, and you'll be, in a wooooorld of pure fucking terror at screamy Gene and his decapitated chicken tunnel. It's indicative of the singularity of Dahl's style that his works have manifested in such varied interpretations, none quite capable of interpreting his world without distorting its unique oddity; even more so than Roeg's The Witches, Willy Wonka comes awfully close, all the while adding in its own dash of classical Hollywood musical magic.

  • 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.

  • Predestination

    Predestination 2014

    ★★ Watched 01 Jan, 2015

    Review from Next Projection

    “Luck is the residue of design,” proffers Predestination enigmatically in one of the many lines of dialogue that betray this as a movie with neither to its credit. Playing out like a slapdash Frankenstein’s monster of hokey time travel twists and sci-fi set design, this latest effort from Daybreakers helmers Michael and Peter Spierig hasn’t the fortune to feel even accidentally interesting as it trundles on interminably toward its terribly telegraphed endpoint. It makes, at least,…

  • Blue Ruin

    Blue Ruin 2013

    ★★★★ Rewatched 08 Jan, 2015

    Funnier for me this time, and yet somehow so lingeringly disconcerting in its violence too. Mmm, this Saulnier chap's got it going on alright. I previously had the minor criticisms that the ending's a little forced and the underlying social critique's a little undercooked. I previously was a fool.

    Oh, and Macon Blair. That man would have made millions in the silent era.

  • The Most Dangerous Game

    The Most Dangerous Game 1932

    ★★½ Watched 06 Jan, 2015

    If you can forgive the hilariously flaccid hero, the utterly redundant romance ("these two are opposite genders, that could work" is, in fairness, as good a start as many a marriage those days got), the entirely insufficient screentime for an otherwise entertaining villain, and the dog fistfight denouement atop a waterfall (srsly), then... well, then you're rather more forgiving than I am, really.

  • Stranger by the Lake

    Stranger by the Lake 2013

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 30 Dec, 2014

    2014 Top Ten: #1

    Much as I may have proclaimed What Now? Remind Me as the year’s greatest love story, it’s this deceptively simple thriller that says more than any other film this year—and many more before it—about love. Superlatives be damned: Stranger by the Lake is a movie of technical perfection, meeting the stunning sun-streaked cinematography of Claire Mathon with Jean-Christophe Hym’s exceptional on-the-beat editing to craft a picture as fine-tuned as any I’ve ever seen. But it’s less…

  • The Congress

    The Congress 2013

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 15 Nov, 2014

    2014 Top Ten: #2

    Imagine having to follow-up the masterpiece that was Waltz with Bashir, Ari Folman’s extraordinary animated documentary debut that stands, for my money, as one of the finest films ever made. And imagine doing so as well as he does with The Congress: here we have confirmation of one of the world’s foremost film talents, a narrative segue that transplants Forman’s formidable abilities in reconstituting and re-realising reality through the seeming security of a screen to a…

  • 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…