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  • 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

  • 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…

  • The Graduate

    The Graduate 1967

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 01 Jan, 2015

    As we progress to noon on New Year's Day and more people start crawling out from under the furniture, what better to feed the post-party look-over-your-life-with-Janus blues than The Graduate? Cruel of me to show this to a horde of recently-graduated twenty-somethings, I know, but if Mike Nichols doesn't tell 'em who will? This has become for me one of those movies that speaks to me a little differently each life stage I watch it at, every incremental change in…

  • 12 Angry Men

    12 Angry Men 1957

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 01 Jan, 2015

    You can stuff your Birth of a Nations and Citizen Kanes, the second someone is silly enough to grant me influence over eager young film students' education, I'm showing them this. Cos what Sidney Lumet does here, other than making anyone who's ever been proud of doing a fine job of something on their first effort look like a blithering fool by comparison, is spin something theatrical and novelistic (i.e. inherently un-cinematic, by most standards) into a film that pretty…

  • Werckmeister Harmonies

    Werckmeister Harmonies 2000

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 09 Dec, 2014

    Part of Next Projection's series "Apocalyptic Poetry: The Films of Béla Tarr"

    Since the passenger train connecting the icebound estates of the southern lowlands, which extend from the banks of the Tisza almost as far as the foot of the Carpathians, had, despite the garbled explanations of a haplessly stumbling guard and the promises of the stationmaster rushing nervously on and off the platform, failed to arrive (‘Well, squire, it seems to have disappeared into thin air again . .…