RSS feed for Ronan
  • 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! 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 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 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 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 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 . .…

  • Last Words 1968

    ★★★ Watched 25 Oct, 2014

    You'll forgive the inherent auteurism when I say this sees an early emergence of Herzog's notion of the "ecstatic truth": the way he seems to prod the eccentrics that espouse nonsense to his camera constitutes both a bizarre divergence from the verisimilitude of the documentary format and, somehow, in the way they speak rather than the words they say, the reality of their lives. It's very strange, and strangely confident in itself too. And blimey does it look good.

  • Hercules 1962

    ★★★ Watched 02 Oct, 2014

    We're off to a strong start with Werner's first: any auteurist will have a field day here with the early emergence of that inimitable ironic gaze of Herzog's. This one treads a delicately-balanced line between sly humour and surprisingly disturbing sentiment. Above all, it's the work of someone with a distinctly cinematic eye: see the interplay of sound and silence, the force of the cuts (there's some fascinating montage), the inextricably visual nature of the sharp little thesis it puts forward.

  • New York Stories 1989

    ★★★ Rewatched 04 Sep, 2014

    (only watched Oedipus Wrecks, sssshhhh)

  • Mindscape 2013

    ★★ Watched 15 Jun, 2014

    When the memory-detective protagonist of Anna informs his eponymous charge, the sixteen year-old daughter of a wealthy family who’s suddenly refused to eat, that the movie’s chief technological conceit “doesn’t work like that”, it’s telling that he never offers an explanation as to how it does work. Don’t let the plot hole brigade fool you: all the average viewer asks of a film is that it follow some interior logic of its own; in resolutely refusing to set one out,…

  • Rigor Mortis 2013

    ★★★ Watched 15 Jun, 2014

    “We will use crow’s blood instead of chicken blood” is one of the less weird lines casually uttered in the course of Rigor Mortis, a movie as mad as any we’re likely to see this year. There is a suicide scene that becomes a mental montage of otherworldly imagery; there is a glut of glutinous rice and there may be a vampire hunter; there is a rotting body being kept fresh in a bath; there is a building that could…

  • A Coffee in Berlin 2012

    ★★★★ Rewatched 16 Jun, 2014

    As if itself inviting the assured Allen comparisons that equally abounded in considerations of its close cousin Frances Ha, A Coffee in Berlin concludes with a montage of city sights that’s straight out of Manhattan. But it’s not only to acknowledge inspirations that debut director Jan Ole Gerster gives the German capital the same treatment Woody reserved for New York: it’s telling that his equivalent occurs at the end of the film, and if Allen’s movie was staked on a…