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  • The Double 2013

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 20 Sep, 2014

    Upon second viewing I liked The Double even more. In the hands of Richard Ayoade, his adaptation of Dostoyevsky's novel recontextualizes the story into a internationalized version of North Korea. A place out of time with a bureaucracy that isn't evil, just bureaucratic. Everyone is trapped within the system, but nobody really thinks of leaving. It's a dark, dark comedy with amazing production design and a double central performance that is one of the best that Jesse Eisenberg has given. It's a hidden gem of a film filled with idiosyncracies and a loving attention to detail.

  • A Woman Is a Woman 1961

    ★★★½ Watched 24 May, 2006

    With Une Femme est Une Femme Jean-Luc Godard has fun with the musical. It’s a lot of intellectual fun with singing, dancing and Anna Karina. But with Godard he doesn’t just make a film, he also makes a film about cinema and he plays with the conventions of filmmaking to always let you know that you are watching a movie. The musical soundtrack will come in and out depending on what the characters are saying. People talk to the camera…

  • Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story 2005

    Watched 28 May, 2006

    "Tristram Shandy was a postmodern novel before there was a modernism to be post about."

    While I read a good chunk of Tristram Shandy, I don’t remember finishing it. But I do remember that it was very funny and somewhat bawdy and surprisingly experimental. With Michael Winterbottom’s adaptation of Laurence Sterne’s novel, he manages to bring a sophisticated and yet anarchic vision to a story that is filled with digressions. The film manages to move effortlessly between drama and comedy…

  • The Weather Underground 2002

    Watched 05 Jun, 2006

    The more that I learn about the 1960s and 70s, the less I realize that I know. It was a complicated and confusing time when things were difficult to understand and many of the extraordinary and shocking events and struggles have been filtered through fictional lenses to the point where it’s hard to know what is real and what is nostagia. In The Weather Underground the story of one of the most radical groups of the late 60s and early…

  • Prozac Nation 2001

    Watched 07 Jun, 2006

    With a film based on a true-life story of depression it’s a challenge to portray the person and the effect of the illness on those around them in a way that is watchable. In Prozac Nation it’s not always fun to watch, but skillful direction and a great performance from Christina Ricci manage to capture the highs and lows in a way that kept me watching and also gave me some insight. There are moments that I found amazing in…

  • Downfall 2004

    Watched 08 Jun, 2006

    Making a film about the last days of Adolph Hitler is a challenge as it is a sensitive subject and it is also something that has been done before. In Downfall Oliver Hirschbiegel creates a film that adds some humanity to characters who names are synonymous with evil. With a stunning performance from Bruno Ganz as Hitler the film follows his final days through the eyes of his young secretary. It also provides some context for what was happening in…

  • Tell Them Who You Are 2004

    Watched 10 Jun, 2006

    Tell Them Who You Are is a fascinating look at a father by a son. What makes it quite interesting is that both Haskell Wexler (the father) and Mark Wexler (the son) are filmmakers. I thought that it would be a look at Haskell’s career with some personal insight, but it actually is a touching and honest portrait of the relationship between the father and son. You learn about both of their careers, but it is filtered through their personal lives which are closely linked with the films and projects that they have made.

  • God Help the Girl 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 17 Sep, 2014

    Before there was the film God Help The Girl, there were the albums that Stuart Murdoch created as a side project from Belle & Sebastian. With songs that had a lot of detail and names in them, I didn't think much about it until I saw the film and they fit into a coherent and deeper story that I was expecting. With a young cast replacing the vocalists on the album, but doing a great job, it's a gorgeously-shot little love…

  • Clouds of Sils Maria 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 17 Sep, 2014

    Clouds of Sils Maria is a dense, intellectual film that is fun as well. It's a bit of a mess, but I enjoyed it and think that I need to watch it again outside of the context of watching it while tired at the end of a long day at a film festival. Assayas plays around with the personas of the characters played by Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloe Grace Moretz cleverly in a script that has a play…

  • Insomnia 1997

    ★★★★ Watched 14 Jun, 2006

    I suspect that more people would have seen the remake of Insomnia than the original, but I hadn’t seen either and after watching Prozac Nation I decided to watch Erik Skjoldbjærg’s film set in Norway with a Swedish detective. It’s a psychological thriller that is efficiently and subtle in the way it follows the detective on a twisty investigation of the murder of a young woman. Skjoldbjærg is able to visually illuminate the struggle the detective goes through as well…

  • No Maps for These Territories 2000

    Watched 17 Jun, 2006

    No Maps For These Territories is built around some interviews with William Gibson that took place in the back seat of a limousine. If you are interested in technology or Gibson it’s a compelling look at a writer and an exploration of the ideas that have moved from fiction to fact. The documentary is great to look at as the images in the car windows are occaisionally replaced and manipulated, altering the reality surround Gibson. Very interesting with great insight into our technologically mediated world.

  • Nacho Libre 2006

    Watched 01 Jul, 2006

    If you didn’t like Napoleon Dynamite you very probably won’t like Nacho Libre. There is a goofy earnestness to the whole film in an almost anachronistic way. While there is more of a structure than Napoleon Dynamite it doesn’t have the same feeling. It’s a bit darker, but there are some infantile, but funny jokes and everything is taken pretty much as far as it can go. The slapstick is way over the top, but some of the scenes between the characters are sweet. Overall it’s not very deep or profound, but good if you like that sort of thing.