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  • In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place 1950

    ★★★½ Watched 26 Jul, 2015

    More so a melodrama with elements of noir, In A Lonely Place is a murder mystery whereby the murder plays second fiddle to the study of the unsympathetic, violent, Bogart (Dix Steele, *snigger*) and his relationship with the aloof, yet vulnerable, Grahame. While the murder aspect of the story isn't particularly compelling (and ends up arriving at its obvious, logical conclusion), its carried by the mystery of Steele, its central performances and dialogue.

  • Boomerang!

    Boomerang! 1947

    ★★½ Watched 21 Jul, 2015

    Despite being based on a true story, Kazan's overly melodramatic wrong man docu-noir struggles to engage at the start. I think partly because of its unusual documentary stylings, but mainly because of the amount of time set aside to explain the expediency to convict, due to political and press/public pressure. Though, once it reaches the courtroom in the final act, things get a bit more interesting. Andrews is solid as the main prosecutor and Cobb is fine but the rest…

  • Enemy

    Enemy 2013

    ★★★ Watched 16 Jul, 2015

    This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    As the titles appear, the quote "Chaos is order undeciphered" is displayed. How apt. Just replace 'Chaos' with 'Enemy' and 'order' with 'a film'.

    Drained of colour, in a sepia tinged world with an unsettling score, Enemy is a brooding, atmospheric, mood piece. Yet, while its never less than intriguing, i couldn't describe it as a particularly enjoyable experience. Despite its brevity, it is a bit of a chore to sit through. Feeling every one of its 90 odd minutes…

  • Prisoners

    Prisoners 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 12 Jul, 2015 2

    Following an investigation into the abduction of two children, Villeneuve's brooding, moody, atmospheric thriller (wonderfully captured by Deakins) is every parent's worst nightmare.

    Through the empathetic Jackman (delivering a career best performance), it delves into the moral abyss of what lengths you would go to in order to save your child. Religion is centred heavily, with questions on loss of morality and the price paid for retribution, but it mostly dances around these issues and doesn't explore them fully. The…

  • Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

    Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa 2013

    ★★★ Watched 05 Jul, 2015

    Though not wholly unexpected, Coogan's return to his finest creation is a little lost in translation with its move to film. Yet, while it may not live up to the heady heights of the tv show, its still an amusing 90 minutes with moments of pure comedy gold.

  • Slow West

    Slow West 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 28 Jun, 2015

    Along with Gilroy's Nightcrawler and Garland's Ex Machina, Maclean's debut has to be the best i've witnessed in quite some time. A revisionist western punctuated with black comedy, its a simple tale well told. A universal story of love and death told through the eyes of immigrants. As McPhee learns on his journey with Fassbender, the wild west is no place for naivety. With prevalent threat to life throughout their journey, its a violent, dangerous and wholly unforgiving place. While…

  • The Wolverine

    The Wolverine 2013

    ★★½ Watched 23 Jun, 2015

    Benefiting from Claremont/Miller's classic Wolverine story as its basis, it can safely be said that The Wolverine is a helluva lot better than Origins: Wolverine. Though thats not much of a ringing endorsement, i know.

    Refreshingly, its not all obligatory generic fights, its more character driven, an introspective piece that deals with the essence of Wolverine. Yet, its all rather workmanlike, ponderous (perhaps watching the extended version was a mistake), a little dour and, well, dull, to be blunt. Which…

  • Kingsman: The Secret Service

    Kingsman: The Secret Service 2015

    ★★½ Watched 22 Jun, 2015 2

    Maybe i was in 'miserable old git' mood at the time, but sitting po-faced for the majority of its protracted runtime, i just couldn't get fully enthused with Kingsman. Similar in tone to Vaughn/Goldman/Millar's Kick Ass; it plays as a subversion on James Bond tropes with plenty of gratuitous (Raid-ified) ultraviolence, questionable morality and some lip service to classism.

    First off, Firth is superb as gentleman Bond, hes got just the right amount of toff-y stiff upper lip. Say what…

  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 1964

    ★★★★ Watched 22 Jun, 2015

    Kubrick's biting satire on the nuclear threat during the cold war era, shining a light on societal and technological worries, is a bona fide classic. Theres great performances from all, particularly Sellers(x3) and Scott, with many quotable superb one liners and iconic visual references. Its dry wit is not always overtly humourous but thanks to its (disturbingly realistic) absurdity i maintained a grin throughout. Much like Dr Strangelove himself, in fact!

  • Fury

    Fury 2014

    ★★½ Watched 10 Jun, 2015

    In Ayer's Fury, 'War is hell' and the clichés come as fast as mud being torn up by tank tracks. Spectacular with regards to its realistic imagery and the horrors of war (reminiscent of Peckinpah's Cross of Iron) but distinctly unspectacular with regards to plot. Lerman plays the naive young recruit, subjected to the brutality of war with his battle-hardened tank comrades (led by a war-weary Pitt) and in the process, becomes like them. Ho-hum. Its all entirely predictable. The characters are all stock but the much maligned LaBeouf is actually surprisingly excellent.

  • Citizenfour

    Citizenfour 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 09 Jun, 2015

    With its Reznor soundtrack and muted visuals, Poitras' film plays out almost as a Fincher-like techno-thriller. At its strongest when Snowden is on screen; the revelations are astounding (the Orwellian future is nigh!). However, unless you've been living under a rock, theres nothing particularly revelatory (its all been well played out in the media), which unfortunately does drain some of its power. I also found it quite hard to separate the merits of the story as opposed to the actual documentary itself. What it does do though, is to stand as an important document of the events with some insight into Snowden and his motivations.

  • La Jetée

    La Jetée 1962

    ★★★★ Watched 09 Jun, 2015

    An inspiration for numerous works (most famously 12 Monkeys), La Jetee's black and white still images juxtaposed with its moving, classical score evokes a haunting atmosphere. An examination on the perception of time and memory, its one of those rare films that gains more from subsequent watches.