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  • Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

    Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 12 Apr, 2015

    First, some pretext. Like many that grew up in the 90s, Nirvana holds a special place in my heart. I was 14 when i first heard Nevermind and its opening track, Smells Like Teen Spirit. Listening to it for the first time, it sounded so vital and felt so essential; it was a powerful experience.

    Obviously, theres been other music i've loved since Nirvana but I don't think i'll ever have those feelings that i had for them replicated again.…

  • Boyhood

    Boyhood 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 18 Mar, 2015

    Boyhood, the story of a normal, everyman, childhood or so we are led to believe. However, bar the major broadstrokes, its not a childhood or even a parenthood i could particularly connect with, which meant a lot of its charms were dulled for me.

    Stripping away most of life's major milestones, it concentrates on the little and the mundane moments. It plays quite a bit on nostalgia and strives to give an understanding of growth and of parents and parenting.…

  • After the Rain

    After the Rain 1999

    ★★★½ Watched 17 Mar, 2015

    A life-affirming humanist samurai tale with a rather slow start. It takes a while to get to the meat and bones of the story but once it does, it engrosses. I'm sure Mr Kurosawa would have approved the final result.

  • Birdman

    Birdman 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 14 Mar, 2015

    For much of the film i had my own little Birdman sitting on my shoulder squawking - 'You should love this, man!'. Unfortunately, the meta reality was not quite as good as my preconceived fantasy and while there were parts i adored, other parts came across preachy and pretentious. The performances (particularly Keaton and Norton), the direction, the jazzy drum score (that adds to the general cacophony and catharsis) and the humour raise it through the clouds, though, its still a long way from the sun.

  • Taboo

    Taboo 1999

    ★★★ Watched 10 Mar, 2015

    Must say, i found Gohatto to be a bit of an unsatisfactory watch. Sozaburo is the central character but its not really about him, more the passion he stirs up amongst his fellow samurai. At the start, his rival Tashiro and their relationship seems like its going to be central to the story and whilst it is to an extent, its never fully explored. Tashiro is cast to the background, as it flits between genres and time-jumps to his other…

  • John Wick

    John Wick 2014

    ★★★ Watched 08 Mar, 2015

    John Wick has a serious case of been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Though it does bring a couple of interesting additions to the table; the Continental Hotel, a reserve for hitmen in-between jobs and the way Wick isn't impervious to the violence being doled out. Theres minimal dialogue and story, which lets face it, is probably for the best. Its the stylish neon visuals, guns blazing, headshots galore, over the top action thats the reason to watch! However, The Raid raised the bar high with regards to action in films and it doesn't quite reach the entertaining levels of Neeson's Taken (1!).

  • Foxcatcher

    Foxcatcher 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 28 Feb, 2015

    Never less than interesting, with impressive performances from its leading triumvirate - birdman Carell, apeman Tatum and the human Ruffalo. However, its relentlessly dour throughout, bar the very briefest moments of levity, and despite the numerous themes at play, it never really gets under the skin with regards character motivations. Reading up on the case aftwards; the condensing and changing of some of the true events didn't feel beneficial either, as well as not displaying how mental Du Pont had actually been - he believed his treadmills were time machines, aliens communicated through his horses and his attempts to kill his wife.

  • Selma

    Selma 2014

    ★★★ Watched 14 Feb, 2015

    Martin Luther King is at the forefront of Selma but it doesn't focus solely on his story, its an ensemble piece reconstructing the events in the town of Selma, Alabama. As such, it has quite a wide scope, which means we don't really get to the heart of any character and none of their stories entirely satisfy.

    The main problems i had though lay squarely with the directorial choices, which took me right out of the picture. The overblown, overwhelming…

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel

    The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

    ★★★ Watched 30 Jan, 2015

    I have to admit, i do admire and appreciate Anderson's aesthetic but, other than The Royal Tenenbaums, i've unfortunately never been much enamoured with his work.

    I was actually looking forward to watching Grand Budapest though, thanks to all the positive reviews and Oscar buzz. However, despite quite enjoying the start and Fiennes' performance, its all just more of Anderson's mildly amusing whimsy, with no meat on its bones. As the story progressed my chuckles receded and my disaffection grew further; i just found it hard to care about any of it.

    I think Mr Anderson's pictures are, alas, perhaps not for me.

  • Primer

    Primer 2004

    ★★★ Watched 27 Jan, 2015

    Was going fine until the last 15 mins or so, then...

    hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

    I think i need to read up on this!

  • Aguirre: The Wrath of God

    Aguirre: The Wrath of God 1972

    ★★★★ Watched 26 Jan, 2015

    A spiralling descent into darkness and the indisputable power of nature were foremost in my thoughts for this review but to be honest i spent most of the film thinking, f'in hell, Herzog actually made them do that!

  • Drug War

    Drug War 2013

    ★★★ Watched 22 Jan, 2015

    Its a little confusing at the start as you're thrown right in to the story but it soon becomes clear. Its fun, fast-paced, entertaining fare but its pace i found to be its detriment. I wanted to spend some time with the characters but theres little investment in them, so the ending turns into a 'meh, who cares'.

    ps. Hong-Lei is a revelation as the police captain.