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  • Citizen X 1995

    ★★★★ Watched 02 Mar, 2015

    As both a procedural and character study, this is exceedingly interesting.

    People expecting a traditional serial killer thriller might be disappointed by the film's deliberate pacing, as well as a kind of stately stuffiness. But I think it works. Because the film does two things: it explores a true crime case with a sharp sense of authenticity; and it also observes the political realities of Soviet Russia during the Cold War and the aftermath of glasnost.

    It's kind of strange…

  • Re-Animator 1985

    ★★★★ Watched 01 Mar, 2015

    This is what happens when the film's director and the cast are all on the same page... When everyone involved is acutely aware of the movie they're making; and they strike that perfect balance in tone.

    It's so easy to overshoot with the camp. Or take yourself too seriously for it to work.

    Stuart Gordon and company understand this. And so everything in the film is meticulously crafted and pitched at just the right note.

    There is a careful sense…

  • Fright Night 1985

    ★★★ Watched 27 Feb, 2015

    Tom Holland's conceit: repositioning a traditional gothic fantasy within a modern setting, is very effective - and it still works even today in that sense.

    Because this was meant as a throwback - a reaction to the crop of standard slasher films that rose in the eighties. To that end, Holland emphasizes atmosphere over in your face blood and guts horror; with a sensibility that is more Hammer than Grindhouse...and a sense of genuine, old fashioned camp and panache.

    Which…

  • The First Deadly Sin 1980

    ★★★ Watched 26 Feb, 2015

    Frank Sinatra was a very good actor. Or, if you prefer, one of the finest and most human movie stars we ever got. And, if you need real hard evidence of that, you can look at this mostly forgotten policier from a thousand years ago to see it. You really buy him as this salt of the earth old police detective. A real man of the people... Even if, behind the scenes, it's entirely possible ol' blue eyes was actually…

  • Eddie and the Cruisers 1983

    ★★★★ Watched 26 Feb, 2015

    Sometimes it's all about the mystique. Sometimes that's all a movie needs. And so, this film retains its reasonably merited cult status intact.

    It tells two captivating, intriguing stories... One: The legend of an ahead of its time sixties rock band. Two: the surviving members' reflection on their short-lived career and how the scars of the past are eternal...ever present.

    Writer/director Martin Davidson believes in what he's doing; and he believes in the mystique - that's what matters.

    Meanwhile, the…

  • Boyhood 2014

    ★★★ Watched 20 Feb, 2015

    You know how there are two kinds of porn, right? There's the ones that have a "story," and then you have the other ones - they're just a collection of "scenes."

    That's kind of how this movie is. It's just a collection of scenes. And that's basically fine with me, I guess. Because these are well acted scenes that play out convincingly and realistically, as they probably would unfold in a person's real life.

    That's the main reason this film…

  • The Theory of Everything 2014

    ★★ Watched 20 Feb, 2015

    Stephen Hawking is a brilliant man, with a lot of fascinating and thought provoking ideas.

    This movie is not about that. It's the story of a man with a crippling disease; and the woman who loves him at all costs and how that disease is ultimately not an obstacle for him to succeed at his goals.

    Fine. Go with that if that's what you want to go with.

    Look... Far as glossy, well produced movies about famous people with stories…

  • What We Do in the Shadows 2014

    ★★★ Watched 17 Feb, 2015

    I guess they're still trying, aren't they? They're still trying to make the next great vampire comedy. And, since Polanski did his thing with The Fearless Vampire Killers, it hasn't really happened.

    And it still hasn't.

    Oh the fans will most likely be pleased. And, for them, this will be akin to Monty Python making a vampire comedy at the height of their culty popularity.

    It feels a little like that, I guess. It's slightly off center, askew, foreign... It…

  • American Sniper 2014

    ★★ Watched 17 Feb, 2015

    This is not a very good movie but, more than anything else, I'm impressed by Clint Eastwood's general vitality as a filmmaker. It's gotten so he's about as prolific as Woody Allen... So, sure, there's a "win some/lose some" dynamic to his work; and since this movie made a colossal amount of money, many will say he won.

    I'm also impressed that, pushing 80, he can orchestrate razor sharp, gritty action sequences like the ones on display here. That's the…

  • Overdrawn at the Memory Bank 1985

    Watched 15 Feb, 2015

    It's rare to have this sort of film viewing experience... In which you actually utter the rhetorical question: "What the fuck is this?" out loud to yourself.

    And after sitting through all 85 minutes of this crazy nonsense, I'm still not sure I can answer that question.

    But I will say that, in some respects, this flick is ahead of its time. I'm not going to doubt, in fact, that the Wachowskis might have watched this at some point in…

  • Taken 3 2014

    ★★ Watched 14 Feb, 2015

    Having figured out no way to contrive yet another kidnapping plot, they decide instead on a Fugitive scenario, with our hero Liam Neeson on the run from Forest Whitaker in the Tommy Lee Jones role.

    At the very least, I can say this is an improvement over the second, by the simple virtue of having slightly more scope and making an effort to change things up a tad.

    They even change things to the extreme. Like recasting Xander Berkeley's character…

  • Dumb and Dumber To 2014

    ★★ Watched 13 Feb, 2015

    About as watchable as you could expect a belated sequel to a stale comedy to be. Had this come out about sixteen years ago... Well, maybe I guess.

    For what it is? Well, it is what it is. I'll concede that there are a couple of big laughs, and Jim Carrey is back in the manic mode we haven't seen him do for quite a while.

    It's also fun to see Jeff Daniels display, once again, a complete and uninhibited…