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  • Enemy 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 12 Apr, 2014

    An atmospheric, impressively stylized and minimalistic mystery. The opening scene sets the tone with some symbolic imagery that gives context to the events and returns a couple of times during its running time. Villeneuve creates a dreadful atmosphere by interspersing the repetitive day-to-day routine of Gyllenhaal with the abstract depiction of the desolate city he lives in.

    The sometimes nightmarish, "random" happenings, the low-lit rooms and haunting ambient soundtrack recall some of David Lynch's movies, mostly Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive…

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 23 Mar, 2014

    Shots are meticulously framed and set-up like a diorama, full of details to admire. The combination of live-action and animation is flawless. The script is filled to the brim with absurd but brilliantly realized situations and characters, Dafoe is especially memorable. The film is a total success, with every element in sync.

  • Gravity 2013

    ★★★½ Rewatched 27 Feb, 2014

    Gravity contains some brilliant visual storytelling and is a technical landmark. The free-floating camerawork is marvelous. The rebirth symbolism is obvious but I found the imagery of lenses and windows that Cuaron stuffed the film with also interesting and noticeable, constantly referring to (a lack of) safety. There's a deliberate emphasis on the glass of the helmets, the windows in the capsules and stations and you're actively being made aware of the camera lens in two or three instances. The sometimes heavyhanded exposition and melodrama could've been dialed down a bit, but overall this is a grand piece of minimalistic, filmic storytelling.

  • RoboCop 2014

    ★★½ Watched 15 Feb, 2014

    It's heartening to see Padilha at least understanding the more prominent themes of the original film and applying them in an updated fashion (with mixed results) whilst expanding on certain elements in a surprisingly successful way.

    There's interesting commentary on the illusion of free will and the hypothetical culmination of the Information Age in a single "being" (capable of linking data in such an efficient way that he makes Sherlock Holmes look like an amateur) is an interesting theme. The…

  • Dallas Buyers Club 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 12 Feb, 2014

    Structurally and plotwise a fairly standard biopic, elevated by McConaughey's masterful, career-defining performance and the considered, tight editing (especially the little montages and opening sequence) and atmospheric rendition of Dallas.

  • Tuscan Wedding 2014

    ★½ Watched 11 Feb, 2014

    Formulaic from beginning to end but with a couple of nice landscapes to admire, one or two moments that raise a smile and some obligatory product placement.

  • RoboCop 1987

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 28 Jan, 2014

    Ahh RoboCop; my most watched film ever by a large margin. In about 20 years time I've seen it so often, that it´s almost a case of going through the motions when I watch it for the umpteenth time. I can dream just about every bit of dialogue, every aspect of what´s on screen, the beats of the editing and the iconic sound effects are ingrained in my mind.

    Verhoeven creates such a masterfully realized dystopian picture. I have a…

  • Die Hard: With a Vengeance 1995

    ★★★ Rewatched 19 Jan, 2014

    Die Hard 3 doesn't hit the heights of the original, but is a fine action film nonetheless. The key ingredients of the franchise are put in a bigger setting with mixed results. The first one, admittedly helped by its confined location, did a splendid job of conveying spatial relations between events and connected the set-pieces with a truly clever, solid script. Here, there are a little too many convenient coincidences linking things together and at times the whereabouts and activities…

  • The Wolf of Wall Street 2013

    ★★★ Watched 12 Jan, 2014

    The movie does a great job of showing the hilarious excessiveness (and to a lesser extent the amoral side) of Belfort's stockbroking practices and lifestyle, but eventually the comedy doesn't really amount to anything substantial. On a narrative level the whole thing hinges almost exclusively on the exposition that DiCaprio delivers through a voiceover, instead of telling it with filmic means. I don't mind a voiceover when it's employed in a certain way, like briefly letting you in on the…

  • The Conjuring 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 11 Jan, 2014 2

    James Wan is a true craftsman. He has the capability to take a mundane horror concept and without tinkering too much with the basics of a haunted house movie (slamming doors, creaking floors, ominous cellars, etc.) he nevertheless manages to create maximum tension and infuses the thing with his now signature style. The set dressing and overall production values are through the roof and the 70s setting is applied in a subtle, atmosphere enhancing manner without a forced emphasis on…

  • Insidious: Chapter 2 2013

    ★★★ Watched 05 Jan, 2014

    While Wan employs a lot of worn-out tricks that would become stale when a less capable director would use them, his mastery of the haunted house horror sub-genre is second to none and sets his films apart. The build-up to the (predictable) scares is executed very well and the exquisite set design and lighting create a wonderful creepy atmosphere and feeling of dread. Proceedings take a surprisingly well executed turn in the second half and the time travelling aspect adds a clever dimension to the plot.

  • Very Bad Things 1998

    ★★★ Watched 27 May, 2013

    This is one of the most nihilistic movies I've ever seen. Slater in particular masterfully plays one of the most despicable, morally depraved characters to have ever hit the screen, constantly excusing the physically and emotionally scarring of good-hearted people without a second thought. It managed to disturb and sadden me like few horror movies have achieved, by shruggingly playing utterly tragic situations for laughs. There's an unshakeable feeling of dread hanging over the whole thing and it's one of…