RSS feed for Jake
  • The Maze Runner 2014

    ½ Watched 16 Sep, 2014

    THE MAZE RUNNER is such a sad, cynical, pointless collection of YA tropes in search of a unifying narrative that it might as well be a Seltzer-Friedberg joint named "Young Adult Movie." Every single character exists as a blatant echo of some other YA character: Thomas is Generic YA hero, down to having no idea what's happening yet being preternaturally gifted even above those who've trained to survive for years; Will Poulter's character (do not recall his name or care)…

  • The Trip to Italy 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 27 Aug, 2014

    An actual, considerable improvement upon an already delightful premise. For one thing, Winterbottom's vistas of Italy are far more loving and epic than his more pastoral depiction of the English countryside. For another, the focus shifts away from Coogan, who starts to attain a sense of contentment in life (ironically from losing a job, a set of circumstances that nonetheless allows him to move back home to be with his son), while Brydon now has to deal with the temptations…

  • The Trip 2010

    ★★★½ Rewatched 27 Aug, 2014

    Brydon totally steals this from Coogan, who is, as ever, great, but is playing up his usual sadsack celebrity routine while Brydon emerges as the childlike and childish cad who lives to brighten up a situation, even if the thought of being trapped in a room with him as he launches into a blizzard of impressions to fill silence can be terrifying. The Caine bit is an instant classic, but I'm also taken with Coogan imperiously scoring an idyllic country…

  • Jumanji 1995

    ★★ Rewatched 20 Aug, 2014

    Dated effects, bad kid actors (even you, li'l Dunst), but I still love Williams in this, even if he's a good decade too old for the part.

  • Liverpool 2008

    ★★★★½ Watched 25 Aug, 2014

    My favorite Alonso so far. The least soluble of his features, the most diversely gorgeous, and the one that gives the greatest impression of an actual world, not just of landscapes. So many things hang in the background, and sometimes occupy the limelight, that could just as easily been the focus of this movie, and that's the point.

  • The Son 2002

    ★★★★ Watched 24 Aug, 2014 1

    A genuine thriller on the subject of grace. The finale in the lumber warehouse is a work of true suspense, expertly crafted and edited as a cat-and-mouse chase that's as much a tug-of-war between Gourmet's dual desires for revenge and forgiveness as it is an attempt to collar the child to decide which of these fates to dole out.

  • Goodbye First Love 2011

    ★★★★ Watched 26 Aug, 2014

    Wonky if you consider it a realistic depiction of young love, suddenly a work of resonant beauty when you accept that Créton embodies the spirit of first love in all its corrosive, inexperienced and uncontrolled terror. It's hard not to understand why she doesn't kick her idiot first boyfriend to the curb, especially after he disappears for years, but this is a heightened visualization of the notion that "you never forget your first." In this case, it's more of a burden than whimsical reflection.

  • Grin Without a Cat 1977

    ★★★★½ Watched 24 Aug, 2014 2

    Magnificent overview of a decade of political upheaval and the reestablishment of disrupted status quo, be it capitalist or communist. For all its thinly veiled lament for failed revolution, the most revealing moment may be the tape it plays of Castro lending support to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia to undo its destalinization, where it's possible to read a hint of self-loathing cross the man's face as he realizes what he is saying but toes the line anyway. In that…

  • Sharknado 2013

    Watched 23 Aug, 2014


  • The Dead 2004

    ★★★★ Watched 23 Aug, 2014

    Lyrical landscape film that is disrupted by violence even as it suggests that nature begets and calmly absorbs any carnage.

  • Far from Vietnam 1967

    ★★★ Watched 17 Aug, 2014

    Incredibly dated in many respects but still a bracing celebration of Vietnamese resistance even before the Tet Offensive made clear that this technologically outclassed force could mount a successful pushback against Western imperialism (no wonder Marker would later identify '67, not '68, as the turning point for global leftism). Despite its collectivism, I think Godard's self-critical segment, who chafes with a hypocritical need to insert himself into Vietnam to decry Westerners inserting themselves into Vietnam, then picks up on that…

  • Sicilia! 1999

    ★★★★ Watched 23 Aug, 2014

    From the first shot of the protagonist stationed as a backlit blot in the foreground distracting from crisp beauty and activity in the middle distance and background, SICILIA! is a portrait of a man who returns to a home that is no longer a home, and stands out as a kind of stranger who almost exists as a member of the audience (as Tag Gallagher says of the beautiful last sequence and its use of distancing focal lengths, the protagonist…