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  • 12 Rounds

    12 Rounds 2009

    ★★½ Watched 13 Aug, 2013

    Amazing how a film that doesn't stop can feel so slow at times (12 rounds were maybe too much, especially given the relative lack of variety in the villain's inexplicably convoluted revenge scheme). John Cena is convincing in motion but deadly when he has to try and muster regret, while Aidan Gillen almost sounds unreal with his natural accent (despite that name, I never knew Carcetti was Irish). Still, Harlin is, while never great, certainly not a slouch when it comes to action, and as far as these kinds of movies go, he has a better control of its nonstop movement than most.

  • 12 Years a Slave

    12 Years a Slave 2013

    ★★★ Watched 02 Nov, 2013

    Ignore the rating. This is just a logging entry and I have no idea yet how to process both the parts of the film that seemed to me to break out of McQueen's arch ultraviolence into an evocation of slavery's systemic entrenchment and those that play on that violence to dubious effect. (By the same token, I cannot deny that depictions of the actual atrocities of slavery, elided over even in the supposedly progressive films on the subject, are long…

  • 2046

    2046 2004

    ★★★★½ Watched 10 Apr, 2012

    Not Wong's trippiest (that would be Ashes of Time), but perhaps the one that most captures the fever dream aesthetic he built his career on Almost makes me want to see him adapt Finnegans Wake, though this doesn't feel too far from that as it is.

  • 21 Jump Street

    21 Jump Street 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 18 Mar, 2012

    Man, just, well done, everyone. Ably parodies and affectionately salutes tropes both classic and modern. I need to see it again just to hear all the lines I laughed over.

  • 22 Jump Street

    22 Jump Street 2014

    ★★★ Watched 10 Jun, 2014

    Contains the highest number of flat jokes in a Lord/Miller movie to date, but there's still enough chemistry, visual wit and a few tongue-in-cheek dialogue exchange to make it enjoyable. I do think it effectively exonerates itself from having to try hard by just joking about how sequels suck, though.

  • 24 Hour Party People

    24 Hour Party People 2002

    ★★★★½ Watched 08 Aug, 2013

    I'm so used to Coogan's fourth-wall breaks that at first I was a bit irritated with 24HPP, but gradually it dawned on me that Tony Wilson, the more benign, experimental Malcolm McLaren (an appropriately post-punk version of the same Svengali type, if you will), would absolutely make himself the ringleader for his own story. (24HPP, like posters and nightclubs, has a Factory archive number, as if it were another single.) Winterbottom and Coogan print the legend, as they openly reference,…

  • 2 Fast 2 Furious

    2 Fast 2 Furious 2003

    ★★ Watched 30 May, 2013

    Singleton can direct rings around Rob Cohen, which is almost a compliment. The lame camera-jiggles and airless dialogue scenes that weighed down the first at every turn has mostly been replaced with tighter action filmmaking that turns blurring space around NOS-injected cars into warp drive and pushes into extreme close-ups on eyes to further turn this into Speed Racer. But Singleton can also push too far for his own good, such as heightening Cohen's feeble CGI moves in and out…

  • 300: Rise of an Empire

    300: Rise of an Empire 2014

    Watched 04 Mar, 2014

    The first 2/3 of POMPEII are still terrible to me but it's useful to compare how beautifully Anderson stages pandemonium (not just in an aesthetic sense but a human one) to a bloodlusty POS like this. What attempts are made to address some of the blinkered history of Frank Miller's masturbatory fantasy (i.e. pointing out that less trained Athenians pulled off far more impressive tactical feats than the Spartans) is quickly subsumed into a general love of carnage and a…

  • 3 Bad Men

    3 Bad Men 1926

    ★★★★ Watched 04 Feb, 2014

    Ford's first great film? Loosely remade by Ford later as the more haunting 3 Godfathers, this is nonetheless a bravura display of his style, which appears more consolidated here, more like one of his talkies with the soundtrack removed, than the other Ford silents I've seen.

  • 3 Godfathers

    3 Godfathers 1948

    ★★★★ Watched 24 Dec, 2013

    The three wise men as dopey, doomed crooks, seeking to help a child not for enlightenment but to assuage their sins. Wayne gives one of his best performances as the increasingly frazzled gang leader, who is less furious in a gunfight than he is trying to determine whether a baby book is at all accurate in teaching how to deal with a newborn. Filled with as many poetic shots as you'd expect from Ford, none more so than the shot…

  • 45RPM

    45RPM 2012

    ★★★½ Watched 01 Apr, 2014

    Really enjoyed this. Low-key but it's an indie that expressly cares and doesn't hide itself behind layers of irony. It's also pleasantly funny and, in the end, sweet.

  • A Burning Hot Summer

    A Burning Hot Summer 2011

    ★★ Watched 01 Jul, 2012

    What a listless bore of a movie. Uses Godard's CONTEMPT as a reference point, but that movie, almost 60 years old, feels like a magnificent parody of this tedious slog.