RSS feed for Jake
  • Prisoners 2013

    ★★ Watched 21 Sep, 2013 1

    A promising opening that moves quickly but patiently through the realization of children gone missing, allowing comprehension to dawn on parents without taking too long to get to the event, soon collapses as Villeneuve's arthouse-thriller aesthetic puts enough space in the shots that the distended, half-connected threads of the script have more room to fall apart. The film's greatest tension is in the total incompatibility of its forced stabs at social relevance (which at least aren't as clumsily on the…

  • Goodfellas 1990

    ★★★★★ Watched 28 Dec, 2013 1

    I love returning to this film. As a teenager, I thought it was just the coolest movie ever, yet I'm reminded of Ebert's thoughts on returning to LA DOLCE VITA throughout his life: the movie never changes, but I do, and every time I revisit GOODFELLAS every few years, I see more and more cracks, its coolness a subjective veneer of the gangsters' self-perception that clashes with how increasingly banal they seem. Looking at it after seeing THE WOLF OF…

  • Stoker 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 08 Aug, 2013

    Even Hitchcock might have balked at the on-the-nose suggestions of this film's visual symbolism, but Park's English-language debut succeeds largely because of how little spoken language there is. The worst actor, Goode, gets the bulk of the lines, leaving Kidman's still-frozen but sufficiently limbered up face and Wasikowska's bring-it grimace to say all they need to say with only a handful of words per line. Park knows how to shoot their faces, stiff with willpower or injections, and how to…

  • Cloud Atlas 2012

    ★½ Watched 09 Dec, 2012

    Six films, all of them bad. The Wachowskis and Tykwer use the splits in Mitchell's book to make overlapping genre films, but the style is too constant across each chapter to make the movie half as ambitious as others claim. This leaves a caper without laughs, a corporate espionage thriller without suspense, a sci-fi social commentary without teeth, etc., and the overall thesis of the suffering and kindness echoed across centuries without any emotional or intellectual heft. The dispassion of…

  • Elysium 2013

    Watched 04 Jan, 2014

    In the future, the wealthy will be so rich they can trick out their voices with custom accents.

  • Thor: The Dark World 2013

    ★★ Watched 29 Nov, 2013 2

    The climax, despite its modest aesheticization, is the most ambitious thing Marvel have yet tried to pull. It's a shame that, for all the desperate attempts for comic relief, the sheer absurdity of its Duck Amuck climax is taken so bloody seriously. And you have to love the notion that even Marvel's writers are so sick of the stingers that a major character dies and is obviously reborn within a matter of a few cuts.

  • Before Midnight 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 23 Jun, 2013

    Before Sunrise and Sunset generate such anticipation as to whether this couple will ever truly get together that one forgets to consider what might happen if they do. Before Midnight answers that question, and it's not often easy to look at. All the traits that were endearing for uniting strangers are not so great at keeping people together. Jesse's laid-back humor can be disarming but also, and especially in light of getting it for a solid decade, insufferably deflective and…

  • Dredd 2012

    ★★★½ Watched 22 Sep, 2012

    Nasty, brutish and short. Like THE RAID without all the preening severity and with an actual sense of direction. The best comic book film of the year.

  • Frances Ha 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 25 Nov, 2013

    I don't subscribe to the notion that filmmakers disliking their own characters is morally reprehensible, but the superiority of what little Baumbach I've seen has always turned me off, the manner that the characters have been set up as such grotesque privileged adult-kids as to allow their maker an easy time burning his own strawmen. FRANCES HA seems to find its characters no less irritating and myopic than elsewhere in Baumbach's filmography, but here at least he meets them on…

  • Oblivion 2013

    ★★ Watched 29 Dec, 2013

    There came a point in this movie in which I did not take my eyes off the screen but became so bored by its endless, unimaginative regurgitation of every sci-fi trope under the sun that I momentarily zoned out and refocused only to say, "Wait, this is still on?"

  • Side Effects 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 08 Feb, 2013

    The clarity of digital can obscure as much as the grain of film, and the POV is all. A woman quotes something she didn't write but "could have." A heartbreaking story told under truth serum is instantly cast in doubt. An HDTV that looks like it has the Best Buy floor settings still on it shows a debate that could be sincere or opportunistic. Think you know what it all means? Be sure to ask your doctor for a second opinion.

  • 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.