RSS feed for Jake
  • The Heart Machine 2014

    ★★★½ Rewatched 25 Jun, 2014

    THM has an agreeable ambivalence about the Internet, indulging in Catfish suspicion and its flip-side, the enabled jealousy and privacy invasion of sheltered people. But it also sees some of the dangerous, duplicitous games people play online as an arduous process of seeking out new methods of romantic introduction, capable, if not easily so, of making people discover each other emotionally instead of letting physical interaction set the tenor of a relationship. Of course, absence can make the heart grow…

  • John Wick 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 20 Oct, 2014 1

    Keanu Reeves' Hong Kong-y phase continues to be one of the most surprising and rewarding things in American multiplex fare lately.

  • Camp X-Ray 2014

    ★★½ Watched 17 Oct, 2014

  • Birdman 2014

    ★½ Watched 21 Oct, 2014 3

    Birdman replaces AGI’s erstwhile fixation on intricately linked narrative structures with an obsession on formal ones. Its facsimile of one giant take forces everything to be connected as the camera ambles after characters, charges ahead into new areas, gets distracted by the intrusion of new people and constantly slips from reality to the fantasy of the stage, blurring the lines between the petty insecurities that roil behind the scenes and the tortured, vulnerable, often overcompensating art that it produces. This…

  • Men, Women & Children 2014

    ½ Watched 01 Oct, 2014

    A vile, condescending piece of shit, so sure that it's telling us all something we need to hear but are just too damn stupid to know that it hilariously fails to realize what a blinkered, solipsistic thing it is. Meant to be an indictment of our overstimulated, underemoting way of life, it instead comes off as a lament for a time before the average man knew how mediocre he was in bed.

  • Dear White People 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 06 Apr, 2014 1

    Justin Simien says he originally took the film's climax out of his early drafts because he found it too farfetched before multiple blackface parties started erupting on campuses. Similarly, so much of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, particularly its focus on middle- and upper-class white kids hiding behind satire to say whatever they want, seems even more relevant in the wake of the most vitriolic, revealing reaction to #CancelColbert. But setting aside the film's relevance, it's an exceptionally written movie (I can't…

  • Gone Girl 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 02 Oct, 2014

    People can bitch about all the "thinkpieces" this film has inspired* but I don't think an American movie this year has led to as much consistently interesting writing, pro or con. I've said my piece elsewhere but suffice to say, both Fincher's direction and Flynn's re-edit of her own material produce something vastly superior to its source novel, which had more ideas, maybe, but failed to develop them beyond mere sketches, splitting too much time to do service to anything.…

  • Laggies 2014

    ★★★ Watched 28 Oct, 2014

    So good and charming a story of arrested development that the half-assed romance rankles for its inclusion. Even so, I'll take most any excuse to put Sam Rockwell in a movie.

  • Pride 2014

    ★★½ Watched 25 Sep, 2014

    So deliberately inoffensive that it obscures the point that the LGBT alliance with a socialist cause was itself intended to offend Thatcher's status quo. Still, it's charming and undeniably pleasing, and a soundtrack of '80s gay club bangers is damn great.

  • The Maze Runner 2014

    ½ Watched 16 Sep, 2014 4

    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)…