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  • Victoria

    Victoria 2015

    Watched 11 Jun, 2015

    Victoria is a decent enough heist film. Its one shot gimmick forces some subtly (can't cut to close-ups) and it's de rigueur documentary-like shooting is effectively claustrophobic. It has some narrative strengths too: a sticky door is an effective piece of misdirection. Make no mistake though: Victoria's single continuous take is a gimmick. At one point the camera operator "cuts" in camera by letting the shot drift slowly out of focus and then snapping it back into focus. Maybe now that Sebastian Schipper's gotten some attention he'll let himself use his full toolbox.

  • Far from the Madding Crowd

    Far from the Madding Crowd 2015

    Watched 19 Jul, 2015

    Far from the Madding Crowd starts off on the wrong foot with an opening that doesn't compress time so much as awkwardly paste discreet (albeit often lovely) moments together. Thereafter it's competent enough but lacks the spark of more successful - or at least more engaging - costume dramas. It doesn't have the energy Joe Wright brings to his films or the boldness Andrea Arnold brought to Wuthering Heights. (Gosh I hope those who carped at Arnold's nature close-ups spent…

  • It Follows

    It Follows 2014

    Watched 18 Jul, 2015

    This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    •The electric lightening in house's and car's interiors is so wonderfully warm and suburban and safe in this film.

    •I like the use of 360 degree pans. There's only a couple of them in the film but they're both memorable. They feel like pov shots of someone scanning for "it" but they never are.

    •There's a repeated visual motif of close-ups of Jaye's red nails. Not sure that it's meant to do anything more than rhyme though.

    •Uses its "it"…

  • Last Life in the Universe

    Last Life in the Universe 2003

    Watched 16 Jul, 2015

    Last Life in the Universe is distant (often literally so; figures are regularly isolated at the end of a long shot or observed from a bird's eye view) and elliptical in a way that often pushes it into the realm of art house cliche. The constantly moving camera and slightly off-kilter framings aren't quite enough to save it but the hints of deeply felt emotion - such as a slow tracking shot over the personal belongings of a character or the way a icky fantasy is later revisited and adjusted so that it becomes a loving reality - are.

  • Magic Mike XXL

    Magic Mike XXL 2015

    Watched 09 Jul, 2015

    Yes it was good for me. Thanks for asking.

  • Love & Mercy

    Love & Mercy 2014

    Watched 07 Jul, 2015

    Same old drug imagery, same old signifiers for mental illness and the same old decline and recovery narrative.

  • Whip It

    Whip It 2009

    Watched 06 Jul, 2015

    As obvious as a heart shaped magnet signifying motherly love and equally as sweet. Should've had more riot grrrl music though - not that I'm objecting to The Go! Team.

    Oh and this viewing was inspired by this: www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-04/tasmanian-roller-derby-players-head-to-us-for-world-cup/6589860

  • Visible Secret

    Visible Secret 2001

    Watched 03 Jul, 2015

    •Deflates much of its horror with the kind of goofy humour that will be familiar to anyone who's seen a few Hong Kong films. It's close in tone to Ghostbusters.

    •Its plot twists are rote for a film with a character who sees ghosts but it uses one such twist for a neat cut-to-black ending.

    •Lots of saturated colours (mostly bright reds and blues) all the more foregrounded by the protagonists' bedroom which has a coloured, spinning lamp cover. It's…

  • National Gallery

    National Gallery 2014

    Watched 02 Jul, 2015

    •Grapples with how people describe and relate to visual art in an interesting way. The poet's comments about the gap between words and the things they symbolise could almost be a thesis statement if it didn't come so late in the film.

    •On that note there's a very funny scene in which a documentary director pushes his expert to talk about metaphors in Turner's paintings because he thinks that's what makes them more than pretty pictures. Meanwhile his expert clearly…

  • Il Mare

    Il Mare 2000

    Watched 29 Jun, 2015

    Somewhere, buried under the cloying score and de rigueur ending, there's a decent movie - or at the very least a productively unusual one. Most of Il Mare is nothing more than the film's lead actors reading out intimate letters over images of them going about their daily lives. Granted the images are very pretty (think saturated colours and the courage to use a couple of bird's eye shots) but despite that it's hard to imagine such a low key…

  • Repulsion

    Repulsion 1965

    Watched 07 Jun, 2015

    •There are a few scenes in this film where there's something unsettling close to the camera and low in the frame while someone further away either ignores it or is oblivious to it. The last time this happens it's our protagonist who occupies the foreground.

    •This film does the same thing that Cure did in repeating a routine (when Carol comes home and eats some bread) but shooting it from a different angle later on. I'm going to have to…

  • Knife in the Water

    Knife in the Water 1962

    Watched 06 Jun, 2015

    This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Knife in the Water's study of bruised male egos and use of a sudden crises to rupture the relationship of its previously stable couple suggests that both The Loneliest Planet and Force Majuere owe it a debt. Its emphasis is somewhat different though. Knife in the Water is more focused on the events that lead up to the rupture - the small cracks in the men's self confidence that lead to petty aggression - then how their undermined masculinity impacts their relationships. Indeed Knife in the Water ends at the halfway point of its successors; only just after the incident and at a literal crossroads.