RSS feed for Glen
  • The Salt of the Earth 2014

    ★★★ Watched 11 Dec, 2014

    Let's get the obvious out of the way: Sebastiao Salgado's photographs are so astonishing it's hard to describe them without one's prose descending into a mess of superlatives and cliches. Somehow he manages to capture people instead of bodies using just... see what I mean? In any case with that dealt with the question becomes whether The Salt of the Earth's presentation of Salgado's work does it justice. Initially the answer seems to be yes. The film opens with an…

  • Lake August 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 11 Dec, 2014

    My enthusiasm for this film (bolstered by the appreciation of several smart film people) was initially deflated by its style. The festival approved formulae of static, or near static, master shots combined with long, unbroken takes is rapidly becoming less of a signifier for artistic seriousness and more of an indication of laziness. However several elements of the film combined to jolt me out of my apathy. The first of these was the way in which the style complements the…

  • A Hard Day 2014

    ★★★ Watched 13 Dec, 2014

    I once read someone opining that the worst thing that can happen to a national cinema is for it to become a genre. I don't think there's any real danger of that happening to South Korean film (there are too many idiosyncratic voices working in the industry) but it's fair to say that even a filmgoer with only a passing knowledge of the nation's films could construct a bingo card for the typical commercial movie. A Hard Day would probably…

  • We Are the Night 2010

    ★★½ Watched 17 Nov, 2014

    This is mostly just a bog standard "vampirism as unbridled hedonism" movie. It's marginally interesting in that it links social class with the ability and desire to be a pleasure seeking junkie but it never really explores that idea, or any idea, productively because it's too busy laying track for its bog standard "corrupted innocence" plot line.

    It's never subtle either. When Lena (Karoline Herfurth, Passion and Errors of the Human Body) undergoes her transformation it physically strips away her…

  • The Day the Earth Stood Still 1951

    ★★½ Watched 12 Sep, 2014

    It occurs to me that if I'm going to give a classic a comparatively poor score I ought to leave a short explanation. Essentially this film is too restrained and tasteful for my liking. There's a long stretch in the middle that is more or less tension free and striking shots like the one in elevator or those taken from behind Rennie's head are few and far between.

  • The Addiction 1995

    ★★★½ Watched 05 Sep, 2014

    Is this the most catholic of all vampire movies? It certainly endorses predestination, but not double predestination. The fact that even someone as ill-versed in theology as myself can pick up on that speaks to how direct The Addiction is.That it manages be so without becoming excessively didactic is impressive (though it walks up to the line: "In more accessible terms..."). In any case it's refreshing to see something that is both thematically consistent and unambiguous in its intent. I…

  • A Most Wanted Man 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 01 Aug, 2014

    When TV partisans declare that their medium has overtaken film in terms of quality this is exactly the kind of film they're imagining as a synecdoche: the subtle, adult genre film with a strong thematic through-line. If they were to pick out a TV series to favourably compare to A Most Wanted Man they could hardly do better than The Wire. After all, both concern themselves with institutions so thoroughly perverted that they end up perpetuating the very pathologies they're…

  • Linda Linda Linda 2005

    ★★★½ Watched 24 Jun, 2014 2

    (I'm writing this at 3am so it's probably even less insightful and readable than usual. But I'm taking extra care to use the right th(e/a)n, so that's cool.)

    Linda, Linda, Linda starts with a scene that's intended to encapsulate the movie by way of three filmmakers who ineptly stumble their way towards "making an impact" as they shoot a piece about their school's festival. However it also serves to call attention to the process of film-making by laying bare their…

  • Millennium Mambo 2001

    ★★★½ Watched 23 Jun, 2014

    I was going to write something but this: says everything I wanted to say and then a little bit more. It's also a great deal more eloquent than I would have been.

  • Policeman 2011

    ★★★★ Added

    (This review was originally written during the 2011 Brisbane International Film Festival and posted to my blog. I'm re-posting it here on account of its recent US release.)

    Hot on the heels of my current festival low point comes a new contender for my BIFF favourite. Policeman, structured like a diptych­, contains my two favourite things in film: bold, nuanced politics and strong direction tailored to the subject matter at hand.

    The film has won much praise for taking the…

  • Ida 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 05 Jun, 2014

    I saw two trailers before watching Ida. One presented it as a film about uncovering dark secrets of the holocaust and the other suggested it was about a nun being tempted by carnal pleasures (you've got to feel for whoever fell for the latter). It follows then, that as far as I'm concerned, it's about neither.

    Many critics have seen this film as a radical change of pace for Pawlikowski and while the formal elements may be new - black…

  • Attenberg 2010

    ★★★½ Watched 16 Mar, 2014

    I really like the way this uses Marina's perspective to make the human body and the things we do with it profoundly wierd. Marina, Bella and Sypros' exaggerated "animal" imitations are repeated so frequently that they become normal and seemingly regular human interactions become strange.