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  • Neighbors 2014

    Watched 14 Aug, 2014

    It’s currently a toss up between Rose Byrne and Jude Law for worst Australian accent of the decade so far, and one of them is Australian…

  • Pulp: a Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 24 Jul, 2014

    Reminded me a little of LCD Soundsystem’s farewell film Shut Up and Play the Hits, but where that overdosed on concert footage at the expense of a more revealing peek behind the curtain, this finds a better balance and with it a lot more charm.

    Both films focus on the shy but exuberant performer at the centre of their respective bands, as they examine their careers and the act of ending a great thing. Habicht’s superpower is his ability to…

  • Orphans & Kingdoms 2014

    ★★★ Watched 20 Jul, 2014

    A lovingly crafted and pretty effective home-invasion story made on Auckland’s Waiheke Island for a minuscule budget with a largely young and unknown cast. Uniformly strong performances from the antagonists, but the father/son relationship behind much of the film’s emotional weight didn’t really work for me.

  • Need for Speed 2014

    ★★★ Watched 15 Jun, 2014

    Plenty of driving and posturing and contrivance and a healthy dose of Micheal Keaton in shock jock mode, but utterly and comprehensively implausible: I mean, there’s no way in hell an educated, well spoken Englishwoman who buys multi-million-dollar supercars for a living would use the word ‘invite’ as a noun.

  • Godzilla 2014

    ★★★ Watched 18 May, 2014

    Like Edwards' previous film Monsters (which a friend called his feature-length audition tape to direct this film), Godzilla is at its best during its quieter, more tense moments. It’s an artful mix of smoke and monsters that works its way Jaws-style to the eventual creature reveal, and sustains attention beyond that point, where many might fall away. But don’t worry, there’s still enough cardboard cutouts on the sidelines and in the situation room to ensure we remember exactly what we’re watching.

  • The Wolf of Wall Street 2013

    ★★★ Watched 29 Jan, 2014

    An uncredited Spike Jonze in a minor role as a middle manager gives the best performance in this whole, elaborate mess. He should get a better agent.

  • United 93 2006

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 20 Jan, 2014

    Ruthlessly economical filmmaking that so effectively illustrates just how unexpected and unfathomable the events of 9/11 were for the passengers and ground crews involved.

    Once past the opening hotel room and boarding gate scenes, the film never strays beyond the walls of the hijacked aircraft or the military and civilian command centres that responded. Director Greengrass provides no explanation — other than perhaps nerves — for the hijackers’ delayed gambit on board, and deliberately downplays most of the day’s iconic…

  • Enough Said 2013

    ★★★ Watched 12 Jan, 2014

    Solid performances and some genuine, heartfelt moments, but hamstrung by a script that tends towards both farce and out-of-character behaviour, and editing that too often sacrifices continuity of emotion or reaction. That said, Gandolfini is a star. I would love to have seen him get out his gentler side more, as he does here in spades.

  • Leviathan 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 26 Oct, 2013

    Mesmerising, disorienting, alien. The Upstream Color of deep-sea fishing documentaries.

  • Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters 2012

    ★★★ Watched 18 Aug, 2013

    Brief Encounters is apt, as Gregory Crewdson doesn't care about the before or after of his meticulously constructed dioramas, only the moment his shutter opens. Inspired by the directorial work of Lynch and Hitchcock, he builds complete narratives, impeccably staged and lit, as photographs that sell for the price of a house. His process is examined here through behind-the-scenes footage and interviews covering many of the shoots for his Beneath the Roses collection.

  • Dial M for Murder 1954

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 26 Jul, 2013

    Even with prior knowledge of its intricate internal logic and the one tiny assumption that threatens to unravel the perfect murder, it’s still engrossing to witness the precision and economy that Hitchcock wields here: five key characters, three locations (two of which appear for a sum total of about three minutes), a restrained camera and a subtle yet wicked sense of humour. Re-watching this film is like listening to someone clearly explain a technical concept you’re familiar with, nodding along as they hit each beat, and wishing you could do so as eloquently.

  • Computer Chess 2013

    Watched 23 Jul, 2013

    Its impeccable affectation is so perfect you might question its heritage, but make no mistake: this is a present-day undertaking that wants to recall David Brent, but lacks the heart and structure required to balance out its crushing tedium. Occasional moments of greatness punctuate great swathes of period-accurate, observational awkwardness, but it all amounts to very little in the way of outcomes, and I failed to find evidence of the cleverness reported by so many of its devoted fans.