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  • Victoria

    Victoria 2015

    ★★★ Added

    Great stunt, decent film. Ironically, VICTORIA is at its best when flouting the hyper-immediate realism that its single take brings (viz. sequences where Frahm's score drowns out diegetic sound, the opening scene). Also, goes about 30 minutes too long, foregoing the chance to end on a high note. Fun, exhausting.

  • Clouds of Sils Maria

    Clouds of Sils Maria 2014

    Added

    Film buffs, perhaps unsurprisingly, tend to 'overrate' explicitly self-reflexive films. Although more complex re: acting than BIRDMAN, it suffers from some of the same self-indulgent knowingness and easy potshots at Hollywood.

    Also, has everyone agreed to ignore that awful mountain-driving montage?

    A lot to like, but the most uneven film I've seen from Assayas.

  • Blackhat

    Blackhat 2015

    ★★★★ Added

    Only comparing because I saw them consecutively, but I seem to be one of the strange folk who prefer this to Mad Max: Fury Road (which is not to slight the latter). This is catnip for hardcore Mann auteurists, but more than that it's one of the best recent films to attempt to provide a "cognitive map" for the current geopolitical moment. The sequences that highlight the materiality of computer hardware are stunning. The Hemsworth-Wei subplot is trifling, but the love scenes are breathtakingly sensual.

  • It Follows

    It Follows 2014

    Added

    Hard not to love a horror film with content that motivates slow, 360-degree takes.

  • The Strange Little Cat

    The Strange Little Cat 2013

    ★★★★½ Added

    Stunning and endlessly rewarding even if this were only a formal exercise, but this builds to leave a rather intangible, devestating impression. The film captures the transience of individual moments with heartbreaking sincerity. The mother is upset that her youngest daughter's early scribblings were thrown away until she is reminded that her other children's mementoes are now sitting in a box in the basement. All is ephemeral.

  • Locke

    Locke 2013

    ★★ Added

    Definitely the disappointment of the year so far based on critical reception. Setting a bad script in a car does not make for a good film, it makes for a bad film without much else to divert the viewer than Hardy's presence (or the BMW, if you like feature-length advertisements).

  • Boyhood

    Boyhood 2014

    ★★★★ Added

    Didn't expect to be on the relatively critical side on this one, but this film has a LOT of bad scenes, making the largely unqualified superlatives somewhat perplexing. That being said, it's very difficult to measure its lows against its highs, not to mention its genuinely compelling distinctiveness.

  • My Fair Lady

    My Fair Lady 1964

    ★★★ Added

    Unjustifiably bloated with musical numbers, some of which follow from each other with no respite. A few of the routines are fun, but I mostly was wishing for a straight adaptation of the play. Audrey Hepburn miscast up until she becomes 'ladylike.' The changed ending is pretty infuriating, undercutting both the mythological source and much of the play's social critique.

  • Three Colors: White

    Three Colors: White 1994

    ★★ Watched 31 Aug, 2012

    Middling comedy of suffering at its best, near self-parody at its worst. Seems totally uninspired in between the gorgeously muddled BLUE and the gorgeously masterful RED.

  • Margaret

    Margaret 2011

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 25 Aug, 2012 1

    Picked up a lot of enriching details on second watch, and I now think the "little/big cunt" scene might be the most representative of its dynamism. Paquin's performance is verifiably incredible, and Janney really justifies the creation of an award for minor performances. Still some weird segues but there are a number ostensibly awkward ones that reveal themselves to be connected in ways unexpectedly deliberate.

  • The Hunger Games

    The Hunger Games 2012

    ★★ Watched 24 Aug, 2012

    Taken as is, without reference to the novel, this is nearly incoherent. The promise of a commentary on spectatorship disappears once the games begin, and the ambiguity w/r/t the authenticity of the two absurdly named characters' relationship is hardly allowed to stir. Less criticism than observation, the film looks surprisingly low-budget--the amazed response to Lawrence's fiery costume comes off as head-scratching in an age with deep wound elixirs and the ability to digitally create and transmit real fucking rhino-tiger hybrids. Of course the source text might supplement a lot of the details but it's difficult to infer any subtleties it might imply.

  • The Dark Knight Rises

    The Dark Knight Rises 2012

    ★★½ Watched 14 Aug, 2012

    Can't help but use THE DARK KNIGHT to show where this goes wrong. The Joker's utter nihilism allowed for a much simpler set-up, obviating any detailed back story and permitting an agreeable affirmation of humanity's innate goodness vis-a-vis cynicism and anarchy. RISES has much more complicated adversaries and, without any simple alternatives, settles on a sharply negative ideology, neither reactionary or progressive. Gotham itself, as depicted here, would certainly no longer pass the Joker's ferryboat "social experiment." This film also…