RSS feed for Mike
  • Halloween

    Halloween 2007

    ★★ Added

    Unrated cut and wow does it feel long.

  • Inside Out

    Inside Out 2015

    ★★★★ Added

    Inventive and moving, though its high-concept form is a constant (often compelling) struggle between narrative convenience and logic/complexity. To call it schematic goes without saying--it practically enacts everything that's wrong with pop psychology--but this also points to the infinite reductivism of any narrative that sacrifices complexity for coherence. Fascinating but also somewhat terrifying in its mechanistic presumptions.

  • The Green Inferno

    The Green Inferno 2013

    ★★★ Added

    I've always dug Roth's absurd misanthropic sense of humor, on full display in the first 45 or so minutes here ("Activism is so fucking gay"). Tribal sequences are, you know, incredibly irresponsible, but never taken terribly seriously.

  • Phoenix

    Phoenix 2014

    ★★★★ Added

    "I wait..."

    Yes, the ending does a lot to retroactively heighten the previous 90 minutes.

  • 10

    10 1979

    ★★★★ Added

    A male fantasy in which every character repeatedly censures the protagonist for thinking that the world should conform to his male fantasy. Robert Webber and Brian Dennehy are aces in small turns.

  • 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


    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 2015


    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 2014

    ★★ 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.