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  • 12 Years a Slave 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 29 Mar, 2014

    Observations:
    - McQueen has mastered the drawn-out shot. The hanging scene is probably the best example of this, but 12 Years a Slave is littered with shots that linger for an extended period, with the effect that they do more than simply present you with information, but leave you analysing the frame, often discomforted. It's brilliant.
    - It's easy to see why McQueen hasn't made a movie without Fassbender.
    - I was surprised to discover that 12 Years a Slave

  • About Time 2013

    ★★★ Watched 20 Aug, 2013

    Domhnall Gleeson's character can travel through time. He's told this by his dad, Bill Nighy, as it runs in the family. The first thing Gleeson's character does is try to use his powers to get a girlfriend because of course he does. He didn't get cool telekinesis like the kids in Chronicle, he got time travel powers, you can't really goof off too much with time travel powers, that's serious business.

    It's kind of creepy when Gleeson's character uses things…

  • Ain't Them Bodies Saints 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 07 Sep, 2013

    'Yeah, 'cause I had my coat on.'

    Ain't Them Bodies Saints is beautiful in its simplicity. To be truthful, I expected a little more drama than there was. I kept anticipating showdowns, physical or verbal, that didn't come. That wasn't a problem however, on the contrary, it made sense, and it felt more honest than it otherwise might have done. Casey Affleck's Bob doesn't make dumb decisions for the sake of good drama, he makes smart decisions that avoid confrontation,…

  • American Hustle 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 02 Mar, 2014 2

    "From the feet up."

    I feel sorry for this movie. It's a fun con movie filled with memorable moments that is getting EVISCERATED by my fellow armchair critics and professionals alike mainly because it's seen as a pretender to the throne. BADASS DIGEST put it excellently in their article AMERICAN HUSTLE Will Be Destroyed By Winning The Oscar:

    "it’s a lightly enjoyable film with great performances and a fun heart. If it were released any other time of year we…

  • Atonement 2007

    ★★★★★ Watched 16 May, 2012

    'What's the worst word you can possibly imagine?'

    I was impressed by this film as an adaptation of what I consider to be an un-cinematic novel - so much of the thought and emotion that McEwan was able to put on the page, Wright was required to make his audience infer, and he accomplished this with expertly crafted sequences. The editing, score, shot composition...all masterful and complementary.

    Observations:
    - Keeping Juno Temple after recasting Saoirse Ronan was an odd choice.…

  • Batman Begins 2005

    ★★★★ Rewatched 24 Jun, 2012

    'Don't be afraid...'

    Such a good film. All the stuff up to and including Batman's first appearance is stellar and really holds up, the photography is great and the scene where the audience gets a criminal's POV of Batman is genius (emulated fairly well by The Incredible Hulk, where it makes less sense). I'm less keen on some of the stylistic choices in the latter half of the film, especially when compared with followup The Dark Knight, but it hardly…

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 16 Dec, 2012

    'No crying, y'hear?'

    This film is majestic, engaging, fantastical, dreamlike and socially relevant. If that doesn't appeal, then damn. It's no wonder it took the festival circuit by storm, especially coming from nowhere - Benh Zeitlin is definitely going to be feeling the pressure when it comes to his follow-up feature, but I'm really excited to see what he does next.

    The central father-daughter relationship really absolutely makes the film. Usually it would bother me that such a young child…

  • Beyond the Black Rainbow 2010

    ★★½ Watched 13 Sep, 2012 7

    The trailer for this movie really grabbed me. I'm a sucker for heavily stylized visuals and 80s throwbacks with pulsing scores. The trailer promised a mood and aesthetic I was totally on board with, and it delivered on that front, but not on others. It was needlessly self-indulgent in its minimalism, and although it was clear that the sparse dialogue and vague allusions to unseen story elements were in service of the overall feel - I wanted more. I couldn't…

  • Blade Runner 1982

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 25 Sep, 2012

    Observations:
    - The Deckard/Rachael make out scene is a little more rapey than I remembered...
    - Blade Runner is a cool movie, but (at least to me) that's not because of the violence. The violence is brutal and disturbing, which is perfect for the story and pretty remarkable considering the genre.
    - For whatever reason, I found myself really admiring the handheld camerawork in this movie. I guess it was just always used at the right moment.

    See Also:
    Alphaville, Logan's Run, Minority Report

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 13 Mar, 2014

    "On your left."

  • Carnage 2011

    ★★★★½ Watched 04 Jun, 2012

    Far funnier than one might initially imagine it to be, with four excellently realized characters and pitch-perfect performances. We're presented with four perspectives on how a playground scrap should be dealt with by the parents of the two children involved, and each has an authentic and, at times, hilarious point to put across, which they articulate more and more as time passes and civility dissolves.

    Observations:
    - This film could just as easily be called 'Spite'.
    - There may have…

  • Chronicle 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 21 May, 2012

    'I'm an apex predator...'

    As a comic book reader, superhero movies not based on comics have to do quite a bit to impress me. It's a challenge to compete with adaptations, which have a rich history of source material to draw from, the central concept and themes of which have been refined over decades, and needless to say even the vast majority of adaptations don't turn out so great. So I'm pleased Chronicle can join Unbreakable and The Incredibles in…