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  • Phoenix

    Phoenix 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 28 Aug, 2015

    Phoenix is the anti-noir.

    The time period is the same.

    Rather than fast-talking, slick dialogue, it is quiet and calculated.

    Instead of shadows indicating darkness, the shadows (in some really great shots) show hope.

    We have a female protagonist, instead of the female being the femme fatale.

    Even the cigarette (one of the most common noir elements) is covered. Our protagonist accepts one, but it is never lit and she discards it. Like she is rejecting the genre.

    Apart from that, Phoenix is a very sad and oddly beautiful story with one of the best final scenes of the year.

  • Cool It

    Cool It 2010

    ★★★½ Watched 28 Aug, 2015

    Documentary filmmaker Ondi Timoner is sort of like Eminem, in that she started out making docs that were unlike anything I've ever seen and they remain two of my absolute favorites ever. Since then, she has matured and can no longer take the same risks (or live the same lifestyle) that allowed her to be so innovative before. So, while you can tell she still knows exactly what she's doing, the subject matter isn't as exciting as it used to…

  • Slow West

    Slow West 2015

    ★★★½ Watched 27 Aug, 2015

    John Maclean (of the awesome Beta Band) has made a very unique western with Slow West. What could have (and perhaps should have?) been a much darker take on one of the most brutal times in American history is presented as a bright and almost twee fairy tale.

    A young Scottish boy named Jay (Kodi Smit-Mcphee) travels to America and begins his journey west in hopes of finding his beloved Rose (Caren Pistorious). Somewhere along the way, the bounty hunter…

  • The End of the Tour

    The End of the Tour 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 26 Aug, 2015

    Framed in a way that makes the film quite haunting (in a very similar way to this year's Amy), End of the Tour is an authentic and intimate character study that focuses on trust, identity, and dealing with fame.

    The film follows writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) as he joins writer David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) at the end of a book tour at a time when Wallace is essentially the biggest writer on the planet. They form a pseudo…

  • The Rules of Attraction

    The Rules of Attraction 2002

    ★★★½ Watched 25 Aug, 2015 2

    Bret Easton Ellis claims that Rules of Attraction is the best movie based on one of his novels. Luckily the same narcissism that allows him to make such a ridiculous statement also allows him to write these lovably horrible characters.

    The film goes the Go (or any non-linear film after Pulp Fiction) route, where characters are given intros when they show up and there's a freeze-frame and their name pops up on the screen. And, for some reason, I always…

  • Night Train to Munich

    Night Train to Munich 1940

    ★★★★ Watched 26 Aug, 2015

    Carol Reed's Night Train to Munich owes as much to Hitchcock's the Lady Vanishes as Guy Ritchie's recent The Man From UNCLE owes to Reed. Full of WW2 spying and double crosses, Night Train to Munich is constantly intriguing.

    Lockwood and Harrison are excellent and add some authenticity to a movie that could have absolutely been played as a straight comedy, meanwhile Radford and Wayne's Charters and Caldicott (returning as the very same characters they played in The Lady Vanishes)…

  • Best of Enemies

    Best of Enemies 2015

    ★★★½ Watched 24 Aug, 2015

    While it was definitely well done and Buckley and Vidal are certainly interested presences, I can't even pretend to be smart enough to have fully understood or appreciated this movie.

  • Hard Eight

    Hard Eight 1996

    ★★★½ Watched 23 Aug, 2015

    A small, but very sure film. I am going to play devil's advocate here, as far as the PTA vs. Hollywood stories I am constantly hearing about this film. Not only do I think that the run time is appropriate, but I think Hard Eight is actually a better title than Sydney.

    The performances are what make this movie, though, and they definitely show a taste of things to come, knowing that PTA would go on to become one of the best actors' directors working. Good for a normal movie, but GREAT when you think about it as a debut film.

  • Jaws

    Jaws 1975

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 15 Aug, 2015

    Finally saw it on the big screen. Can't wait to see it again.

  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

    The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 2015

    ★★★½ Watched 14 Aug, 2015

    Guy Ritchie's latest film shows that he is, indeed, still one of the coolest directors going. But it isn't the same sort of Guy Ritchie script that I have come to know and love. Still, as an adaptation, it seems to be faithful to the source series as well as a fresh take on this type of genre film. Unfortunately it couldn't have come in a worse year, with Kingsman and Mission Impossible 5 both showing how its done in…

  • The Stanford Prison Experiment

    The Stanford Prison Experiment 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 09 Aug, 2015

    Kyle Patrick Alvarez's Stanford Prison Experiment is brilliant in its simple presentation, has an outstanding score that doesn't distract from the story, and its cast is essentially an all-star team of male actors under the age of 30 (most of them are under 25). While I don't think I ever want to watch it again, I do think Alvarez has made the best possible movie about the oft-cited study.

    The film follows the titular study that was conducted by Dr.…

  • The Drop

    The Drop 2014

    ★★½ Watched 08 Aug, 2015 3

    When is someone going to give Noomi Rapace another great role? How many times is she going to be HELPLESS LOVE INTEREST in second-rate crime movies?

    At least Gandolfini and Hardy are given some good roles and both of them nail it. Unfortunately the acting is about the only thing going for this.